When you work out a lot, it’s essential to know the best drink for hydration. Despite what you may have heard, many different drinks can hydrate you, even ones with caffeine or alcohol. Some foods with a high water content provide hydration, too, from vegetables like cucumber to soups.
For many people, hydration is straightforward. Their bodies tell them when they are thirsty, and they simply drink more fluids when this occurs. For others, hydration can be challenging.
Plain water alone may not get the job done for athletes, people who engage in high-intensity exercises, or folks who must work or live in warm conditions. For example, popular workout trends like hot yoga can be very dehydrating, and experts recommend hydrating with a hydration electrolyte drink mix to prevent dehydration when engaging in this exercise. Some people work jobs where it is difficult to take breaks for hydration, and they may need a more hydrating option than just water.
Some drinks are better than others at hydrating you, and it may surprise you to find out that water is not the most hydrating fluid. We break down the best drinks for hydration so that you can focus on getting in your fluids and getting back to your exercise regimen.
Why Am I Dehydrated?
Dehydration occurs when you do not get enough fluids. This may occur because of illness, especially if you lose a lot of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea, intense exercise, or hot temperatures. If you’re wondering if you might be dehydrated, watch out for these signs:
- Dry skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry Mouth
If you are dehydrated, knowing the best drinks for hydration is useful information that can help you get back to good health more quickly and efficiently. This is relevant to Americans who are frequently dehydrated. A recent study found that as many as 75% of us are chronically dehydrated.
Best Drinks for Hydration
You may have seen an influx of water with added electrolytes at the store. It’s a great way to get electrolytes without the added sugars that come in sports drinks. If you do not like the taste of flavored sports drinks, this can be a helpful alternative.
In recent years, coconut water has become a popular drink, especially among folks in the health and fitness community. It’s the clear liquid found inside green coconuts. It’s different from coconut milk, which is made from both coconut water and the flesh of a mature coconut. Coconut water contains natural electrolytes, such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Drinking water is a tried-and-true method for combating dehydration. It’s widely available, and the neutral flavor of a glass of water makes it an excellent choice for hydrating during workouts or when you’re under the weather. Your kidneys and liver require water to filter out toxins, and water is crucial for skin, contributing to its elasticity and suppleness.
If you’re struggling to get in the recommended eight glasses of water every day, try getting a portable and stylish water bottle to carry around when you’re on the go. It can act as a visual reminder to hydrate. Some people find the taste of water boring and don’t like to drink it. If that’s you, try flavoring it with some fruit or herbs to get plenty of water.
According to one study, skim milk is the most hydrating fluid. The researchers found that the nutrient composition of a drink impacts how hydrating it is. The protein, fat, and sugar lactose in the fluid slow the rate it empties from your stomach. Slower gastric emptying means that the fluid stays in your stomach for longer, where it can hydrate you. Of course, you may not feel like drinking a big glass of milk after a workout or when you’re recovering from stomach flu.
Sports drinks are among the most popular choices for anyone struggling with hydration. They are widely available, flavorful, and packed with electrolytes, which is why everyone consumes them, from athletes to people with sedentary lifestyles. They usually contain added sugars, but you can find versions with little to no added sugar if that’s a concern for you.
Can Caffeinated, Alcoholic, or Sugary Drinks Hydrate Me?
Drinks like coffee, soda, and beer may offer some hydration. However, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can act as a diuretic. Drinks that act as a diuretic cause you to pass more fluid through urination and are less likely to contribute to hydration. Whether these drinks can offer hydration depends on many factors.
The volume of the alcoholic beverage can impact its hydrating properties. For example, if you’re drinking whiskey shots, the high alcohol content and low fluid volume mean that whiskey is likely to cause dehydration. Beer, however, often has a lower alcoholic content and high fluid volume, meaning that it may aid with hydrating you.
For sugary drinks, the amount of sugar determines whether it is hydrating. As we have discussed, caloric drinks like milk hang out in your stomach a bit longer, giving your body more time to hydrate. However, the excessive amounts of sugar in drinks like fruit juice and soda mean that they are less likely to be hydrating. Once these drinks enter your small intestine, the sugar becomes concentrated through the process of osmosis, and your body will have to compensate by pulling water from elsewhere in your system to dilute the sugar. This will have a dehydrating effect. Additionally, sugar adds calories and does not offer any nutritional value.
Whether caffeinated drinks are hydrating depends on how much caffeine you regularly consume. If you consume 300 milligrams of caffeine, roughly two to four cups of coffee, you may experience a short-term diuretic effect. This is more likely to occur if you do not consume caffeine regularly.
While these drinks are not ideal ways to hydrate, they can have a hydrating effect. You may have heard that you should not count these beverages toward your daily fluid intake, but that’s not necessarily the case. Drinking lots of water is not the only way to get adequate hydration.
At Powerful Nutrition, we take hydration seriously. Hydration is crucial for getting a good workout. When dehydrated, you may not feel your best and are more likely to skip the gym. Adequate hydration also helps your muscles recover from intense workouts. We take working out pretty seriously, and that’s why we offer high-quality electrolyte drink mixes, protein powders, and other nutrition supplements. Buy our sports nutrition supplements today.