Staying properly hydrated is massively a essential a part of feeling your greatest and guaranteeing your physique features correctly. Drinking plenty of water is an effective way to make sure you keep sufficiently hydrated, however have you ever ever chugged a ton of water solely to really feel extra thirsty? The rationale for that’s usually as a consequence of sodium.
“Sodium is a mineral that our body needs for [proper] fluid balance, muscle operate, and nerve operate,” shares Breanna Cecil, MS, RDN, LN, a board-certified registered dietitian nutritionist that focuses on working with athletes. “Sodium additionally helps transport vitamins into our cells, like amino acids and nutritional vitamins, and controls the quantity of water that goes out and in of cells.” It may be naturally present in numerous meals, however can also be often consumed as sodium chloride (aka desk salt)—whether or not by means of meals processing or when added as a seasoning.
The connection between sodium and our physique’s hydration ranges may be fairly complicated. In any case, one minute you might have been informed to be conscious of your sodium consumption to keep away from dehydration, the following, TikTok movies suggesting you add salt to smoothies for hydration are flooding your For You Web page and that one buddy who swears by chugging pickle juice after a long term is messing along with your head. What’s most essential to remember, says Cecil, is that what our our bodies must rehydrate can range, relying on the scenario. Typically, chances are you’ll want a glass of water, whereas different instances, chances are you’ll want an electrolyte like sodium to replenish misplaced fluids.
In an effort to make issues much less complicated, we requested Cecil to additional unpack how sodium impacts hydration within the physique, together with the right way to know while you want extra of it—and when to dial again.
How sodium impacts hydration ranges
The final word element to recollect when enthusiastic about hydration is that your physique wants each water and sodium for correct fluid steadiness, so having kind of of both can impression your hydration ranges. Usually, Cecil affirms your general consumption of sodium can have an effect on how usually it is advisable rehydrate with drinks containing sodium. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless essential to correctly rehydrate in case you’re continually energetic or an athlete. In line with Cecil, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that people consumption lower than 2,300 mg or lower than a teaspoon of sodium per day.
“Most people within the common inhabitants want lower than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, [but] sodium wants are larger for energetic people and athletes,” says Cecil. “[When] we sweat, the primary electrolyte misplaced is sodium, so when athletes are frequently shedding sodium by means of their sweat whereas at follow or video games, they should replenish what they misplaced.” She provides that not including sodium by means of both snacks or a hydration powder can increase the chances of muscle cramps together with different unfavorable results. “When an individual is only one % dehydrated, there’s a decrease in cognitive functioning. At only a two % dehydration, you may see a bodily drop in efficiency, particularly for athletes,” says Cecil.
“Most people within the common inhabitants want lower than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, [but] sodium wants are larger for energetic people and athletes,” says Cecil.
In the event you’re uncertain as as to whether or not your physique wants sodium to hydrate, Cecil suggests taking note of signs related to hyponatremia—a situation when your sodium ranges are too low and sometimes attributable to taking in an excessive amount of fluid with out ample sodium. She provides, “in early phases of hyponatremia, there may be signs of nausea, headache, cramps or simply feeling extra drained than standard. When there’s a extra critical case of hyponatremia, it might result in seizures and lack of consciousness. “
So what are methods to fight this to make sure you correctly rehydrate when sweating greater than standard? “I all the time inform my purchasers to hearken to their our bodies, as a result of they know themselves greatest. In the event you assume again in your day and spot you might have had little sodium consumption by means of your weight-reduction plan, possibly an electrolyte powder or beverage could also be useful,” says Cecil. She additionally suggests having salty snacks, equivalent to path combine, or incorporating a hydration powder equivalent to Liquid IV.
“The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a sodium consumption of 300 to 600 mg/hour of extended train,” Cecil says. Most people usually get greater than sufficient sodium by means of their weight-reduction plan, however Cecil advises extremely energetic of us and athletes to extend their sodium ranges at an quantity particular to them, their weight-reduction plan, the local weather, and their sweat fee. Earlier than growing or lowering the quantity of sodium in your weight-reduction plan, remember to speak along with your physician, as each particular person is totally different.
Most people usually get greater than sufficient sodium by means of their weight-reduction plan, however Cecil advises extremely energetic of us and athletes to extend their sodium ranges at an quantity particular to them, their weight-reduction plan, the local weather, and their sweat fee.
Is an excessive amount of sodium all the time unhealthy for you?
Consuming too much sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, so it is crucial to be conscious of your general consumption. “If somebody who has hypertension consumes an excessive amount of sodium, [this] may cause a damaging impact by growing blood strain and subsequently lowering the stream of blood and oxygen to your coronary heart,” Cecil says. “On the subject of folks that sweat in extra or athletes, they could want a better quantity of sodium as a result of losses of their sweat.”
Once more, Cecil underscores that an excessive amount of sodium impacts everybody in another way.
3 ideas for hydrating correctly
If water is not doing the job of quenching your thirst, then Cecil shares 3 ways that can assist you correctly rehydrate—particularly after sweating a ton.
Contemplate incorporating some salty snacks: “Salty snacks, equivalent to path combine or pretzels, are useful not only for the sodium, however the carbohydrates facilitate sodium and water absorption,” Cecil says.
Electrolyte drinks that embrace sodium: One tip Cecil shares in navigating the electrolyte aisle is to have a look at the label to make sure it consists of the required parts for hydration. “In the event you have a look at the label, [ensure] there are minimal quantities of sodium, which is the primary electrolyte we lose in our sweat,” she says.
Add salt to coconut water: Regardless of the widespread perception that coconut water is nice for hydration, Cecil factors out how that is not the case. “Coconut water has a large amount of potassium however lacks the quantity of sodium wanted to rehydrate you, particularly if you’re an athlete.” She advises including salt to it to compensate for the dearth of sodium if coconut water is your favourite hydration beverage.
The underside line? Sodium performs an important position in sustaining correct fluid steadiness, particularly within the case of extreme sweat loss as a consequence of bodily exercise or sizzling temperatures. In the event you’ve had a salty snack and are feeling parched, ingesting water to steadiness your hydration could also be useful. Then again, if water alone is not doing the trick, chances are you’ll want a salty snack or an electrolyte beverage to rehydrate correctly.