Are you drinking enough water? Hydration, or the lack thereof, has an enormous impact on your performance during fitness training and your overall health. Surprisingly, simply drinking water isn't enough to keep your cells hydrated. A variety of electrolytes are needed in order to properly transport the water through the cell walls. Thankfully, there are many foods that can help hydrate the body and fuel your success.
Why Hydration is Necessary
Your cells need plenty of water to perform their functions. Metabolism, waste removal, and other essential functions depend on it. During metabolism, H20 is broken down and combined with other elements to complete long and complex cycles of biochemical energy generation. Water is also necessary to remove waste from the cells and into the bloodstream so they can be taken to the kidneys for elimination.
When cellular dehydration is chronic, it leads to inefficiencies in the cell that can result in disease, loss of energy and other problems. In the short term, it leads to muscle cramps, increased heart rate, overheating, brain fog and headaches. Thirst usually accompanies dehydration, but this is not always the case. Many people are dehydrated and never experience that well-known sign.
Can You be Dehydrated if You Drink Plenty of Water?
Shockingly, the answer is a definite yes. Even worse, you are unlikely to feel thirsty if you are drinking large amounts of water, so you might have a hard time figuring out what's wrong. The cause of the problem, in this case, is usually an imbalance or lack of electrolytes.
One thing that greatly compounds this problem is the demonization of salt. Salt is one of the most important electrolytes, and a deficiency in it is known as hyponatremia. People with hyponatremia will quickly sweat and urinate away so much water that they end up dehydrated no matter how much water they drink. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, chloride and bicarbonate are other electrolytes that are essential for proper cell function. These chemicals can be found naturally in whole, delicious foods like spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes and whole grains.
4 Ways to Stay Hydrated All Day Long
The key to getting water to actually go into your cells is to have enough electrolytes to allow it to cross your cell membranes. Therefore, while you still need to drink water, you should also be sure to include electrolyte-rich foods and beverages in your daily intake. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Have a glass every few hours regardless of thirst.
- If you're exercising, choose sports drinks, electrolyte-infused water or Pedialyte over plain water. These drinks contain electrolytes to help your cells use the water you consume.
- Eat healthy foods with high moisture contents. Unprocessed foods naturally contain electrolytes. Fruits and veggies like watermelons, cucumbers, pears and zucchini are great choices and a delicious way to get the hydrating nutrients you need!
- Set an alarm. If you tend to get involved in activities and forget to hydrate, set an alarm to remind you.
These are just some of the ways you can get water and electrolytes into your system all day long. Keep an eye out for other tasty alternatives too. One of Kate’s favorite ways to stay hydrated is a booster from Urban Remedy called Hydrate. It contains pears, cucumbers, chlorophyll, sea minerals and Himalayan salt to rehydrate your cells and boost your body’s oxygen levels for exercise. For a nutrition plan filled with the nutrients your body needs to stay hydrated all day check out Kate Upton’s 3-day meal plan from Urban Remedy.