Everything from a hot summer day to a light workout can cause you to lose hydration, and while a cold glass of water, perhaps with a hint of lemon, can seem like the right option to quench your thirst, there is another popular beverage that can do the trick: electrolyte water. According to Naudia Jones RD, CDN, the owner of Brooklyn Nutrition Practice, this drink is packed with nutrients. "Electrolyte water is water enhanced with electrically-charged minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium," she says. "These minerals play an important role in many bodily functions, such as regulating muscle contractions (like the heart), regulating blood pressure, blood pH levels, fluid balance, and so much more."
The difference between the H20 you drink from the tap? Water from your sink only contains trace amount of these minerals. Here, Jones explains even more benefits associated with consuming electrolyte water in your day-to-day life and the best times to drink it.
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The Benefits of Drinking Electrolyte Water
"Consuming electrolyte water is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost during certain illness and intense physical activities," says Jones. "In higher temperatures, and during high intensity activities, electrolyte losses occur through sweating." If you don't replenish the electrolytes you do lose, dehydration is a likely result, which could cause symptoms of confusion, lethargy, cramps, headaches, decreased energy, syncope, and possibly death. "It is important to identity these signs of dehydration and replenish with fluids immediately," she adds. "Ideally, you'd want to avoid getting to this point by paying attention to thirst cues and staying hydrated." So, if you tend to sweat excessively on a regular basis or during high-intensity activities, drinking electrolyte water could be a beneficial for you. Plus, if you are experiencing illnesses that cause vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, you could be depleted of electrolytes, and drinking this specific type of water can allow you to refuel. Excessive alcohol consumption will also require an electrolyte boost.
But it's important to remember that the benefits associated with drinking electrolyte water are not the same for everyone; in fact, there are people who should stay away from it entirely. "Caution is advised when consuming electrolyte enhanced beverages for people with kidney diseases," Jones shares. "This population often require a low potassium or phosphorous diet." In this case, she recommends consulting with your dietitian or other medical provider before drinking electrolyte water.
When to Drink Electrolyte Water
Drinking electrolyte water is not a requirement in everyday life, but it can boost health in certain instances. "Trace minerals in regular water, combined with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can be enough to meet the daily requirements in healthy population," Jones says. "Electrolyte water consumption is most beneficial during intense physical activities, very hot temperatures, and to replenish losses during certain illnesses."