Stay hydrated this summer
Stay hydrated this summer
Many Americans are chronically dehydrated. The other part of hydration that is just as important as water; electrolytes. When you see the word electrolytes you probably just think Gatorade or Pedialyte. What exactly are electrolytes? Potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, bicarbonate, sulfate, phosphate. Some may sound familiar to you, some may not, but they are all in your body right now. Electrolytes are absolutely essential for maintaining proper hydration. In fact, they are needed for you to stay alive. Too much water without electrolytes can actually dehydrate you further. Say you're suffering from a hangover. You wake up and all day you chug plain, filtered water. That's all. Your stomach is upset so you don't really eat much. Drinking tons and tons of plain water can actually flush out your electrolytes and if you're not doing anything to replenish them, you're still going to be dehydrated and feel unwell. Electrolytes are key for hydration and the health of your body. When you sweat you lose electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium. It is extremely important to replenish these electrolytes after strenuous exercise.
Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance/dehydration: fatigue, dizziness, problems concentrating/mental confusion, irritability, muscle spasms, weakness, nausea, headache, heart palpitations, constipation, aching joints
Potassium - Potassium is vital to skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle activity. It also regulates acidity and ph balance in the body.
Calcium - Calcium is essential for normal heart rhythm and muscle contraction. If your body doesn't get proper amounts of calcium it will then leach it from your bones(osteoporosis).
Magnesium - Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body.
Sodium - You're taught that sodium is bad, especially lately with the low sodium diet fads, but you need sodium to live. It is essential. Yes you can go overboard with sodium and dehydrate yourself, absolutely, but too little sodium can also dehydrate you. Confusing, huh? It's all about balance when it comes to electrolytes, especially sodium. Sodium works synergistically with chloride to regulate blood volume and transmits nerve impulses.
Chloride - Chloride helps the body maintain a normal balance of fluids. Chloride works with sodium to regulate blood volume.
coconut water; hydration made simple
We kind of had a coconut water boom recently. You see it everywhere, gas stations to grocery stores. It seems like 5 years ago it was little known. It was definitely not as readily available as it is now. Some people may see coconut water as another fad. Is coconut water all it's cracked up to be? Absolutely. When it comes to "fads", when a product explodes, just like PH water lately, some are the real deal and some are just not all their chocked up to be. Coconut water is very beneficial for your body in many ways. The benefits and uses have been known for years, they just recently went mainstream.
Coconut water contains potassium. Potassium is essential for living and being active. Without potassium in your body your heart will stop. I remember asking a very famous big wave pro surfer, what does he eat/drink to help with his endurance. He was adamant about coconut water. You know those cramps you get when you're running or swimming and can't take anymore. That is usually lack of potassium(or magnesium). Coconut water also contains magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus all of which are essential electrolytes. I love to get the whole coconuts at the health food store and just drink the water straight out of it. It's delicious and extremely refreshing.
Eating your electrolytes
Foods high in potassium- avocados, bananas, spinach, kale, beans, coconut water
Foods high in calcium- plain yogurt, milk, cheese, salmon, turnip greens, sesame seeds, dandelion greens
Foods high in magnesium- spinach, pumpkin seeds, seaweed/kelp, acorn squash, flax seeds, artichokes, coconut water
Foods high in sodium; healthful ways to get sodium- table salt, pink Himalayan salt, Alaskan king crab, seaweed, cod, cheese(feta, blue, parmesan), coconut water
Sources of chloride- table salt or sea salt. It's found in many vegetables. Foods with high amounts of chloride include seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives and coconut water.
*A little salt is good and needed just don't go overboard with the table salt.
electrolyte drops and supplementation
My favorite way to get my electrolytes is Colloida Life Trace Minerals colloidal trace minerals and electrolytes by Source Naturals. You can get them at Vitamin Shoppe, online, and some Whole Foods or health food stores carry them. It's easy. Sometimes you're running around or traveling and this is a way to guarantee you get what you need without the added sugar of Gatorade. Plus the trace minerals are extremely important for your health as well. You already have trace minerals in your body like copper, iodine, selenium, phosphorus and manganese. You normally can get these through your food but with most peoples diet's nowadays many are deficient in many minerals and trace minerals. Even if you eat a healthy diet, our soil is stripped of trace minerals that our bodies need. In my opinion, it's best to know you're getting both you're electrolytes and trace minerals in a couple droppers a day. It makes it simple and it really improved the way I felt. Side effects of being low on trace minerals can include lower bone density, weaker bones. When your body doesn't get what it needs from you diet it will leach it from your bones, like taking calcium from bones and causing osteoporosis is usually from a deficiency. Deficiencies in minerals can lead to infertility in women and menstrual cycle issues.
My opinion on electrolyte drinks
When it comes to Gatorade, Powerade, etc. NO. They are so packed with sugar which weakens your immune system and causes inflammation among other issues, they're just not your best bet. If you're dehydrated and it's your only option, that's the only time I would recommend it. Yes, I know, everyone thinks since sugar is so common it can't be that bad. Yes it is!! Pedialyte is much lower in sugar than most sports drinks so it is a better option. There are many low sugar options now available and also many powdered electrolyte supplements now on the market that you can just add to your water(Vega Sport electrolyte hydrator). These are great because you can just throw them in your purse when you go out with your friends and add it to your drink. Coconut water is a great, low sugar option and luckily you can get it at any gas station or grocery store.
BENEFITS OF BEING WELL HYDRATED
The more hydrated you are the less cellulite will show and also less bloating
Less irritable, more "happy", relaxed mood
Chronic dehydration can actually lead to hair loss and skin problems such as acne and wrinkles
Better sleep. Many people with insomnia are dehydrated
Less chance of serious health problems
Stay safe and stay hydrated this summer XOXO
Nikki Gray CNC