Drinking hot tea
(Photo: Getty Images)

5 Hot Drinks to Stay Warm and Hydrated This Winter

Beverages don’t have to be ice-cold to satisfy your thirst

Drinking hot tea

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

Much of the country is covered in snow or rain during this time of year – we’re literally surrounded by water. So why are we so dang thirsty?

A study from the University of New Hampshire found that your chance of dehydration increases during colder months. How is this possible? Since most people don’t feel as thirsty in the cold compared to the heat, they forget to drink enough water throughout the day. Not to mention we’re working hard to carry ourselves in heavy coats, which can cause us to sweat more. 

But it’s hard to want to pound a glass of ice water when you’re chilled to the bone. RDN Melissa Giovanni says there are plenty of hydrating options other than ice cold water.

Here are five toasty warm hydrating drinks I would be willing to make the trek through the snow to the grocery store for: 

Hot Kombucha

Kombucha is high in natural electrolytes and composed of mostly water, so it’s great for hydrating. Research shows that kombucha has such a small amount of alcohol in it that it won’t have any significant effect on your fluid levels.

Warm up your kombucha by heating it in a pot with optional spices like fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks or lemon slices. Do not bring to a full boil. Strain and pour out into a mug. 

Steamed Milk

A study conducted by St. Andrews University claims drinking skim milk will keep you hydrated just as well as water. Researchers measured the fluid balance of 72 men as they drank 13 different beverages including sparkling water, soda, water, coffee, cold tea, hot tea, orange juice, skim milk, full-fat milk, diet soda and sports drinks like Gatorade.

The study found that skim milk, of all drinks, was most hydrating because of the combination of sugar lactose, protein and fat percentage, which all slow down the rate at which fluids are emptied from the stomach. 

Melissa Majumdar, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told CNN of the findings: “This study tells us much of what we already knew: Electrolytes — like sodium and potassium — contribute to better hydration, while calories in beverages result in slower gastric emptying and therefore slower release of urination.”

While we still are big proponents of plain old water, this certainly is something to think about and study more. 

Bone Broth

There’s a reason soup gives you life when you’ve got the sniffles. Soup – particularly bone broth – can rehydrate us and replenish micronutrients lost when our immune system is down. Bone broth can aid in post-workout recovery and contains amino acids to rebuild muscle. 

“We actually need salt to maintain hydration,” Giovanni says. “The total amount of sodium in our body affects the amount of fluid in our blood and around our cells.”

Amy Myers, M.D., tells us to pick an organic, grass-fed bone broth with no more than 200mg of salt per serving, zero fillers (a common one is yeast extract or monosodium glutamate) and little to no ‘natural’ flavorings. 

“The main thing to be mindful of when choosing bone broth is making sure it is actually bone broth and not just broth or stock,” Giovanni says. “Which would have a much higher sodium content.”

Herbal Teas

It’s no surprise tea is an excellent hydrator. At its core, tea is 98 percent water and two percent team making it a great way to replenish water while remaining cozy and warm. Hibiscus, rose or chamomile are great options because they’re caffeine-free and will have less diuretic effects. 

“All herbal teas are great for hydration,” Giovanni says. “The main thing to look for is that it’s a decaffeinated tea – a tea like black tea, for instance, wouldn’t be hydrating.”

Hot Lemon Water

We’ll be the first to say hot lemon water isn’t the cure-all that it’s touted to be. But it is a great way to get hydrated when you want a warm drink. The Cleveland Clinic says that hot lemon water is a great to have in the morning before your cup of coffee because it will help get in that first cup of water before the day starts. 

“Hot lemon water is great at hydrating us and giving us a tiny bit of vitamin C from the lemon, but that’s about it,” Giovanni says. “It really doesn’t have all the crazy health benefits that have been touted over the years.”

Many people sprinkle sea salt into their lemon water for replenishing electrolytes and sodium, but Giovanni says that’s not entirely necessary.

“It can help with hydration/electrolyte balance if it’s after a particularly long and intense workout,” she says. “Though not necessary for most people’s workouts in a regular week.”

Squeeze a lemon onto a mug of hot water and drizzle in a teaspoon of raw honey for sweetness.

Lead Photo: Getty Images

promo logo
sms