Employee Wellness: The Rundown on Hydration Packets
Have you ever felt like you were drinking enough water, but still felt dehydrated? Or maybe you felt like your post-workout water needed an extra boost? Here is where hydration packets come in. You have probably seen different hydration packet brands like Liquid IV, Salud Hydration, and DripDrop in the store. Let's talk about what they do!
What is it?
Hydration powders, also called electrolyte powders, are composed of electrolytes that are essential for proper body functioning. The hydration packet is in a powdered that you mix with water to drink as a beverage. They are formulated to hydrate you more efficiently by allowing the electrolytes they contain to directly enter the bloodstream faster than traditional sports drinks or water alone.
How do they work?
Electrolytes are important to help the body regulate chemical reactions, maintain fluids, regulate the nervous system, and help to support muscle functions. Here the most commonly known electrolytes and some of their functions in the body:
Sodium: Helps maintain fluids within the body and absorb nutrients.
Magnesium: Helps the cells turn nutrients into energy and helps with brain and muscle functioning.
Potassium: Important for heart functioning and muscle movement.
Calcium: Needed for bone and teeth strength, muscle control, nerve signal transmission, and heart rhythm regulation.
Chloride: Maintains the body’s pH balance and the external and internal fluid balance of the cells.
Phosphate: Helps the cells to metabolize nutrients.
Bicarbonate: Helps to keep blood pH normal.
When would it be okay to drink it?
In some scenarios, water is insufficient to give your body what it needs. Here are some situations where a hydration packet would help:
If you lose excessive fluids doing activities like an intense and vigorous workout
If you’ve been out in the sun and sweating
If you have gotten sick and lost bodily fluids
A hydration packet will replenish the electrolytes needed to help the body function as it should. It’s also been rumored that drinking a hydration packet after consuming alcohol can prevent or help get rid of the "hangover" feeling. This is because hydration packets replace the fluid loses from alcohol's diuretic effect.
Other sources of hydration
A balanced diet typically carries enough electrolytes for a person who is mildly active or sedentary, and hydration packets wouldn't be necessary to drink. Coconut water is another beverage that helps with hydration. It contains potassium and may be enriched with sodium and magnesium while being low in calories. Another option is to eat your hydration! Eating high-water content foods, like lettuce and cucumbers, help us stay hydrated without drinking water.
It’s not harmful to drink hydration powders, but hydration powders are supplements and should be taken as such. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men should drink around 15.5 cups of water per day, and women should drink 11.5 cups of water per day. Water and food are the recommended way to get your electrolytes. However, water sometimes may not always provide what the body needs, so go ahead and mix that hydration powder with your water when needed. Listen to your body and look for cues of dehydration. They can be thirst, the number of times you urinate, and the color. Stay hydrated and stay healthy!
Written by Diana Bravo, Wellness Workdays Intern