It’s important to stay hydrated everyday, because it improves your cognition, mood and overall health. Our body’s natural signal that it’s time to drink something is the sensation of thirst.
Many people drink plain water to alleviate their thirst, but water lacks important ion charged molecules that keep us hydrated: electrolytes.
Electrolytes and Hydration
Electrolytes are the key to absorbing water in the body. When mixed with fluid, they produce an electrical charge that helps our body regulate important functions. They keep our muscles, nerves and cells charged, so they can keep our fluid in balance and maintain optimum performance. Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Phosphorus are all electrolytes our bodies use often.
Keeping our electrolyte levels in balance greatly improves our body’s ability to remain hydrated throughout the day. However, we lose electrolytes whenever we sweat. Diarrhea and vomiting also deplete electrolytes. This means various situations can cause you to lose electrolytes such as working out, days spent in the sun, stressful situations, illness, eating disorders or reactions to medication.
Fortunately, you can improve your health by regularly replenishing your electrolytes. One way to do this is to drink plain water with meals and snacks, which often contain electrolytes. Another way is to consume drinks with electrolytes rather than just plain water.
6 Drinks with Electrolytes
Drinking beverages that contain electrolytes can both rehydrate you quicker than plain water and it can keep you feeling hydrated longer than plain water. Here are a variety of healthy drinks that you can use to maintain electrolyte balance and optimum hydration.
A highly nutritious drink, milk contains a variety of electrolytes as well as other important nutrients often found in food rather than drinks. It contains sodium and calcium as well as protein, fat and small amounts of sugar.
The balance of nutrients in milk helps your body continue to absorb liquid over a long time. In comparison, plain water gets flushed quickly from your body in the form of urine. Therefore milk supplies your body with hydrating fluid for a longer time than plain water. The same goes for hydration tablets (see below).
- Nutrients: Sugar, Fat, Protein, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iodine and Vitamins B2 and B12
- Drawbacks: Avoid milk if you are lactose intolerant.
Electrolyte Tablets Mixed with Water
Hydration tablets contain ingredients that help your body absorb fluid, such as our Rapid Hydration Maximizer (coming soon). RHM contains the perfect balance of electrolytes along with zinc and a small amount of sugar. These ingredients help your body rehydrate faster than plain water.
The difference in time relates to how your body absorbs fluid. When it has these additional ingredients, fluid can be absorbed directly from your small intestine, while plain water takes a much longer path through the large intestine before entering your bloodstream.
The benefit to electrolyte tablets is the convenience and taste. You can easily drop them in a glass of plain water, wait for them to dissolve and then achieve optimal hydration without seeking out special supplemental foods or drinks. They are easy to carry with you throughout the day and they have a delicious flavor designed to make water more enjoyable.
- Nutrients: Check the label.
- Drawbacks: Check the label for added preservatives or artificial flavors.
Gatorade and other popular sports drinks contain the right balance of electrolytes for your body, but they also have a high quantity of sugar. The problem with their level of sugar is that our bodies actually use more water to break down sugars. Instead of hydrating our body, some of the water we consume gets reserved to aid digestion. That’s why you should choose sports drinks that have low sugar levels.
Sports drinks also come with artificial flavors and colors, all of which can have adverse impacts on your body. For healthy hydration, try to limit your exposure to artificial ingredients.
- Nutrients: Check the label.
- Drawbacks: Can contain excess sugar. Comes with artificial flavors and colors.
When you crack open a young, green coconut, you’ll find a thin layer of coconut meat and a clear liquid that looks a lot like water. This liquid, known as coconut water, contains a variety of electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and low sugar levels, making it a healthy alternative to water for refreshment.
Keep in mind that the best coconut water comes from a fresh coconut. Coconut water sold in bottles or cans often contains either added ingredients to make it last longer or taste stronger. Reach the coconut water label carefully to find added sugar or preservatives.
- Nutrients: Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium
- Drawbacks: Costly compared to plain water.
This electrolyte drink is specifically formulated for people struggling with hydration due to illness. Compared to sports drinks it has a low sugar content and it contains higher amounts of electrolytes than typical electrolyte tablets. Used as a drink for sensitive individuals recovering from a variety of conditions, it doesn’t promise a delicious flavor.
- Nutrients: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Zinc
- Drawbacks: Unappealing flavor.
Ingredients to Avoid
When you choose drinks to keep you hydrated, make sure they don’t contain high amounts of the following ingredients.
You might assume diet sodas or other processed drinks may be better for hydration due to their lower levels of sugar. However, the artificial sweeteners they contain, such as aspartame, neotame or stevia extract, can be harmful as well. Instead of curbing the craving for sweets, they actually enhance our craving because they confuse our brain into expecting the energy boost that comes with a sweet taste, but they don’t satisfy this need.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
This sweetener is found in many processed drinks. Made from processed cornstarch, it contains a high quantity of fructose that is difficult for our bodies to digest. It is associated with a number of risks including weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Diuretics like Caffeine and Alcohol
If you want to stay hydrated, avoid caffeine, which is a diuretic causing your kidneys to flush liquid from your body and urinate more often.
Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic. It is also difficult for your body to digest. Read more about the effects of alcohol on our hydration levels here.
Choose a Great Cup for your Electrolyte Drink
Fill our refillable Cruiser Tumbler with your favorite hydrating electrolyte-rich drink. They come with a straw and lid to prevent spills. Keep one within reach, whether you’re chilling out and watching Netflix or chasing a toddler around the living room.