What you should know about hydration
You’ve probably heard of electrolytes, but do you know what they are and why they are important? Electrolytes are the key minerals that allow our cells to absorb water – think of them as the sponges that soak the water in. When our electrolytes are low, no matter how much water we drink we remain dehydrated.
What types of minerals are electrolytes? Sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium in specific forms and in specific ratios. Do you regularly crave salty foods? Chips, pretzels, popcorn? Can’t get enough salt on your food? Yup, your body is talking to you! It’s letting you know that your electrolytes are low and you are getting dehydrated.
We lose electrolytes in two ways – urination and perspiration. Did you ever notice sometimes no matter how much you drink you are still thirsty and have “cotton mouth”? When you finish a workout, you feel like you are starving and need to eat? These are both signs that you are experiencing mild dehydration and need water and electrolytes.
Signs you may be experiencing mild dehydration:
- Leg cramps, usually starting in the calf
- Empty, pulsating nausea (even vomiting if it’s very extreme)
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine / infrequent urination
There are many different hydration products on the market. Try a few and see what is the right fit/taste for you.
Helpful Tip: For hydration, make sure electrolyte water is not labeled “electrolytes added for taste.”