We can lose salt when we go to the loo, but a lot of salt is actually lost through sweat.
Did you ever lick your arm as a kid because you discovered it tasted salty?!
Even on a cold day everyone sweats to some degree. Obviously sweat rate increases quite a lot in hot weather, when you’re exercising, relaxing in a steam room or sauna or are nervous. Women going through menopause also frequently report hot flushes and excess sweating, especially at night time.
The issue I have with most sports rehydration drinks is that they’re usually pretty much fizzy pop with added electrolytes – a selection of certain minerals. For endurance athletes and people doing exercise lasting more than 90 minutes such as a long run or bike ride, it is preferable to have some carbohydrates too, which is where sugary sports drinks have their place. For people wanting to burn fat and tone up using The Fit Mum Formula recommended methods then unless you’re really love it, long distance exercise won’t really come into your programme, so you can skip the sugary sports drinks.
Water alone isn’t enough to hydrate. You need something for the water to hold on to. Carbohydrates hold onto water, which is why people on a low carb diet often get dehydrates faster (and so need other things like electrolyte minerals), and will notice a jump in scale weight after eating more carbs one day – they’re holding onto more water than usual.
And this is why the first two weeks on a very low carb diet often result in dramatic weight loss as water leaves the body.
This isn’t to suggest that’s the only reason low carb diets make people lose weight – they’re very effective for many reasons I won’t go into here. But the first week or two will often be mostly water loss.
The other thing that hold onto water are electrolyte minerals. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium are all electrolytes, and between them work together to regulate fluid balance in your body, both keeping ‘enough’ in and letting any excess out.
Electrolytes also have other purposes such as helping nerves and muscles function properly, and low levels of these minerals will impede exercise performance, so you don’t get as much as you could from your workouts.
Of course these benefits are not exclusive to Elete; any half decent rehydration solution will help, whether that’s a sports drink, rehydration salts (the type you take when you’ve got the runs), or simply adding quality sea or Himalayan salt to your food.
Salt has been put under the ‘bad’ food list for some time, but this is oversimplifying things.
For health, and for correct hydration, nerve and muscle functioning amongst other things, you need the correct balance of all the electrolyte minerals. But the problem really comes from people eating too much sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt, which most people use at home and is added to processed foods for flavour and as a preservative.
Even everyday items like bread and cereal have added salt, so you can see how easy it is to get too much sodium chloride without the other minerals to balance them out.
Not everybody needs extra electrolytes of course – if you already get enough in your diet to cover your needs and you hydrate well. But for people who eat a minimally processed, lower carb diet, who also exercise, and in hot weather, adding in some could be beneficial and make you feel generally better.
Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes too, for the record.
So there are more ways than one to skin a cat, so to speak.
Elete offers a natural alternative in a convenient dropper bottle that mixes well, and hydrates efficiently.
I’m a perfect candidate to experiment with hydration methods. I have low blood pressure, which will be lower if I’m dehydrated due to less fluid in my body and blood circulation system. I also eat a fairly low carb diet so water won’t get held in as much. And because I eat minimally processed, natural whole foods which haven’t got added salt, I won’t be getting my salt quota there either. I am always thirsty, especially if I’m stressed out (this makes you pee more, I won’t go into why here but next time you’re having a stressful day notice how much you’re on the loo!), yet liquids seem to go right through me and the more I drink the more I wee!
The answer is that I actually need more salt in my diet. But I get this by adding quality Pink Himalayan salt which has a good balance of minerals, as opposed to cheap table salt which is just sodium chloride, as I talked about earlier.
So while I had the bottles I used this instead. To be honest I wasn’t super strict about measuring. I know how I feel and I know if I’m needing more salt so I just used it as and when.
A few drops in a smoothie or any other drink (though flavoured was better as you can taste it in plain water).
It made a rooibos tea taste like salted caramel!
I also flavoured food with it both while cooking and afterwards for taste – there’s nothing like broccoli with salt, seriously try it.
I was interested to try Elete on my 7 year old when I was asked for feedback on use with kids. Just to clarify it’s 100 % natural – just salt water essentially, though very high quality and purified. So even if it did nothing at the very least it wouldn’t hurt them.
Aurora (7) is, and always has been, an impossible drinker. She just doesn’t seem to get thirsty! If I don’t force her, she won’t drink, which has become somewhat of a challenge since she started school.
As a result she sometimes wets the bed, likely due to her bladder never being ‘worked’ enough, so I was hoping the extra salt might make her more thirsty and that she would drink more.
She only drank it in juice as the taste came through in squash, but since I never buy juice (it was a one off purchase by hubby) when that ran out I put it on her food instead, alongside trying to get the liquids in.
A great benefit of Elete over sports drinks is the lack of calories. At 236 calories in a bottle of Lucozade, having a calorie free option is definitely preferable if your goal is weight loss. The other thing I liked is how easy it is to use. The dropper bottle makes it super easy to dose correctly (5ml/day recommended), and mix into liquids, unlike granulated salts and powders which can settle at the bottom of the cup.
It tastes of, well, salt water, because essentially that’s what it is – purified natural sea water with naturally occurring electrolyte minerals. This is actually a pro and a con depending on the context. If you like the taste of salt on your food, this is a better (healthier) alternative too table salt, with a more complete range of minerals than table salt. On the other hand if you’re adding it to water or a very mild tasting drink the salty tasty may come through, which won’t be preferable for some people. Personally I don’t mind it at all but it won’t be for everyone – in which case I’d advise only adding it to stronger tasting drinks or food.
Many people will never need hydration drinks. But for those who do (sweat a lot, exercise in heat, low blood pressure etc) then I would choose a totally natural option like Elete Holistic Hydrate over sugary and artificial sports drinks any day. The only time this would be difficult is in a race situation where you grab drinks on route as you can only carry so much, and drinking anything is preferable in that context.
I did find it helped hydrate me, which in turn helps me concentrate and stops headaches coming on. I’m not sure how different it was to using Himalayan salt in terms of effectiveness but the little dropper bottles are certainly convenient.
As for Aurora, well salty things always seem to make kids eat more – ketchup, soy sauce etc, so whilst children don’t need lots of added salt (especially babies who’s kidneys aren’t equipped for it), my kids very rarely eat processed children’s food so get less salt than many children.
As for the mineral content (remember it isn’t just sodium in Elete), it certainly is a convenient way to top up essential electrolyte minerals. We all eat a very healthy diet in our house (of course – I’m in charge!), but as someone who exercises my needs are definitely higher than a sedentary person, so it’s good to know that Elete was going towards helping me perform and recover well after workouts.
It didn’t stop the bed wetting sadly, but it was a long shot and I was just a stab in the dark at what effect I may ‘see’, since it’s hard to gauge if and how kids are different without carrying out a proper study.
Unfortunately Elete are no longer trading but I have something even better – this complete electrolyte drink from Awesome Supplements; get 5% off with code POLLYHALE05