Water is a go to beverage to grab when you’re dehydrated, since the body’s cells need water to function properly. And a primary cause of dehydration is loss in fluids, like water, and electrolytes, which together can keep the body hydrated, balanced and energized.
However, sometimes water alone can’t get the job done in restoring lost nutrients and electrolytes, which can happen from sweating and urination. That’s why it’s smart to keep a bottle of water on hand when you’re spending time in the heat and sun, as well as when you’re exercising.
Yet, you can boost the hydration levels by adding in a source of electrolytes to your water. Think: a low-sugar sports drink or an electrolyte booster, like a gel or powder, which you can mix into water for some added flavor, hydration and nutrients.
And you can also improve hydration immediately by consuming more electrolyte-containing foods and beverages, which will both ease dehydration symptoms like muscle cramps, dry mouth and headache and replenish depleted nutrient stores and fluids. You can swap plain drinking water for a beverage that has electrolytes or simply enjoy a snack with a large, cold glass of water. Here are a few other ways to get electrolytes in your body and fight dehydration ASAP besides drinking water.
Drink Pickle Juice
Pickles may taste delicious when sliced and on top of a burger or stuffed into a sandwich, but also they contain sodium, which is an essential electrolyte and nutrient, which when depleted, will cause dehydration and symptoms to arise.
So, if you’re dehydrated you’ll need to find a source of sodium to help balance the body’s fluid and electrolyte ratio. Pickle juice has been shown to be an electrolyte source and an effective post-workout recovery sip for alleviating cramps and restoring electrolytes, which leave the body through sweat. Drink some as is or include pickles in your post-workout snack or meal.
Grab a Sports Gel or Booster
People who train for over an hour of a workout or for races and marathons often take sports gels and tablets with them on the go, as the hydration boosters contain electrolytes and easily mix in with water or can be eaten as a bar, candy or gummy, for example. These kinds of recovery aids are specifically designed to improve hydration levels and provide the right set of nutrients the body needs to restore its fluid ratio and energize cramped, strained and dehydrated muscles.
Eat or Drink Something Rich in Potassium
Apart from pickle juice, coconut water is another source of electrolytes, except it’s especially high in potassium, which is one of the main essential nutrients athletes need post-workout to repair muscle damage and re-hydrate. Plus, you should have enough potassium throughout the day to help regulate the body’s fluid balance and to beat fatigue, brain fog and other unwelcome dehydration symptoms.
Pair coconut water with a banana or a banana and a little bit of peanut butter, both of which naturally contain high doses of potassium and electrolytes, as well. Go for unsweetened coconut water varieties and don’t fear salt in that jar of peanut butter. Your body will need some sodium if it’s dehydrated, especially if sweaty, too.
Drink Milk or Chocolate Milk
Chocolate milk is not just a sweet, nostalgic beverage that makes you think of childhood (even if it’s in a plant-based variety and is free of milk!), but also it has a wide array of nutrients to power hydration levels and get fluids back into the body.
Plus, milk is rich in calcium, an electrolyte that plays a role in muscle contraction, so it’s super important to make sure you’re having enough calcium throughout your day in order to facilitate healthy and comfortable muscle movements. If you’re cramping up, you’re likely low in calcium, as well as water and other electrolytes, all of which can make you dehydrated quickly.
Eat Foods With High Water Content
Drinking enough glasses of water every day depending on your body’s needs and activity level will prompt healthy fluid balance and ward off dehydration, but you can further enhance hydration levels by also eating foods that are high in water content naturally.
Examples include fresh produce, like cucumbers and watermelon, since they’re mostly made of up water. That water ends up in your body, of course. That’s why watermelon slices are so popular at scorching hot summertime barbecues!