The One Thing You’re Getting Wrong About Proper Hydration

TThe list of ailments that dehydration can cause seems endless. Fatigue, headaches, immune health, and even your mood can all be affected by less than stellar hydration levels. Although drinking water seems like the obvious answer to preventing dehydration in the first place, a popular TikToker says that most people get it wrong when it comes to hydration.

Martin Riese, water sommelier and author, posted a video on TikTok about the “perfect hydration” formula. Since he’s a water sommelier, it’s safe to assume he knows what he’s talking about…right? But the truth is that he is not an expert in nutrition. Since TikTok is not known as a source of truthful information on wellness and nutrition, we are verifying all of its claims related to hydration with a dietitian.

The “perfect” formula for proper hydration

So what exactly does Riese say we’re all getting wrong about hydration? “Perfect hydration means consuming water plus electrolytes,” he explains. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but it goes on to explain how electrolytes are found in some types of water, but not all.

Essentially, he says, the body needs electrolytes for water to carry nutrition into the cell, and it also needs to move waste out of the cell. So you’re not a fan of purified tap water (which is what you drink from a water filter or most bottled waters). Riese recommends spring water or mineral water, as they have “a lot more electrolytes.” He also says that bottled water plus an apple is even better than plain water, because the apple contains electrolytes. So how do you check all this out with a registered dietitian nutritionist?

First, a refresher on electrolytes, where to find them, and what they do to your body. “Electrolytes are minerals that help your body balance the amount of water inside and help move nutrients into cells and waste out of cells,” says Francesca Alfano, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “[Electrolytes] they’re important in helping your body absorb fluids and are a key component of proper hydration,” she adds.

You definitely need electrolytes to stay hydrated, so Riese has that right. But he also begs the question of whether you need to proactively add electrolytes to all the water you drink, especially if you don’t always drink mineral or spring water. “You don’t need to add electrolytes to all water,” says Alfano. “Electrolytes can be found in many fruits and vegetables and are common in foods that many people eat on a daily basis, such as spinach, avocado, yogurt and bananas,” he explains. According to Alfano, if you drink enough water in general and eat a balanced diet, you’re likely getting enough to maintain healthy electrolyte levels.

“Your body also does a great job of working to maintain electrolyte balance in the body,” she says. In some cases, after a workout or prolonged exposure to heat, or when you’re sick, she notes that you may want to add a sugar-free electrolyte drink. “I also recommend keeping in mind how much you sweat each day,” she says. “If you’re a person who sweats a lot, it’s important to replenish electrolytes.” Other than that, though? The water should do the job just fine.

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