When you think of hydration, your mind probably thinks of water, but did you know that milk is actually made up of 85% water? A new study from Scotland’s St. Andrews University found milk to be even more hydrating than plain water due to its nutrient-rich composition.
Milk naturally has nutrients that make it better for keeping you hydrated for longer. Research shows that while water does a pretty good job at hydrating the body quickly, the addition of fat, protein and a little bit of sugar found naturally in milk does an even better job of keeping you hydrated. These nutrients help slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach, keeping the body hydrated over a longer period of time.
Electrolytes and Hydration
Electrolytes—such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate and magnesium—are important for a variety of reasons that impact hydration. This includes moving nutrients into your cells; helping your nerves, muscles, heart and brain work the way they should; and balancing the amount of water in your body.
Water is hydrating, but it doesn’t include electrolytes and while sports drinks have become increasingly popular, you’ll find added sugar along with your added electrolytes. Milk is a great natural source of electrolytes. Every glass of milk contains calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. All of which serve in helping hydrate the body. Sodium, for example, helps hold water in the body longer, which is one of the key ways milk is able to help keep you hydrated over a longer period of time.
Hydration for an Active Lifestyle
In addition to being hydrating, milk also contains an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to proteins that helps your body to refuel after exercise.
Milk’s ability to rehydrate and refuel has been recognized by many organizations including the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA). For the past decade, they have encouraged student-athletes to refuel with low-fat chocolate milk because of its nutrient-density with 9 essential nutrients—including electrolytes, 8g of protein, and composition of 85% water for rehydrating.
Overall, milk naturally contains nutrients and electrolytes that make it more hydrating than plain water and a key beverage especially post-exercise to recuperate what your body sweats out.
So the next time you reach for something to hydrate and quench your thirst, opt for a cool glass of milk, or chocolate milk!