With summer time comes the heat and typically more time spent in the sun. We are often reminded to drink lots of water during the hotter months, but is water really the best drink to stay hydrated?
A common misconception is that chugging more water is more hydrating, but more isn't always better! This can actually slow down the hydration process due to too much water building up in the body at once.
Over hydration is just as concerning as dehydration!
When you drink excess water, this can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the bloodstream. Electrolytes are essential for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, supporting muscle contraction, and regulating the body’s pH levels.
You need sufficient levels of electrolytes in order to maintain whole body health.
Symptoms of insufficient electrolyte levels may include:
- muscle aches
- digestive issues such as cramps, diarrhea, or constipation
- extreme thirst
- changes in blood pressure
- heart palpitations
- body weight changes
- an increase or decrease in appetite
Athletes in particular are at a greater risk for over-hydration as well as dehydration and will likely have to make an effort at replacing electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium post workout (1). This is because electrolytes are lost through sweat (2). An electrolyte drink can help to keep your electrolyte levels in check ensuring you stay well hydrated especially if you are active for prolonged periods of time.
For the average person water will be sufficient to stay hydrated enough, but how much is enough? The general recommendation for adults is 9-13 cups of water daily, though this will vary according to your activity level, climate, age, gender, body size, and diet.
An additional electrolyte support may be beneficial if you are exposed to hot weather for longer periods of time, if you are very active, if you tend to sweat heavily during exercise, or if you experience symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.
If you tend to struggle to remember to adequately hydrate or don't like the taste of water all that much, today we are giving you some tips to help you stay hydrated this summer:
- Eat hydrating foods like cucumber, watermelon, pineapple, melon, radish, celery, leafy greens, tomatoes, zucchini…
- Add fruit to your water, such as limes, strawberries, or citrus fruits, to make it more enjoyable if you have don't enjoy drinking regular water
- Add sea salt or Himalayan salt to your meals
- Limit/avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks
- Supplement with electrolytes or choose natural sources of electrolytes like coconut water so you can avoid artificial ingredients and added sugars that are found in common electrolyte drinks on the market
- Filter your water to make sure you are filtering out chemicals, many filters also add in minerals!