When it comes to choosing the best electrolyte powder, there are so many choices that it may be hard to know where to start. At Cure Hydration, we believe that what goes into your body should work for your health and well-being in every way. So, we compiled a brief guide on how to choose the best electrolyte powder for you.
But before we get to talking about electrolyte powders, let’s discuss why supplementing with electrolytes is so important in the first place.
What Causes Dehydration?
Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water, with every part of your body containing huge amounts of it (even your bones!) Water is critical for many, many functions of the body, which includes regulating your temperature, helping to eliminate waste, aiding digestion, and keeping your metabolism humming along.
Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough water and electrolytes to function the way it should. Losing as little as 1% of your total water volume can lead to you being dehydrated.
Even when it’s mild, dehydration can have many effects on the body. In the beginning stages of dehydration, you can feel tired, sluggish, and have brain fog. You may also experience thirst, have darker-than-usual urine, feel a faster heart rate, and have a headache.
When dehydration is severe, you may even pass out. And because fluids and electrolytes are so vital to your body's functions, severe dehydration can even lead to death.
Dehydration can be caused by a few factors. Excessive sweating is one of the main culprits, but other reasons for dehydration include too much sun exposure, being at high altitudes, and medical conditions that lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Can’t I Just Drink Water?
Water is a great beverage to keep you hydrated. But when you become dehydrated, water isn't the only thing you lose.
Important electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, also get flushed out of the body and need to be replaced. So, when you’re dehydrated but only drinking pure water, your body isn’t getting replenished with electrolytes that it desperately needs to function properly.
In addition, drinking plain water can actually make things worse. If you lose water and electrolytes, but only drink water to rehydrate, you can actually upset the balance of electrolytes in your body.
This can lead to you feeling nauseous, brain-fogged, and even give you muscle cramps. For this reason, water on its own may not always be enough and needs to be complemented with electrolytes.
Can’t I Just Drink Gatorade?
Even though this drink is advertised as a “favorite” of athletes, it’s actually not that great for rehydrating. That’s because it contains the wrong ratio of electrolytes. Plus, it’s loaded with added sugar.
While you do need some sugar to rehydrate properly, the huge quantities that Gatorade contains are simply unnecessary.
There is a difference between added sugars and natural sugars. Natural sugars are actually good for you in the right amounts!
What's more, excess sugar can actually trigger dehydration. This happens because water moves out of cells to balance out the concentration of sugar in your body. And of course, too much sugar has a lot of other negative effects on the body that are best avoided. At the end of the day, Gatorade can actually be dehydrating.
Plus, Gatorade comes packaged in plastic bottles, which is generally terrible for the environment. More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every day. That’s why it’s important to avoid plastic bottles and to look for electrolyte products that use sustainable packaging that use 95% less plastic than ready-to-drink beverages.
But Isn’t Salt Bad For You?
The idea that salt is bad for your health is based on years of bad science. Of course, too much of anything is never a good idea. But we need some salt in order to keep ourselves not only well and healthy, but alive.
The human body can’t live without sodium. This important electrolyte is needed to transmit signals between nerves, contract and relax muscle fibers, and, of course, maintain hydration in the body. That’s why you shouldn’t automatically fear salt. Plus, certain types of salts, like Himalayan pink salt, contain healthy minerals that improve your health.
How to Choose the Best Electrolyte Powder
Check the Electrolytes
Many electrolyte powders will contain the wrong ratio of electrolytes. While we mentioned that sodium is an extremely important electrolyte for your body, you still don’t want to get too much of it. Plus, sodium and potassium must be balanced in the correct ratio.
For that reason, it’s important to check for the right balance of electrolytes.
Other things to watch out for include synthetic ingredients such as potassium citrate. It’s always best to go for electrolytes in their most natural state, such as the potassium that naturally occurs in coconut water.
In addition to being a natural ingredient, coconut water also contains sodium, chloride, and even small amounts of glucose that are needed to help your body rehydrate faster.
