Why Hydration Is So Important & Healthy Electrolyte Drink Options
Written by GMB Nutritionist, Melissa Fine.
Staying hydrated will do more than just quench your thirst. Here are just some of the reasons why water is so important for your health.
1. Water transports nutrients to cells
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the food you eat count on water to be carried from the bloodstream to your cells, where they can start working their magic.
2. Water supports healthy bowel movements
Along with fibre, water is the other important part of your poop; it helps to move things nicely along the digestive tract and soften the stool, preventing or alleviating constipation.
3. Water can help fight urinary tract infections
While water can’t treat the dreaded UTI, it can assist in diluting the urine, making urinating during a UTI less painful, and helping to flush out bacteria. Drinking enough water may also prevent a UTI from occurring, encouraging bacteria to be flushed out via the urine and reducing the chances of an infection occurring in the first place.
4. Water aids digestion
The verdict is now in that drinking water with or after a meal will enhance digestion, rather than disrupting it. According to Mayo Clinic, water and other liquids (like coconut water) help food break down properly in the digestive tract, upping nutrient absorption in the process.
5. Water can help prevent dehydration
Whether it’s during day-to-day activities or exercise, we all lose water through sweat, and also via the urine and breath. So even if you’re not an athlete or gym-goer, it’s important to replace the fluids you lose through the day by keeping hydrated with water, and in some cases electrolytes. You’ll have a better workout with water or a hydration formula handy too, with adequate hydration enhancing physical performance, and mental stamina.
6. Water supports mental health
75% of the brain is comprised of water, which means that a lack of hydration can slow circulation in the brain, lowering mood and focus as a result.
Tips for increasing your water intake:
Not great at getting in your daily H20? Here’s how you can change that.
- If you prefer your water fizzy rather than flat, invest in an eco-friendly SodaStream – for soda water ‘on tap’, from the comfort of your home
- Infuse a glass or jug of iced or warm water with lemon, lime, or orange peel
- Add ice to your smoothies
- Sip on your favourite herbal tea throughout the day; it counts as water
- Invest in a wholefood, health-promoting powder (we’re loving GUTRIGHT Daily) that needs to be mixed in a glass of water; make taking it part of your morning ritual and you’ll be increasing your water intake all while giving your body some extra goodness
What about electrolytes?
Electrolytes – including sodium, potassium, and magnesium - are minerals in body fluids (like urine, blood, and sweat) that have an electric charge. Their role is to maintain the right balance of fluids in the body so it functions as it should, regulating everything from your blood pressure to your muscle contractions.
When you’re dehydrated or at risk of dehydration, whether that be from a bout of gastro or an intense workout in extreme heat, your body loses electrolytes along with water; this can throw your electrolyte balance out of whack, in which case it’s not enough to just hydrate with water. That’s where a hydration or electrolyte formula comes in.
Smart hydration/electrolyte swaps:
If you’re looking for a clean electrolyte formula, you can do by making some easy swaps with some help from our guide below.
Swap: Vitamin Water for B-Fit Organic Plant-Based Hydration Beverage
After water, the main ingredients in Coca Cola-owned Vitamin Water is refined sugar in the form of fructose and sucrose. Along with electrolytes, Vitamin Water comes with flavour from an unknown source. Responsibly sourced B-Fit on the other hand is flavoured naturally with ingredients like organic maqui berries, and contains about half the amount of sugar as Vitamin Water per 100ml (with the sugar in B-fit coming from wholefood ingredients like organic manuka honey).
Swap: Gatorade for Raw C Pure Natural Coconut Water
While Gatorade does help replace electrolytes lost through sweat, it contains artificial colours and refined sugar; one 600ml serve contains 36g, or nine teaspoons of sugar. The sugar in Gatorade serves as a carbohydrate source, and is largely there to fuel athletic performance, as muscles rely on carbohydrates athletes to refuel.
If you want to rehydrate with a wholefood alternative, try Raw C; with almost 50% less sugar than Gatorade per 100ml, the sugar that you do get in Raw C is the unrefined kind, providing a natural energy boost alongside five naturally occurring electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium (Gatorade only contains sodium and potassium).
Swap: Berocca Performance for Nuun Hydration Electrolyte Drink Tablets
Along with vitamins and minerals, Berocca also contains artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. Nuun’s convenient Hydration Electrolyte Drink Tablets are reminiscent of Berocca, but they’re flavoured, coloured, and sweetened naturally with plant-based ingredients like beetroot powder and sugar free stevia.
Swap: Powerade Zero for Endura Rehydration Low Carb Fuel
It might be sugar free, but if you want a low carb electrolyte formula without the artificial sweeteners, switch your Powerade Zero for Endura Rehydration Low Carb Fuel; with less than 1.3g of carbs per serve, it’s also free from artificial colours, and contains a 5-electrolyte complex (whereas Powerade Zero contains only one electrolyte, sodium).
Don't forget, you can shop a range of healthy beverages over on the GoodnessMe Shop!