Does this sound familiar? You eat a healthy and balanced diet 99% of the time, with a ton of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You cook this food at home most of the time to make sure you can control the amount of oils and salt being used. You have a regular exercise routine that gets you sweating almost every day, get into an infrared sauna regularly, and love hiking on the weekends to get the benefits of spending time in nature. You try to remember to drink enough water throughout the day. But while you generally feel great and can run after your kids with ease, there are days where you just don’t feel like yourself.
Frustrating, right? Healthy habits for optimal health can sometimes be a bit tricky. It turns out that if you eat a low-sodium diet, maybe have even decided bananas have too much sugar, and get a regular sweat sesh in, chances are you may be mildly dehydrated. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can (1-2% water loss, a deficit that can result from a 30 min run or hour long hike) impact cognitive performance and mental health.
5 Ways Mild Dehydration Can Impact Cognitive Performance
01 Difficulty Concentrating | If you’re not properly hydrated and maintaining an adequate supply of all the electrolytes required for your brain and nervous system to function optimally, it can be physiologically challenging to maintain focus. Studies have shown even mild dehydration can affect our ability to concentrate.
02 Brain Fog | Healthy hydration and fluid balance are key in optimizing neural pathways, so you can end up feeling a bit off even in a state of mild dehydration.
03 Headaches | You’re probably already familiar with dehydration headaches, but it’s good to note that it doesn’t take an extreme case to feel a dull ache when your fluid balance is out of whack.
04 Mood Swings | There’s no way of discussing cognitive health without also considering the impacts on mental health. Studies have showcased a correlation between mood and electrolyte deficiency, including magnesium and potassium.
05 Making Silly Mistakes | Finding more typos in your emails or little errors in your work that surprise you? “I know better!” Studies have also shown that mild dehydration can impact executive function.
Water is only half the story of proper hydration, it’s also about maintaining fluid balance. One way to ensure your body is getting all the hydration it needs for optimal brain function is consuming adequate amounts of electrolytes in your diet.
The Relationship Between Cognitive Health And Electrolytes
You’re losing electrolytes all the time, it’s part of how our body manages the fluid balance of all its systems. You lose them through sweat, urine, respiration—and mainly sodium—but staying sharp demands that you replenish them.
Fundamentally, electrolytes are substances that conduct an electrical current in solution. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are key electrolytes for your nervous system and cognitive health: sodium and potassium ions are essential for nerve impulses and magnesium ions support the relaxation of muscle tissue and modulate electrical potential across cells. Not to mention their role in maintaining homeostasis in fluid balance.
For our brain and nervous system to carry out essential functions optimally, these electrolytes are pretty key.
This Salted Chocolate Warmer Is Our Go-To Autumn Hydration Strategy
As temps dip we’re looking for warm mugs of cocoa and chai to keep us cozy, so we love adding LMNT’s Chocolate Salt to get the added boost of electrolytes. This easy Chocolate Chai recipe is our afternoon mug of choice from fall to winter.
1 stick pack LMNT Chocolate Salt
1 tbsp loose leaf chai tea (or 1 packet chai tea)
12–14 oz hot water
2 oz milk of choice
garnish with ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
1) Steep tea normally in hot water.
2) Add milk and Chocolate Salt, then stir.
3) Garnish with ground cinnamon, and enjoy!
We’re obsessed with LMNT for being a thirst-quenching, cognitive-health supporting, and science-backed blend of electrolytes, not sugar (or any of the junk often seen in powdered drinks). One stick of LMNT contains a balancing: 1000mg of sodium, 200mg of potassium, 60mg of magnesium.
Try LMNT Chocolate Salt this fall and get 8 single-serving packets FREE with your order. The best part? You can try LMNT completely risk-free. If you don’t like it, share it with a friend and get your money back, no questions asked.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This story is brought to you in partnership with LMNT. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.