We all know by now that there are a few key elements to living a healthy lifestyle, like eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, and of course, drinking water. But have you ever felt like you were still dehydrated no matter how much water you guzzled throughout the day? Maybe your lips feel chapped or your mouth is dry or your skin doesn’t feel as supple. It’s not all in your head; there’s a scientific reason why water sometimes feels less hydrating.
Dana Cohen, MD, who focuses on integrative medicine, recently said on the mindbodygreen podcast that often when people are drinking a ton of water, they aren’t usually thinking of a process she refers to as “remineralizing.” In addition to the fact that many people are chugging so much water throughout the day to begin with, some folks may also use specialized water filters that strain out harsh toxins and chemicals. However, these filters also take out beneficial nutrients, like any underlying sodium, which may already be sparse in regular tap water.
When you don’t have enough sodium in your body in proportion to the amount of water you’re consuming, your body’s sodium receptors aren’t able to actually pull those water molecules into cells to help them function properly. And if you have too much water circulating through your body, you might be dealing with something called water intoxication, which can make you feel groggy, nauseous, and sometimes even dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to replace the sodium that you’re flushing away with all of the water you’re drinking.
When it comes to remineralizing your water, you don’t need to take action with every glass you drink, but you can make one small tweak a few times per day, especially if you’re drinking a lot of water in between meals. The next time you pour yourself a glass, Cohen recommends adding a pinch of salt or a packet of electrolytes (Buy on Amazon, $19.99) just to make sure that sodium gets replaced in your body. It’s a tiny change, but it can make a huge difference!