Fatigue, brain fog, dry skin, bloat, brittle hair and nails… You’re probably dehydrated.
But, is drinking water enough?
Salt and sugar, to keep it simple, play very interesting and distinctive roles in our levels of hydration and how we utilize our water intake. You probably already know you need potassium to stay hydrated – think bananas, peaches, apricots. You may even know that you also need salt to stay hydrated. What you may not realize is that you cannot support your potassium levels without adequate sodium (salt).
‘But I thought sodium was bad?’
Just like most things, there is such a thing as too much sodium. This is typically the sodium that is loaded into processed foods, cured meats, canned foods, etc. In these cases, sodium acts as a preservative – not as the magical mineral that helps our cells stay hydrated, helps keep our bones mineralized, helps relax muscle cramps, helps prevent brain fog, and so much more.
Here’s some information from the LMNT website addressing the misinformation about salt:
Here’s more information from the Huberman Lab on why salt is vital for brain function:
Sugar, as we all know, is highly addictive and should be consumed in moderation. One of the top ingredients in highly processed foods is some sort of sugar. It makes the food ultra palatable and, of course, addicting.
Our brains, however, run on glucose. When you are dehydrated and feeling all the symptoms of dehydration, drinking salty water will take a little bit of time to balance out your systems. In contrast to sugar, which will kick in as an energy source almost immediately – buying some time for your electrolytes to do their thing and helping you feel a little more normal in the meantime. As long as you’re active, you’ll burn through the sugar relatively quickly.
This is most noticeable during these months when the weather is heating up and so many people are working tirelessly in their gardens for hours. The wind, sun, sweat, and the physical work will all dehydrate you. Not to mention all those summer cocktails – especially the sugary ones!
Here are some suggestions so that you can stay active throughout the summer without experiencing the side effects of dehydration:
Drink 8oz of water every 15-20 minutes while you’re working out or working hard in your yard. If you’re breaking a sweat, you should be drinking water.
Add LMNT to your water first thing in the morning and throughout the day (available at the studios). I personally have one packet per day with an extra packet on days I run or row. I add half a packet of the chocolate salt to my coffee (yum!) and the watermelon salt to my 24oz bottle of water.
Keep peaches on hand. They are refreshing and are a great source of potassium with just the right amount of sugar.
Coconut water has a nice balance of electrolytes and sugar. It’s great in smoothies, and smoothies are great to have on hand when you’re doing yard work. Or drink it on its own, nice and cold. 16oz of coconut water can have 20g or so of sugar, so keep this moderation.
Add salt to your food. You couldn’t possibly match the amount of sodium in processed foods using your salt shaker. Trust me.
Generally speaking, eating whole foods loaded with nutrients, water, and some natural sugars will be the first defense against unhappy cells. Replenishing throughout the day and especially while you’re breaking a sweat is vital.
Sweating is good! If you don’t sweat, your body will struggle to release heat – which can cause overheating and dehydration. Go figure.
Let’s discuss thirst.
Oftentimes our brains will send a signal of hunger when all we really need is a tall glass of water. This is because we can also get hydration from the right foods. If you notoriously ignore signals of thirst to the point that you don’t even recognize thirst, your brain will be resourceful and at least encourage you to eat something. So next time you’re feeling hungry, or like you want a snack, you may just be thirsty.
The neat thing about this is that once you start drinking lots of water, and start to learn the signs of thirst, you will feel thirsty often. The more you drink water, the thirstier you’ll be, and the happier your internal organs will be.
Half your weight in ounces is a baseline (150lbs = 75oz). Add more for your workouts, more for your gardening, and more for those days when your food choices may not have been so stellar.
Add LMNT to your morning water and your ‘sweaty work’ water – even a pinch of sea salt can be helpful. Chug water during the first half of the day and sip it during the second half of the day to help prevent too many bathroom visits during the night.
Stay consistent and you’ll feel it in every cell of your body… Plus your skin will look fabulous.