Check the Ingredients
Staying well-hydrated is an essential part of health and wellness. But many electrolyte powders can be counterproductive to your bottom line by adding artificial sweeteners and added sugars.
Artificial sweeteners are another favorite of electrolyte powders. The reasoning here is that by reducing the amount of sugar in a product, it automatically becomes healthy. While sugar is something that you should avoid in high amounts, you actually need some naturally-occurring glucose to rehydrate quickly.
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to all sorts of side effects, such as increased food cravings and decreased energy.
For this reason, it’s super important to check the ingredient list and to make sure that the electrolyte powder you choose doesn’t contain any artificial additives and is made from all-natural ingredients.
Cure uses a blend of natural sugar alternatives including Organic Stevia Extract and Monk Fruit that contains no calories. Stevia leaf extract is born from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant and Monk Fruit is a vine-ripened fruit native to Asia that helps round out the flavor so that there is no bitter aftertaste.
Despite the common misconception, stevia is not an artificial sweetener! In order to extract the natural sweetness of the stevia plant, its leaves are harvested, dried, and then steeped in hot water. The resulting extract mixture is then filtered, purified, and dried to create a crystalized extract which we use in our formula. Since stevia is much sweeter than sugar (about 200 times sweeter, in fact), we only need to use a very small amount in each serving of Cure.
Watch Out for Sugar
Some electrolyte powders can also contain tons of added sugar. First of all, this adds empty calories that have no nutritional benefits. This is especially true if you’re supplementing with electrolytes after working out for fitness and weight loss.
And besides that, the dangers of excess sugar are well-known. Consuming too much sugar can promote tooth decay, raise insulin levels, and even cause irritations in your body. It’s totally fine in small amounts, but you should try to avoid any excess. So, make sure that your electrolyte powder contains just the right amount of it.
To Caffeine or Not to Caffeine?
Caffeine can be a great boost to an electrolyte powder. Caffeine has been shown to boost cognition by increasing alertness and focus levels. And of course, anything that gives us more energy is good news for our workouts.
However, some electrolyte powders use synthetic caffeine to accomplish this goal. While from a chemical standpoint, natural and synthetic caffeine are the same, the truth is that caffeine in its natural form contains thousands of beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds. Synthetic caffeine leaves out all these benefits.
In addition, the amount of caffeine that some electrolyte powders have is sometimes too much and can cause you to feel jittery and to experience the dreaded “crash.” For this reason, some electrolyte powders are making the switch over to matcha powder.
Matcha is made by taking the whole green tea leaf and grinding it down into a powder. It contains huge amounts of beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants, which work to protect the body from pollution, radiation, and chemicals that we encounter on a daily basis.
Another amazing thing about matcha is its ability to reduce stress, which is thanks to the amino acid L-theanine. Buddhist monks have known about this for millennia, drinking matcha to improve focus and calmness. For this reason, matcha is great for increasing energy levels without leaving you on-edge.
So, when looking at electrolyte powders, make sure that it has the right type and amount of caffeine for you.
And Don’t Forget About the Flavor!
If you can’t fathom the thought of chugging a bottle of “Glacier Freeze” to get your daily dose of electrolytes, then flavor is something else that you should consider when choosing the best electrolyte powder for you.
This makes sense because we don’t always crave the same thing all the time. On a hot summer day, you may want a tart, citrusy drink, while on another, something more sweet and smooth may do the job. Variety is the spice of life and it may also lead to better health and wellness.
At Cure, we believe you shouldn't have to sacrifice good taste for good-for-you ingredients. Try one of our flavors today to see how tasty hydrating can be!
As you can see, there are many options that go into picking the best electrolyte powder for you. It’s important to consider not only the ratio of electrolytes, but to also make sure that your electrolyte powder is free of added sugars and artificial ingredients.And, of course, picking your favorite flavors is just as important! Just like anything that goes into your body, your electrolyte powder should work for you in every way.