Nikki Yelton is an Integrative & Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving clients worldwide. She offers a personalized functional medicine approach to helping women with GI distress and autoimmune conditions to get to the root cause of the symptoms holding them back so that they can start living the extraordinary life they dream of with more energy, purpose, and joy!
To quench your thirst in a healthy way, opt for hydration that won’t lead to a blood sugar crash afterwards. Try these 6 effective and creative ways to hydrate and restore electrolytes. These are the best tips on hydration!
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Did you know most Americans are chronically dehydrated? In fact, most of our aches and ailments are actually due to simply not being hydrated well. However, despite common belief, hydration isn’t solely about how much water you consume, but also how well you absorb the water you drink.
Given water makes up almost 60% of our body mass, it plays an incremental role in our health and overall body function. Staying hydrated is arguably the most important way to improve our mental and physical health!
WHAT IS DEHYDRATION
According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.”
Dehydration is actually extremely common today, and most of us suffer the consequences without even knowing it. Common signs of dehydration include:
In addition to simply not drinking enough water throughout the day, there are many antagonists that work against our hydration levels. Consuming diuretics (like coffee, tea, and alcohol) and excessive sweating are frequent causes of dehydration.
WHY HYDRATION IS SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR BODY
It’s safe to say most of us know it’s good to drink water and stay hydrated. But, for what reason? Anytime the body loses a lot of liquid (like when you are sweating or sick), it’s also losing minerals. Electrolytes help you replenish those minerals, which include potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. In fact, losing 1-2% of your body weight in fluid can impact strength, speed, and focus.
In addition, water is responsible for endless functions within the body. Without enough water, these functions fail or suffer:
Delivering oxygen to cells
Cushioning joints and bones
Excreting waste and toxins
Maintaining normal electrical properties within cells
Regulating body temperature
More so, proper hydration is needed for adequate gut function and protection against autoimmunity. When dehydration kicks in, the body is more prone to autoimmune flares, digestive issues, and poor gut integrity.
BEST TIPS ON HYDRATION
Before you run to the nearest grocery market to stock up on Gatorade, it’s important to note that there are much more effective ways to stay hydrated. Although extremely common, sports drinks and electrolyte powders are often filled with sugar and chemicals, leading to bloating and gas. In fact, most of these products don’t even hydrate your body properly!
Instead of reaching for a tall glass of sweetened iced tea, lemonade, sports drink, or even an italian ice when we are overheated– try these natural and effective tips on hydration instead:
First and foremost, it’s important to make sure you’re consuming enough water daily. Aim to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces (of water) every day. Increase your water consumption for every cup of coffee, tea, alcohol, or juice consumed. In addition, if you are sweating or outdoors for long hours, you’ll want a little more!
Water absorption is a highly overlooked aspect of hydration, but it’s just as important as water quantity. Electrolyte balance is the key to absorbing the water you’re drinking and here are the best ways to do so. I recommend drinking filtered water that has been remineralized or drinking reverse osmosis water.
Many whole food sources provide a hefty dose of water, including watermelon, cucumbers, tomato, pineapple, lettuce, oranges, and grapefruit. When you’re in need of extra hydration, load up on these water-dense foods.
6 HYDRATING HACKS TO FEEL YOUR BEST
Electrolyte mixes and hydration packs are popping up everywhere. Do you need them? Can you make your own? I’ve got answers!
To quench your thirst in a healthy way, opt for healthy hydration that won’t lead to a blood sugar crash afterwards. When we sweat outdoors in the heat, we want to restore electrolytes! Try these 6 effective and creative ways to hydrate and restore electrolytes in a healthy way. These are the best tips on hydration!
Drink Coconut Water
Some people love it, some can’t stand it. It’s slightly sweet and has a bit of a nutty flavor. Coconut water is my favorite beverage to quench thirst because it helps to naturally restore our electrolytes better than anything else will. Those sugary sports drinks that claim to replenish electrolytes aren’t doing you any good because the benefits of electrolytes are outweighed by the blood sugar spike they cause. Coconut water is a MUCH better alternative because it has the perfect balance of sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium which is essential for optimal hydration and recovery. Choose a plain brand where the only ingredient is “coconut water” and make sure that it doesn’t contain any added sugars.
