What Are the Benefits of Drinking Salt Water?
It may surprise you to learn that drinking salt water has lately become a fad. It’s believed that salt water provides various health benefits that you don’t get by drinking regular water alone.
Let’s explore some of the supposed benefits of drinking salt water regularly. To be fair, we’ll also examine a few drawbacks as well. By the time we finish, you’ll know the pros and cons of drinking salt water daily.
The benefits of drinking salt water
When you drink salt water, it seems you’ll get most of the benefits that come with drinking regular tap water, plus some. After all, consuming any water should help replace bodily fluids lost over the course of the day, thus boosting hydration. Additionally, there are a few theorized health benefits that specifically come with drinking salt water.
Drink salt water to replace lost sodium
Sodium is considered one of the essential electrolytes. While electrolytes generally help the body function, sodium is especially important for muscle and nerve functions. It plays an integral role in ensuring muscles contract and relax, your neurons fire, and even help regulate your bodily fluid balance.
The thing with salt water is that it contains a relatively high percentage of sodium. You don’t tend to get this in regular drinking water, which is one of the reasons some people think to start drinking salt water in the first place. The goal is to replenish sodium stores, which can often become depleted, especially if you sweat a lot during exercise. By giving your body both water and sodium, it can be said that salt water is better for hydration than a standard glass of water.
Drink salt water for aid digestion
Salt water consumption and digestion can be very closely linked. When we digest food, the process begins in the mouth. It starts with your saliva breaking down the food, thus making it easier for the rest of your digestive system to handle. Upon consumption, salt water may trigger your salivary glands so that they produce more saliva. This helps the entire digestive process as a result.
Furthermore, natural salts like sodium chloride are shown to help aid the production and function of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid). Drinking salt water can help stimulate the acid in your stomach, allowing it to break down the food you’ve eaten. A study from 2012 indicated that a lack of stomach acid tends to lead to digestive issues and bloating. Consequently, this can also create acid reflux: undigested food begins to produce excess gases that create additional acid in the stomach, which bubbles up into the esophagus and leads to the horrible heartburn feeling.
By drinking salt water, you can prevent all of this by allowing your stomach to function as it should. The salt helps the stomach acid chemically digest food, which makes it easier to deal with foods that can be tough to digest, which should overall decrease the development or incidence of stomach problems.
Flush out toxins by drinking salt water
In general, drinking water helps rid your body of harmful toxins. But salt water takes this theory to new heights. Yes, drinking water will mean you need to urinate more, which is how a lot of the toxins are removed. But let’s refer back to the point above about salt water and digestion. By improving your digestive system, drinking salt water can allow for more frequent bowel movements. As a consequence, this means even more things can be flushed out of your system.
Many people will drink salt water purely for this reason. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘salt water flush’ because you’re trying to flush out as much bad stuff from your body as possible.
The drawbacks of drinking salt water
In theory drinking salt water may have a variety of health benefits. But, what are the main disadvantages?
Drinking salt water can cause diarrhea
As alluded to in the last point, drinking salt water can make you evacuate your bowels frequently. The downside of this is that you can easily give yourself diarrhea if you frequently drink salt water. Having a healthy amount of sodium in your body is fine, but too much becomes a problem. It causes intestinal issues that lead to diarrhea, which in turn often causes dehydration due to a sudden and substantial loss of fluids.
This brings us to the main problem with the salt water fad: it’s really difficult to self-diagnose and determine exactly how much salt your body actually needs on any given day. Even if you have that figured out, it’s quite tricky measuring it exactly into a glass of water.
As such, drinking something like Hydrant is a better option as you get a specific dose of sodium in every glass. With one packet of Hydrant, you can mindlessly regulate how much you ingest. Or you can keep doing your own chemistry math to determine the specific amounts of sodium chloride your body needs. Up to you.
Drinking salt water lacks other minerals & nutrients
While drinking salt water may be better at hydrating you than drinking normal water, it still falls short of optimal hydration. Some electrolytes aren’t present in salt water. In fact, by drinking salt water you’re only replenishing sodium chloride, and not any of the other essential electrolytes.
Hydrant can also counter this issue. Every Hydrant pack is packed full of minerals and nutrients that your body actually needs. It won’t just restore your sodium balance, it will also restore your other essential electrolytes as well. Proper hydration isn’t just about the right amount of water. Proper hydration is also about the right amount of electrolytes.
Drinking salt water is disgusting
Perhaps the most obvious drawback of drinking salt water is that it tastes horrible. If you’ve ever accidentally swallowed seawater, then you’ll know how terrible it can taste. It’s not the type of drink you want to consume multiple times per day. If you’re attempting the salt water trend, you won’t see any of the expected results with only one small glass a day. And suffering through several horrible glasses a day hardly seems worth the theorized benefits.
This is yet another reason why Hydrant is the perfect alternative. It’s not a fad, it’s a proven product.
With Hydrant you get a safe dose of sodium (the main reason to drink salt water in the first place!) and a delicious lime or grapefruit flavor. Hydrant is tasty enough to drink regularly—an important factor if you intend to see healthy results.
Drinking salt water potentially causes kidney damage
Homemade glasses of salt water almost always contain too much salt. And too much salt almost always leads to health problems, kidney damage being notable among them. Of course your body does need a bit of salt to help it function as it should. But too much salt can be damaging very quickly. Everything in moderation.
The majority of your foods already contain sufficient levels of salt, which means you’re likely meeting your daily nutritional sodium need through diet alone. If you add salt water to the mix, then you end up with too much in your body. As a result, your kidneys may become overwhelmed with trying to process all the added salt, potentially causing kidney damage.
Conclusion: Should you drink salt water?
The salt water fad seems to hold some water: theoretically, it can help with hydration, aid digestion, and flush out toxins. In reality, however, even a single glass of homemade salt water can take things too far and cause stomach issues that lead to diarrhea, as well as problems with your kidneys. Not to mention the horrible taste. There’s just too much salt in a glass of salt water - and there are better options available.
Hydrant is a carefully constructed powder that easily mixes with your drinking water. A single packet of Hydrant provides a safe amount of sodium, which provides your body with the main benefits of salt water, but without the potential health risks. Plus, Hydrant contains extra electrolytes and natural flavorings, so it hydrates you better and tastes better. If you want to get more out of your regular drinking water, don’t add salt, add Hydrant.
Other stories about hydration
If you want to read more about the science of hydration, click here.