All The Benefits Of Drinking Water With Salt On An Empty Stomach Each Morning

Photo by Renzo Navarro

Joining other wellness trends we’ve seen lately – from drinking water and apple cider vinegar to swallowing a tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach – is downing a glass of water with salt first thing each morning. We all know that drinking water is important, but experts are now suggesting that we add salt to our AM glass of H2O in order to reap various additional health benefits.

It’s a simple drink to make – most of us already have the ingredients – and it effectively “remineralises” our body, boosting energy levels and concentration in the process. Supermodel Elle Macpherson has been a fan of drinking salted water for a while, leaving a glass with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt by her bed overnight so that she can drink it as soon as she wakes up.

To make the health drink yourself, you’ll need a mineral-rich salt (a Himalayan one is ideal) or a sachet of electrolytes. Often used by professional athletes after a workout, there are now plenty of brands offering the latter in sachet form.

Jo Woodhurst, head of nutrition at Ancient + Brave, explains that electrolyte drinks have become increasingly popular in recent years as people have become more aware of the risks of dehydration, which can cause energy levels to dip, chronic headaches and inflammation. True Hydration, the brand’s supplement inspired by the natural electrolytes found in coconut water, is a cocktail of hydrating ingredients such as magnesium, potassium and chromium mixed with Himalayan salt.

What are electrolytes, and why do our bodies need them to function properly?

We all know how important it is to drink enough water, but many people are unaware that minerals with an electrical charge – ie electrolytes – also play a crucial role in hydration on a cellular level. An adult’s body is made up of around 60 per cent water, and a large percentage of that is found inside our cells, where it is used in metabolic processes. Without enough water, cells quite simply can’t function properly, and they require an electrical charge to maintain the correct balance of fluids inside and outside their membranes – a charge that electrolytes provide. Electrolytes also help power the nervous system and muscles as well as maintaining a balanced pH level and normal blood pressure.

Who should take electrolyte supplements?

The amount of electrolytes we need depends on several factors, including our activity levels, age, fluid intake and even the climate in which we live. If you fly, consume alcohol, or change up your diet, that can also lead to a loss of electrolytes which supplements can help restore. It’s recommended that we take electrolyte supplements in the morning, when there’s a chance that we’re already mildly dehydrated after a night without consuming any fluids. Of course, not all electrolyte supplements are created equal; avoid any that contain artificial sweeteners or flavourings, as well as low-quality minerals, which are harder for the body to absorb.

What happens to the body if we don’t get enough electrolytes?

If you’re dehydrated or your body is depleted of electrolytes, you can experience everything from muscle weakness to eye twitches, constipation, fatigue, irritability and brain fog. Still, although electrolytes are clearly important, it’s not necessary to add them to every glass of water you drink. Just one or two a day is great.

When is the best time of day to take an electrolyte supplement?

As mentioned, first thing in the morning is often recommended, but any point throughout the day works – especially if you’ve been doing exercise or any other activity that’s caused you to sweat.

1. Consider taking an electrolyte drink when you’re travelling, especially if you’re flying, as it can cause dehydration due to the high altitude and low humidity.

2. If you’ve been unwell and have lost a lot of fluids, you will need to replenish your body with plenty of water and electrolytes.

3. If you’ve been drinking alcohol, it’s a good idea to have a glass of electrolyte-infused water both before bed and when you wake up.

Drink water and pink Himalayan salt in the morning.

In the morning, add a pinch of salt to a glass of water and drink on an empty stomach. Finer Himalayan salt will dissolve more easily than coarser varieties.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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