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The Importance of Hydration and Electrolytes

*Disclaimer: I realize that unfortunately there are people in our community who may not have the resources available to them to have access to proper nutritious and helpful foods. There are also people who, although they have the financial capacity to acquire nutritious foods, may see food in general as a stressor or a trigger for unpleasant reactions or thoughts.

Please see this series as simply a guide to be observed as just that. You are not a failure if you cannot or do not make these suggestions a part of your life.

Simply continue to do the best that you can manage every day. That is enough.**

Water is a funny thing. It's part of us, it's all around us, and it's a large part of fruits, vegetables, and many prepared foods. It's such an important and necessary element for life and yet I would venture a guess to say that most of us are dehydrated more often than not.

As mentioned briefly in a previous article, when our body sends signals to our brain to tell us that we are in need of water, the brain misinterprets that need to us as a hunger signal. That is why it is often recommended to pause a moment before having a snack or begin preparing your dinner to drink a large glass of water and wait a moment to see if the hunger was really thirst.

This is a practice that I am not very good at! However, it is something I am aware of, and just often choose to ignore because I would rather have a tasty snack. But after doing this for a couple of days in a row, my body makes me very aware that I am dehydrated.

Does this look familiar to you? Unfortunately, I think it is all too real for many people right now. Our screen time is at an all-time high with no real end in sight in the next few months. without proper self-care throughout the workday, our brains can become overstimulated and fatigued. Part of that self-care is staying hydrated. Dehydration is known to cause headaches and brain fog. You add in 8 hours of zoom calls, school lectures, and project work on top of that and that's a really bad time. If you aren't giving your brain and your body as a whole the best chance to function at an optimum level, then you may find some mental health symptoms getting worse. A personal example would be that when looking back at a week when I realize I was probably dehydrated for most of it, I could see that my motivation was low or non-existent, which is a big trigger for my depression and anxiety. The self-talk and thoughts I had were very guilt-laden and empty of worth. This is not to say if I drink my 8 glasses a day that I'm super motivated all the time and my anxiety and depression are gone. It's just something that I can easily do to get me off on the right foot. We know that some days we just wake up and we know it's going to be a down day. But if we can have some good habits in place no matter what, we can maybe bounce back just a little sooner.

Along the lines of hydration, I wanted to touch on the electrolytes and the role they play in it our overall hydration and efficiency of absorption.

  • So what are electrolytes and what do they do?

Without getting too technical, electrolytes are minerals in our body with an electric charge that help balance the amount of water that we have in our body. They also help with balancing our pH level, moving nutrients into and waste out of our cells, and a big one is ensuring that our muscles, nerves, heart, and brain all function the way they should.

  • Ok, but how do I make sure I'm getting them?

Take a look at this simple chart I made with the main electrolytes and some (not all) foods where we can find them:

There are also a wide variety of powdered electrolyte supplements available at almost any grocery store in the supplement/ health food section. I encourage you to start finding ways of getting a variety of electrolytes and nutrients from the foods you eat!

As we've come to the end of this first series of Nutrition and Mental Health, I hope you have been encouraged and challenged to take a look at what you are putting in your body and how that may and can affect your mental state and health overall.

Until next time,

Wishing you health and peace,


© 2021 Go With Goals

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1 commento

Great Article Angela!

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