Mahmud Kara, MD, creator and founder of KaraMD, explains why healthy hydration habits are crucial for good health.
Keeping the body properly hydrated is essential to live and feel well.
Hydration, more specifically water and electrolytes, plays an important role in several health areas, including immune system function, joint lubrication, delivering nutrients to our cells, keeping organs functioning properly, cognitive health and mood, energy levels, and more.
Signs You’re Not Properly Hydrated
Let’s face it; we just weren’t built for the 21st century. Between nutrient-deficient foods and our “always on” busy lifestyle, it can be hard to maintain the hydration levels that keep us functioning at our best.
For example, do you ever find yourself skipping water for a mid-afternoon boost from energy drinks or coffee? Or perhaps certain foods (cue the salt!) make you feel sort of “bleh” after eating them? If so, you aren’t alone. Staying properly hydrated is a problem many of us face.
Over time, not keeping the body properly hydrated can start to interfere with its systems and their normal functions, which in turn can lead to issues like:
So what can you do?
Incorporating Hydration into Your Daily Routine
You can start by not waiting that long to start feeling the effects of poor hydration in the first place. There is a difference in the body when it comes to hydration versus rehydration.
If you have reached the point of needing to rehydrate, it is going to take more electrolytes and more water to get the body back to a functioning level versus consistently staying hydrated as part of your normal routine and focusing on giving the body what it truly needs to perform at its best. This is where the “how” of hydration comes into play. The best way to stay hydrated is to take a daily, proactive approach.
For example, form a habit of drinking a hydrating electrolyte mix once or twice a day as part of your routine rather than waiting until you need three or four to rehydrate after a holiday meal or night out on the town. Proper hydration all starts with looking at hydration as part of your normal routine rather than an afterthought.
Activities That Can Deplete Hydration Levels
Our busy, 21st-century lifestyles can take a lot out of us between eating indulgent meals (think of heavy or fattening foods you might order at restaurants or quick-service places), consuming alcohol during happy hours, racing around to run errands, participating in recreational activities, exercising at the gym, or even just dealing with the fluctuation of the weather. These are all reasons for why hydration should be a top priority as you navigate all of these daily experiences.
Filling up on alcohol, high-salt, high-sugar, and refined carbohydrate options can leave you with feelings of low energy or slower digestion as your body works overtime to process these foods. Maintaining proper water and electrolyte levels before indulging in unhealthier food options or alcoholic beverages is essential to help keep the body and its systems functioning properly.
There’s also the general chaos or busyness of our daily lives to consider. While we are out running errands, hitting up the gym, or enduring the busy highways or airports, our hydration levels start to fluctuate as we lose water and electrolytes through things like sweat from increased physical activity.
Because of this, it’s important to make sure you are keeping the body properly hydrated before you need to rehydrate. Remember earlier. If you make hydration a normal part of your routine, it takes less water and electrolytes to get the body back to peak functioning. Furthermore, maintaining proper hydration levels can help combat some of the symptoms, such as headaches or frequent colds, that come with seasonal weather changes.
How to Develop Healthy Hydration Habits
The best way to make hydration part of your normal routine and to develop that healthy habit is to find a convenient, on-the-go electrolyte drink mix and include it as a part of that hydration routine. Hydration stick packs have become a popular product in recent months, but make sure you are keeping a few things in mind when shopping for the right product.
Does the company/product disclose its research, dosage, ingredient quantities, etc., clearly on the supplement facts label? Or is this information missing?
Dose and Form
Make sure you are taking a product that contains a sufficient quantity for what you and your medical professional have decided fits within your health needs. For example, vitamin B12 is often included in many hydration products, but there is a difference between high-quality, absorbable B12 like methylcobalamin versus cyanocobalamin which may be used to keep costs down.
Responsibly Sourced Ingredients
Avoid products that contain harmful additives or preservatives (e.g., artificial flavors) and make sure that you are sticking with a company/product that uses non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly ingredients from high-quality sources.
Convenience and Ease of Use
As mentioned earlier, hydration should be part of your routine, not an afterthought. Any product you choose should be one that you can easily weave into your existing lifestyle so that you can reap the health benefits
Overall, finding a refreshing, convenient, and high-quality electrolyte drink mix can help you not only power through day-to-day activities and support on-the-go lifestyles, but it can also develop the habit of maintaining proper hydration levels so that you can live and feel well.
About the Author
Mahmud Kara, MD, has garnered more than 30 years of experience proudly serving patients and their families. After spending the early part of his career treating patients at The Cleveland Clinic, Kara spent the last several years focusing his work on functional medicine and natural remedies to help people live healthier lives. In 2017, Kara founded KaraMD, a line of digestive support, heart health, and anti-inflammatory supplements to support full-body health. His passion for educating individuals on supplements and natural remedies inspired the founding of KaraMD to change lives for the better. The product line targets several body areas for a holistic approach to overall wellness. They are made in the USA and available worldwide. They are also vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Some of the products include Pure Nature, UltraBeets, Comfort Guard X24, Vital Restore, and GutBio Max.