For the past five years, “drink more water” has been my New Year’s Resolution. And every year, I’m back to a 5:1 coffee to water ratio by February. Despite knowing I was chronically dehydrated, I couldn’t get myself to pick up the hydrating habit.
Then, I finally got the right portable canteen for my taste (humble brag). But even though I thought I was chugging enough water, I still felt dehydrated.
I wasn’t just staying thirsty; I was also still groggy, irritable, and tense. My skin looked dull, felt dry, and regularly failed the TikTok dehydration test (end humble brag).
Not wanting to believe all my work was for naught, I reached out to the experts. And apparently, still feeling thirsty after chugging water all day is surprisingly common.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
As it turns out, it takes more than upping your water intake to get rehydrated. I didn’t make any other diet changes when I began drinking more water, which was my first mistake.
Hydration and electrolyte balance go hand in hand. And while water can be a source of mineral-based electrolytes, too much of it can do more harm than good. “Electrolytes and fibers are needed to absorb water into the cells, explains Dr. Madathupalayam Madhankumar of iCliniq.
“If we do not take in enough fruits and vegetables, our electrolytes can get flushed out with water. This triggers a thirst response and makes you drink more water, which causes further dilution of electrolytes,” Dr. Madhankumar says.
Replenishing What’s Lost
Frankly, though, I know my limits. I can only take on so many lifestyle changes at once. And right now, my focus is on keeping up my water intake. Until that becomes second nature, a picture-perfect, produce-filled diet will have to wait.
Luckily, there are other ways to replenish your body’s electrolytes—one of them being electrolyte powders, says registered dietitian and certified nutritionist Reda Elmardi. “There are several types of electrolyte powders available, including those containing only sodium, potassium, and chloride, and those containing additional minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and zinc.”
“Both kinds are safe to consume in moderation,” Elmardi continues. “But keep in mind that some electrolyte powders are more concentrated than others. So, if you’re taking a large amount of a particular powder, you might want to start out with a smaller dose and work your way up.”
Natalie Smotkin, certified nutritional therapist and restorative wellness practitioner, recommends Trace Mineral ConcenTrace Drops.
Trace Mineral’s full-spectrum formula includes magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, sulfate, lithium, and boron. It replenishes your body’s electrolyte levels like a plate full of veggies would without the hours of prep and clean-up.
Other Ways To Stay Hydrated
“The ideal amount of water to drink is your body weight in pounds in ounces of water,” says Rorie Weisberg, author of the Food You Love: That Loves You Back. So, if you weigh 170 lb, then you should drink 170 oz of water.
Considering most water canteens hold around 24-40 oz of liquid, that’s a pretty tall order. Adding electrolyte powder or drops to your canteen lets you drink all seven refills of your canteen without flushing your system entirely.
And to help remind yourself to refill your canteen again, health expert and founder of TheConsumerMag.com, Janet Coleman, recommends visual or audible clues. Visual reminders can include “charts that show how much water we drink each day,” Coleman says.
Water tracking canteens like this leak-proof, no-sweat bottle from Hydracy takes the guesswork out of monitoring your water intake. It’s available with or without a straw in several eye-catching colors, including rose gold, aqua, and berry blue.
“Another way to promote awareness is with vocal prompts, such as having a beep or alarm go off on a smartphone when it’s time to get up and grab some more water,” Coleman continues.
No matter your preferred hydration technique, it’s essential to maintain your electrolyte levels via food or a full-spectrum supplement. That way, you can enjoy all of the positive side effects of drinking lots of water—not just the more frequent trips to the bathroom.