If consuming lots of water during the hot months of the year is easy, but keeping up in the winter is a struggle, many residents have the same problem. In fact, National Institute of Health also found this to be true in a study conducted in Athens, Greece, when it concluded that summer water intake and loss was 40 percent higher than in the winter. While a dehydrated population is not only a seasonal issue, old man Winter isn’t exactly encouraging the consumption of cool or room temperature water.

To combat this issue, Pottawatomie County Food Policy Council has identified a lack of hydration as a priority for the coming year, and the council will be championing initiatives and educational opportunities to combat this issue. Local worksites are also championing hydration efforts in their employee population by running water-drinking challenges, increasing access to free filtered water, and being more intentional about including water in special event refreshments.

Why is hydration so important? Chronic dehydration can cause short term and long term health issues, while proper hydration can protect the immune system, make one feel more energized, fight weight gain and improve overall body function.

If struggling to stay hydrated this winter, try one of these tips:

• Drink warm non-caffeinated herbal tea

• Keep water nearby at all times and set small consumption goals (“I will drink ____ oz of water before/during lunch” or “I will drink 8 oz of water before I drink coffee”)

• Eat broth-based soups. Consuming water-rich foods fuels the body in so many ways

• Track your water consumption in a mobile app; Awareness is key

• Always keep drinking-water nearby (In the bedroom, car, desk, etc.)

• Stick to the one-to-one rule when consuming alcohol and drink one glass of water for every adult beverage

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, call (405) 765-8052 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.