It’s no secret that we all need to be drinking lots of water throughout the day. But did you know that there are some guidelines that can help your water consumption work more effectively for your body? It’s true.

One of the primary focuses in Ayurveda is to keep our digestive fire roaring along at the perfect level, promoting an optimally-functioning gut. Good gut health means not only is your food properly digested, it also helps keep the cooties away — meaning viruses, bacteria, and their nefarious friends.

Because we want our digestive fire to remain in an optimal state, drinking cold liquids is completely discouraged. An easy fix for this is to ditch the ice and consume your drinks at room temperature.

But here’s a caveat to that principle: When it’s cold outside, or when you’re feeling dry (AKA have a Vata imbalance) or sluggish (AKA have a Kapha imbalance), drinking warm water throughout the day will help you warm up in the best of ways.

To stay hydrated and toasty during the chilly time of the year — or when it’s windy, damp, or dry — simply put some water into a pot (I use a really big one and then keep heating it up throughout the day), then add in some warming spices to help balance out the dryness. I toss in a few black peppercorns, a few whole cloves, 4-6 cardamom pods, some fresh ginger slices (skin off), and some cinnamon bark pieces.

If you’re not a fan of any of those spices, feel free to take them out of the equation. And if you’re really enjoying a certain flavor — let’s say cardamom — add in a few more.

Keep sipping on your warming herbal tea throughout the day, and you’ll be amazed at the way your body positively responds.