Water is necessary to convert food into energy, lubricate our joints, cushion bones, regulate body temperature, and to produce tears, saliva, and the mucus that lines our sinuses and gastrointestinal tract. Not to mention, our blood is made up of 90% water. If we’re dehydrated, we are more likely to experience metabolic complications, high blood pressure, inflammation, joint pain, dry mouth, dry eye, constipation, and sinus infections.
I do not ascribe to the one size fits all. Many factors can determine your hydration needs. Where you live, your size, physical activity level, age, how much you sweat (do you work out often? Are you a nervous sweater?), and how much you travel are all going to impact how much water you should be drinking. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces of water.
Is water alone enough?
Well, general guidelines for drinking water vary and rarely ever mention anything about electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge known as ions. They are in all of our body fluids, tissues and cells. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps the body’s blood chemistry, muscle action and other processes. Electrolytes are primarily composed of the minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, phosphates and sulfates. They are essential because they are used by our cells to create and carry voltages across cell membranes and they’re a big player in the communication between our cells. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink.
When electrolytes do come up, it’s usually in the context of sports drinks that contain high amounts of sugar, artificial flavors, and colors. The good news is we can get electrolytes from fruits and vegetables.
You can add electrolytes to your water by using a high-quality electrolyte supplement. Or, squeeze the juice of ½ a lemon or lime into your water with a pinch of sea salt. This little addition will make sure water is being absorbed and properly hydrating your cells.
Check out the video below to get more ideas.
Proper hydration requires adequate water intake with the appropriate balance of electrolytes. Without it, we put our cells at risk of dehydration.