Electrolytes are just as important as water when it comes to keeping your body properly hydrated. But no need to buy sugary sports drinks — lemon and a pinch of sea salt provide natural electrolytes to help you hydrate better!
It seems like “Drink more water!” is the solution to just about everything from acne to a stubbed toe these days.
And so when I start working with new clients, they usually fall into one of these categories:
1) Barely drinking any water
2) Dutifully chugging away
But this second one can sometimes be even more detrimental than the first since it can actually flush electrolytes. Yes, there is such a thing as too much water!
Electrolyte balance is key for proper hydration and SO much more.
There’s no doubt about it: proper hydration is critical for good health. Water makes up 55-60% of our bodies and is responsible for a whole host of processes from flushing toxins and moistening oxygen for easier breathing, to transporting nutrients within cells and maintaining normal electrical properties of cells. It’s also vital to the body’s natural healing processes.
Interestingly, if the body’s water content drops by as little as 2%, it will cause fatigue. And chronic dehydration can cause significant health problems, including digestive (since digestion is a process of hydrolysis), cardiovascular, immune, musculoskeletal issues.
But water isn’t the only part of the hydration equation: electrolytes play a key role.
You’ve probably heard about electrolytes before, mots likely in regards to sports drinks (colored with coal-tar-derived artificial colors and carcinogenic artificial sweeteners… not to go off on a tangent or anything!). Many performance athletes know the importance of electrolytes for hydration: water depends on electrolytes for proper absorption.
In fact, if you’re drinking a lot of water but not getting enough electrolytes to compensate, your body can’t hold the water and so can actually get dehydrated. Let’s let that sink in for a moment…
Electrolytes are also necessary for:
- Nerve impulses
- Muscle contraction and relaxation*
- pH balance
*Fun story: I once had a client with inexplicable muscle twitching. All. Day. Long. It drove her nuts. Well lo and behold, when I looked at her food journal, she was drinking over three times more water than she ought to! Once she drastically cut back and started to replenish her electrolytes, the twitching went away. *Magic*
So how can we make sure we have enough electrolytes? Sea salt and lemon!
Yes, that’s it! (Nature, baby. She gives us everything we need.)
Why the sea salt?
I know this one’s always a head-scratcher since many people believe salt dehydrates, which it does in excess. But in moderation, salt actually enables cell hydration as the minerals in salts = electrolytes.
Some great mineral-rich salt options:
Table salt, on the other hand, is stripped of most of its mineral content and should be thought of as a processed food.
And why the lemon?
Citrus fruits contain calcium and potassium, which, when combined with salt, provide a balance for pH and fluid levels in the body.
Want to make a yummy and healthy electrolyte drink with sea salt and lemon?
Check out this recipe Homemade & Healthy Hydrating Electrolyte Drink and happy hydrating 🙂