Add Fresh Lime or Lemon and Pink Sea Salt to Your Water
Did you know 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon provides the same potassium as an 8oz sports drink? Or that 1 pinch of salt provides the same sodium as an 8oz sports drink? This is my hidden secret after workouts or for anyone who needs quick energy and a boost after spending hours outdoors in the heat. Simply sprinkling a pinch of sea salt or pink himialyan salt to your water naturally boosts water absorption and utilization. Sea salt is packed with healthy minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium. Plus it’s made with little processing as it comes from ocean water or salt water lakes. Just a squeeze of lemon or lime and a small pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt is all you need to quickly quench your thirst and help restore electrolyte balance!
Bump up the Minerals
Minerals are depleted from our soil, food, and even water supply. A great hack to improve your body’s electrolytes quickly is to add Trace Mineral drops. This helps to restore energy and hydration after being in the heat for a while. This electrolyte balance provides naturally occurring minerals, sourced directly from Utah’s inland sea. They help your body absorb needed vitamins and nutrients that allow you to maintain healthy energy levels throughout the day. Plus, they’re essential to the proper function of your body’s electrical system. I recommend adding to your water throughout the day in the recommended serving suggestion.
Keep Cubed Watermelon in Your Fridge
Did you know melons are 90% water?! Fruits like honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon are not only a healthy sweet treat, but they provide us with quick hydration and an electrolyte boost. Fruit contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in addition to a whole lot of water to keep you hydrated AND full of nutrients. Because of this, hydrating fruits can actually hydrate you better than water alone. If you find it difficult to drink enough water throughout the day, throw some sliced melon in your lunch and keep it accessible in your fridge as a midday snack. Now is a better time than ever to eat more fruit!
Slice Cucumbers and Mint Leaves
Ever heard the term “cool as a cucumber?” There’s a reason why cucumbers are cooling, and it’s because they are actually 95% water. They’re said to be the most hydrating food source out there. They provide sugar, protein, mineral salts and vitamins along with a high water content which helps hydrate your body more effectively. You can add cucumbers to your water with some mint for a fresh minty beverage. I love drinking this often as it makes me feel like I’m on a beach somewhere— it’s so refreshing! Another suggestion is to make a hydrating cucumber salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing as a side dish or add cucumbers to your sandwich or wrap at lunch.
Add in Some Tea
Herbal and green teas make an excellent base for proper hydration. If you have trouble drinking fluids throughout the day, sipping hot or iced tea can provide a mild caffeine boat for energy with an antioxidant kick. I love and recommend pique teas because they are the purest and cleanest gut and autoimmune friendly teas on the market. They are tested thoroughly for heavy metals and mycotoxins so they won’t irritate the gut lining. Quick Tip: Skip tea bags! Even organic tea bags contain fillers, plastics, and chemicals I don’t recommend consuming once heated. Another reason to love Pique, they come in hot and cold water soluble crystals. I love the hibiscus, passion fruit green tea, and peach green tea for hydration. I actually drink these iced drinks and add about 4oz of fresh organic pineapple juice. It is delicious and so thirst quenching.
TRY THE ULTIMATE WATERMELON MINT REFRESHER
One look at the sugar content and weird dyes in some electrolyte drinks might make you cringe. Good news, it’s really easy to make your own! The Ultimate Watermelon Mint Refresher is my favorite recipe to keep hydration levels up. It’s packed with water-rich foods, like watermelon, and sea salt to boost absorption. Did I mention it’s delicious?
Garnish with: Lime wedge, mint leaves, or coarse ground sea salt
Like it fizzy: Use sparkling water instead of flat
Watermelon size: This recipe was developed and tested using a 5 lb watermelon
Category:AIP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Keywords: Watermelon Mint Refresher, Hydrating Beverage, Hydrating Refresher, Watermelon Mint Drink, Hydrating Drink
WHO NEEDS ELECTROLYTES?
Most of us do not need to supplement electrolytes on a regular basis. However, anytime you’re losing noticeable quantities of water from your body, you’ll want to use them. Research says that you probably don’t need electrolytes unless you’re working out for more than one hour, or if it’s especially hot/humid, or if you sweat more than normal.
Studies also show people on a low-carb diet may need electrolyte support while exercising. Staying hydrated requires adequate water consumption and absorption. By adopting these simple hydration practices, you can support proper hydration, and therefore, a healthy body and mind!
So, the next time you’re nursing a headache or experience afternoon yawns, remember to grab your water for a hydration boost! What is YOUR favorite way to hydrate?
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
a note from nikki:
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.
are you ready?
Ready to resolve your GI distress, reverse autoimmunity, and live your extraordinary life?