December may seem like an odd month to discuss hydration. But the truth is that adequate hydration is just as important in the winter months as it is during the heat of summer. In fact, in cold weather, you feel less thirsty due to blood vessel constriction, so you’re less likely to drink as much water as your body needs. No matter what the season, you need to consume a certain amount of water each day, through beverages and food, depending on your age, gender, where you live, muscle mass, and your activity level. After all, without water, we wouldn’t be alive.
So where should that water come from? On average, the foods you eat provide almost 21% of the water you need – more if you tend to consume a lot of water-rich foods such as lettuce and fruit. In the U.S. under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works hard to regulate tap water, making sure it’s free of certain contaminants. The problem is that there are plenty of other contaminants in water that aren’t regulated. Using a water filter can help. An activated carbon filter in a pitcher or attached to your kitchen sink is a good option, working to treat general taste and odor problems and removing certain chemicals, including some pesticide residues.
To really find out what’s going on in your water, you need to test it. Contact your local health department for help determining which contaminants to test for based on what’s going on in your area, and call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visit www.epa.gov/safewater/labs.