Many new hydration beverages are on the market, and it can be confusing to know which are healthy and if they are even needed.
Dehydration happens when the amount of fluids that leave the body is greater than what is being taken in.
On a daily basis, the average adult loses about 2 to 2.5 liters of water primarily through breathing, perspiring and urinating.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can replenish about 20 percent of total fluid intake, but most healthy adults still need to consume about 2 liters of water to stay hydrated.
In addition, lost body fluids contain electrolytes (i.e., electrically charged minerals) in varying concentrations. Thus, both water and electrolytes are critical for proper hydration.
The following are a few healthy hydration beverages that can help replenish not only water and fluids, but also electrolytes, mineral salts, and vitamins.
Naturally derived mineral water comes from underground springs in the Earth. Mineral water contains dissolved mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium and iron. In addition, the natural sulfates in the water help with digestion.
The ideal source of mineral water is from a local spring, if you are lucky enough to live near one. If not, you can purchase bottled mineral water, but it would be worth calling the manufacturer and doing a little research to make the sure the water is actually coming from a natural mineral spring. Bottled water labeling laws are inadequate to ensure that what is being advertised is what you are actually getting.
A few of the most common electrolytes found in the body are sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, calcium, magnesium. Proper hydration involves drinking enough water daily and maintaining a balance of electrolytes in the body, which is also critical for nerve and muscle function.
You can get electrolyte water by simply adding liquid or powder electrolyte supplements to your filtered drinking water. You can check out some of our recommended electrolyte supplements and a homemade electrolyte drink recipe on this page Electrolyte Enhanced Water.
This is an ideal hydration beverage and a quick energy drink. It contains an abundance of minerals, electrolytes, and simple sugars to help re-hydrate the body.
An 8-ounce glass of coconut water offers about 750 mg of potassium and 315 mg of sodium. In addition to the hydration benefits, coconut water has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same electrolytic balance that is in our blood. I love that fact!
Look for raw, organic young green coconut water, which will give you all the benefits without added sugar, as is often found in most commercial coconut waters. Coconut water is a low carbohydrate, low-calorie, and 99 percent fat-free hydration beverage.
Rich in alkalizing minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, this type of water has a higher pH level than tap water or de-mineralized waters (RO and distilled).
Alkaline water is purported to help with nutrient absorption and metabolism. The alkaline minerals also help buffer acids in the blood and work together to keep the body hydrated and healthy. Alkaline water may also help to remove toxins from the body more efficiently. You can read more on alkaline water benefits here.
Switchel is a fermented beverage that quickly quenches thirst and replenishes electrolytes. It is also excellent for supporting digestive health and the immune system.
Also called Haymakers Punch, switchel is a tasty drink that originated in the Caribbean. It is an effervescent drink made of water mixed with raw apple cider vinegar, sweetened with molasses, honey or maple syrup. Ginger is sometimes added for flavor. Switchel can easily be made at home or purchased at many health food stores.
See Switchel (Haymakers Punch): Natural Healthy Gatorade for a traditional switchel recipe.
The healthy hydration beverages listed here replenish water and fluids, but also electrolytes, mineral salts, and vitamins. They contain little or no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or additives.
Commercial sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners and are highly acidic. Over time, these beverages will actually cause you to lose more electrolytes and can contribute to inflammation in the body.
Further reading . . .