Electrolytes Drink Vs Water: Which One Is Better?
Are Electrolytes Better Than Water?
It is common knowledge that drinking water is important to our health. Water intake regulates body temperature, blood pressure, and improves mood, memory, and productivity. But can its benefits be heightened when electrolytes are added to the equation?
So, Electrolytes Drinks Vs Water: Which One Is Better? Let's get into it!
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that have an electrical charge when dissolved in water. Our bodies have the ability to retain electrolytes from the foods we eat and the fluids we drink. These minerals (sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) are distributed throughout the body and use their electrical charged energy to perform important bodily functions, such as:
- Balancing the amount of water within our body.
- Balancing our body's pH levels.
- Moving waste out of our cells.
- Moving nutrients into our cells.
- Regulation of the nerves, muscles, heart, and brain functionality.
- Helping to rebuild damaged tissues.
Oftentimes, sports beverages and water infused with electrolytes will market athletes in their promotions. This is because when someone sweats when they work out, they lose valuable electrolytes in the process that need to be replenished. But a good balance of electrolytes is not just important for those who play sports - everyone needs electrolytes to do everyday tasks such as walking, breathing, or even thinking - and without electrolytes in our system, our nerve cells do not have the ability to communicate as well.
The Benefits Of Electrolytes
Can Improve Exercise Performance
After physical activity, you will need additional fluids in order to replace the water lost in sweat. Even a water loss of as little as 1 or 2% of our body weight can lead to a decrease in strength, speed, and focus. Our sweat also contains electrolytes - including a significant amount of sodium - as well as smaller amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
In order to replace the electrolytes that we lose when we sweat, it is usually recommended that we drink electrolyte-infused water instead of regular water when we exercise, as it can help to improve our heart, muscle, brain, and nervous system function.
Can Prevent Heat Stroke
Warmer climates and environments can put you at risk for a number of heat-related illnesses which can range from a mild heat rash to a life-threatening heat stroke. Usually, our body manages heat by expelling it through the skin and by sweating - however, this built-in cooling system can fail during hot weather, which can cause body temperatures to rise to high-risk levels.
In hotter months, electrolyte-enhanced beverages are often recommended for hydration over other beverages due to their ability to replenish the important electrolytes that were lost through sweat. It is also important to note that sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks such as soda, coffee, and tea, can actually worsen dehydration, as can alcohol.
Can Support Nervous System Functions
Athletes are not the only ones who need to keep their fluid levels balanced and their bodies hydrated. When you understand the importance of consistent hydration you can keep yourself safe and more productive - even a small dip in hydration levels can result in a decrease in cognitive abilities, lower concentration and alertness, and slower reaction times, and at just 3% dehydration your reaction time will be the equivalent to someone with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08%.
The human nervous system is a complicated collection of nerves and specialised cells that can transmit signals from the brain to other parts of the body, and electrolytes play a pretty significant role in that communication process; the sodium initiates the electrical impulses within the nerves cells, the potassium neutralises the nerve cell so that it can reinitiate subsequent electrical impulses and the magnesium allows for the effective transmission of electrical impulses.
This is why your diet should include enough sources of sodium, potassium and magnesium in order to meet your recommended daily intake to support continued brain functionality. A great way to do this is with electrolyte-enhanced water.
Can Help With Rehydration During Illness
Vomiting and diarrhea are not serious in the short term, but persistent and severe symptoms can lead to dehydration if those fluids and electrolytes are not replaced. It is usually recommended that you drink electrolyte-infused drinks at the first sign of illness in order to prevent dehydration. Sports drinks are not usually recommended as their high sugar content can worsen the illness.
It is also important to note that electrolyte beverages might not be enough for treating severe dehydration - and if the illness lasts more than 24 hours and you cannot keep fluids down, you should seek advice from your doctor or healthcare provider.
Electrolytes Drinks Vs Water: Which One Is Better?
While water is great at helping you to stay hydrated, it is usually not enough to fight off dehydration after a particularly tough workout, a day spent outdoors in the summer, or after a night of drinking. Instead, you should try turning to drinks that contain electrolytes as they can hydrate you a lot better than water can.