Every cell, tissue, and organ within the human body requires water to operate. Therefore, preserving a hydrated body is essential in ensuring your physical and mental performance is maintained and functioning optimally throughout the day. However, between our work, family, school, and social lives, it's not uncommon to assume that most of us aren't consuming the minimum required amount daily.
And while many of us may not notice the symptoms of dehydration, it still has an effect on your internal biological processes including regulating your body temperature, blood circulation, and the transportation of nutrients throughout your body. That's why it is critical to know the quickest way to hydrate and touch on the importance of electrolytes to better understand the overall functioning of a hydrated body.
Common Causes of Dehydration
Before learning about the importance of electrolytes, let’s take a look at some of the ways that our bodies can become dehydrated:
· High blood sugar: When our body has extra sugar in our blood, it causes us to urinate more as it is the body's way of getting rid of the sugar, it does not need. Therefore, if you have high blood sugar and are often urinating, this will cause your body to lose massive amounts of water and lead to dehydration.
· Excessive sweating: Whether intentional through exercise or caused by a hot, humid climate.
· Having a fever: As your condition worsens, it is common for you to continue to lose hydration.
· Vomiting or diarrhea: Both can cause your body to lose immense amounts of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time.
Common Symptoms of Dehydration
Common symptoms that we can experience when our bodies are dehydrated include:
· Dry mouth
· Fatigue and weakness
· Extreme thirst
What Are Electrolytes?
When you hear the word electrolyte, you may automatically think of a sports energy drink such as Gatorade and Powerade. However, many people don't understand what an electrolyte is and its purpose within the body.
Simply put, electrolytes are a type of mineral that holds an electric charge when they come in contact with the fluid and are found in our blood, urine and sweat. Once they come into contact with a liquid, they become integral to many metabolic processes throughout the body such as the functioning of our nervous system, muscle function and of course, hydration.
Common types of electrolytes in the body include:
Potassium is a vital electrolyte and mineral that has a particular effect on maintaining our heart, muscle and nerve function. It also helps regulate fluid balance without our bodies which is particularly important as our bodies are made of 60% water. Therefore, when we become severely dehydrated, we become at risk of developing hypokalemia which is extremely dangerous and fatal, undiagnosed, and various other health conditions.
Another important electrolyte is sodium which is highly important in maintaining our body's fluid balance through a process called osmosis. Therefore, ensuring that our bodies have enough sodium is essential in ensuring that our cells don't burst or shrivel up due to being dehydrated. Our bodies lose a lot of sodium when we sweat. Therefore, replenishing the body with electrolytes during a workout or playing a sport is key to ensuring our bodies do not shut down on us.
Magnesium is also essential in the overall formation and maintenance of our bones and teeth and our brain and muscle function. When our bodies are low in magnesium, we are at risk of developing hypomagnesemia. We can begin to experience weakness, decreased appetite, and muscle cramps which are common symptoms of being dehydrated.
3 Best and Quickest Way to Hydrate
If you are suffering from dehydration, here are some of the best and quickest ways to rehydrate that also include electrolytes:
1. Coconut water is one of the healthiest and quickest ways to hydrate your body if you are dehydrated, besides water. Not only is it low in sugar, but it also contains high levels of potassium, magnesium, and sodium. It is also a very popular ingredient that can be added to dry blends as an already water-soluble element, available as an organic option as well.
2. Electrolyte Infused water is another fantastic way to replenish your body of its essential nutrients when you are dehydrated. However, if you are trying to avoid sugar, make sure to look at the contents on the labels of the brand you choose, as electrolyte drinks are notorious for their high sugar contents. Choose low-carb or naturally sweetened options that include stevia or monk fruit.
3. Watermelon is made of 92% water; therefore, it is naturally a fantastic way to rehydrate yourself and has high potassium and magnesium contents. This option is also very tasty and can be added to RTD drinks and powders alike.
We must take care of our bodies and hydrate ourselves whenever we can. Although we may not experience dehydration symptoms as severe as others, the long-term effects can be potentially dangerous to our overall health. Therefore, it is essential to keep ourselves accountable throughout the day to drink our required intake of water.
The Hydration category in the nutritional supplement and beverage market is expanding rapidly with products available in various forms such as powdered stick-packs, liquid stick-packs, flavored dry-blends and RTD drink options. Now more than ever, people are educating themselves on how to stay healthy and hydration is one of the critical elements of achieving optimal health. If you have a product idea for this exciting category, reach out to us today and we will be glad to assist you!