Natural electrolytes: 2 ways to stay REALLY hydrated
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
If there's one ubiquitous health tip that has been drilled into us more than any other — it's to "drink plenty of water". I, like many, have long subscribed to the drink 2 litres of water every day maxim, because we want to stay hydrated, we want to feel healthy, right?
And while I'm a huge advocate for a well-watered diet, is there a better way we could be doing it? I found when I drank a lot of water, my need to pee was very frequent — so was the water truly hydrating me, or just passing straight through? Similarly, I felt that if I was drinking so much water, wouldn't it reflect in the buoyancy and hydration quality of my skin?
This curiosity led me to discover the link between water and sodium, and its combined effects on hydration. Ultimately, hydration comes down to more than just drinking water — our bodies also need to replenish electrolytes to adequately hydrate, and to properly function.
A well hydrated body:
⦁ assists brain cognition
⦁ aids better quality sleep better
⦁ aids healthy organ function
⦁ keeps joints lubricated
⦁ helps balance mood
⦁ improves appearance of skin and eyes.
Essentially, water is the steam engine for ALL of our body's processes — so it kinda deserves a bit of special attention. Here's how to maximise your water drinking efforts for that get up and GLOW factor on the daily.
NATURAL ELECTROLYTE #1 - CELTIC SEA SALT
Did you know the principal ingredient of electrolyte drinks is sodium chloride? Yes, salt! That's because our body's water content is salty — in fact it's remarkably similar to sea water. So when we lose our body's water (together with its sodium and chloride ions) through sweating, etc, we must replenish these minerals through our diet.
And if you find you're drinking a lot of water but rushing to the toilet a lot, or the water is retaining in your joints and causing them to swell — this signifies that your drinking water isn't fully getting into your cells, where it's most needed.
So how can we better get the water we drink into our cells and keep it there? Sodium! Sodium is the principal transport system for moving nutrients and water beyond the digestive system and into the cell.
But I'm not talking run of the mill table salt here. Table salt has just 2 minerals (sodium and chloride), and is otherwise devoid of nutritional value — whereas sea water has a whopping 92 minerals, the highest available in nature.
Enter Celtic sea salt
Hand harvested Celtic sea salt retains 82 of these 92 minerals, including 3 types of magnesium. Along with sodium and chloride, magnesium is another essential electrolyte — a "water-hungry" molecule, attracting water wherever it goes. This is why we bathe in Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) to relax and de-stress tight, sore muscles — the magnesium relaxes and eases muscle tension while drawing water to the muscle to moisten and soothe inflammation.
So taking a little Celtic sea salt with your drinking water is a super easy way to naturally replenish electrolytes and maximise hydration for a more bountifully activated brain and bod!
How to hydrate with Celtic sea salt
This is a ridiculously simple process, and to boot — it's the cheapest and quickest way to rehydrate a dehydrated body. No sugar-laden, processed drinks necessary! So, a perfect practice to put in place post-workout, after a big night out, or simply when drinking water throughout the day.
Take a robust crystal of Celtic sea salt (or a couple of tiny ones), and place on your tongue. It will start to dissolve, activating the glands beneath your tongue which will initiate the magnesium absorption.
Step 2. Now drink down your glass of water. All good if the remainder of the salt washes down with it. Aim to do this 3 times a day. That's it!
Note #1: You may have heard about adding a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water to aid hydration, but I learned from a wise natural medicine woman that this simply dissolves the magnesium content away, rendering it useless — so I choose to follow the Celtic sea salt crystal, in its concentrated form, on tongue method. Try it for a while and see how you feel, and what you notice!
Note #2: "Can I use Himalayan pink salt?" Himalayan pink salt is also very rich in minerals — around 75 — but it lacks the magnesium that Celtic sea salt bestows, and magnesium is really what we want to maximise our hydration levels.
NATURAL ELECTROLYTE #2 - CUCUMBER
Our delightfully crisp and juicy cucumber friend contains beneficial natural electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium and phosphorus — so integrating this already water-rich fruit (yes, cucumber is a fruit!) into our drinking water is a great way to deliver deeper hydration to our cells, while also adding natural flavour to make our daily water intake just a lil' bit more interesting! In fact, cucumber is so naturally high in water (96% roundabouts), that if you're ever feeling a bit "dry", you can simply munch on a cucumber to splash your brain, body and spirit with the hydrating vibes of cucumber ;)
Cucumber is also a wonderfully cleansing food, helping to flush our system of toxins and is soothing for our digestion, acting as a "coolant". Cucumbers are anti-inflammatory in nature, contain several antioxidants to defend against cellular damage, are rich in silica to support healthy skin, hair and nails and also neutralise bacteria that cause bad breath thanks to their phytochemicals. So why wouldn't you make cucumber and water best friends on the daily? Here's how to do it.
Cucumber & mint infused water
⦁ Simply fill a big jug with water (if using tap water, you can leave the jug of water out on the bench overnight first to evaporate the chlorine).
⦁ Toss in a handful of thinly sliced cucumber, and tear in several fresh mint leaves. I'm not going to provide a ratio or recipe, because I want you to go with your gut, and feel empowered that the tools and ingredients you have on hand is enough — and that even just a little is intentional medicine! Remember, even a single slice of cucumber is going to be infusing its nutrients into the water for 8 or more hours overnight, and that's powerful stuff right there!
In these photos I used about a 1/4 of a Lebanese cucumber and one small sprig of mint to 1 litre of water. I'd roughly double that amount if I was making 2 litres. The mint is entirely optional, but adds another dimension of flavour and refreshment. In fact feel free to experiment with infusing any other fresh herbs of your choice!
⦁ Place jug in the fridge to infuse overnight. Drink the infused water over the course of the day. Fill up your water bottle (straining out the bits first), if you're headed to work or out and about. For freshness, drink the infusion within a day and compost the leftover plant matter when finished.
So there you go, and I guess it's natural to suggest here that you can supersonic the hedgehog your hydration by combining the above two methods — placing a Celtic sea salt crystal on your tongue and then drinking down a lovely refreshing glass of cucumber water.
Happy hydrating, lovelies! x Mary Lune