The Not-So-Magic Magic Morning Cocktail For Hydration

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Okay, I can’t be the only one who has been convinced to put Himalayan salt in their morning water just because some dude on a podcast told me to.

Or lemon juice.

Or apple cider vinegar.

Before I knew it, my morning routine was a goddamn chemistry experiment.

Is all of this shit even soluble? 

But, routine it became. And I spent the first ten minutes of my day making a hydration creation to slurp down.

When I traveled, though, I didn’t follow the morning beverage concoction routine at all. I just had a glass of good ‘ol H2O.

And, I didn’t notice a difference.

So, that made me wonder, not just if it’s worth the hassle, but if it’s worth it all.

Which, if any, morning concoction ingredients are worth buying and making a part of your daily routine?

Morning Hydration Ingredient #1: Lemons

Okay, in terms of research specifically on lemon water, there isn’t much. BUT, there is a lot of research on lemons. They are, of course, a good source a vitamin C, and have been used as a remedy for scurvy since the 1700s (1). And, there’s a trove of evidence that lemons and citrus fruits have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-microbial, and anti-allergy effects, as well as presenting cardiovascular and neurological protection (2).

So, lemons are healthy. I guess you can keep putting them in your water.

Morning Hydration Lemons

Every Villian is Lemons. Or EVIL, for short.

I’ll offer one alternative, though. Lemons, or acids in general, are great for cooking. As recommended in The 4-Hour Chef, the lemon is one of the most valuable and versatile ingredients.

I prefer to use the lemon for cooking, mixing it in whenever a dish could use some acid. I put a squeeze of lemon on spinach and other greens, chicken, and fish.

So, I don’t feel the need to wrestle with squeezing lemon into my water every morning.

Plus, cutting the lemon every morning and worrying about a seed plopping into your water is just annoying.

Have you ever accidentally swallowed a lemon seed? It’s all slimy. I wouldn’t recommend it. 

The point is: lemons are great, but there are many ways to consume it. But put it in your water if you want.

Morning Hydration Ingredient #2: Himalayan Salt

Okay, let’s start with salt in general. 

If you’re an active person losing a lot of electrolytes (sodium and others) when you sweat, then you’ll need to replenish not only the lost fluids but also the lost electrolytes. A pinch of salt provides sodium, one of the main electrolytes.

This concept is how Gatorade took over the world with sugar water.. by adding some electrolytes and touting their benefits for hydration.

We need these salts for so many functions, from nerve conduction to muscle contraction (3, 4). So, you need electrolytes like sodium.

You can get them from many foods and salt, but if you’re sweating a ton (like if you workout outdoors in the heat), then you should think about getting an electrolyte mix for your water. During the start of hockey season in September, I always add in extra electrolytes. Particularly, I like Kaged Hydra-Charge over something like Gatorade which is really just sugar water with a bit of electrolytes.

But for most people who sweat a normal amount, a pinch of salt in your water and a good diet will get the job done.

Lacking electrolytes leads to hyponatremia (5). If you’re sweating a ton or drinking a ton of water (without electrolytes) then you need to add some to the mix— sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, among others.

So again, it makes sense to add a pinch of salt to your morning water intake, especially if you’re sweating a lot or drinking a ton of fluids, which will make you more likely to be deficient in electrolytes.

If you’re one of those gallon-jug guys… First of all, why? Does your workplace not have a faucet where you can refill your water bottle?

Do you really feel the need to let the whole world know you’re hydrated?

I shouldn’t be harsh, I did it myself for a few years. Actually, I took it to the next level: I used a half-gallon hydro flask (they didn’t have the gallon one back then).

When filled, it doubled as a self-defense weapon I could swing around.

I invested in the giant Hydro Flask for a simple reason: drinking out of plastic is bad. So I invested in a mammoth water bottle. I don’t regret it, but it sums up the kind of guy I was in high school (a loser who only cares about fitness, is what I mean).

Anyways. If you insist on doing the gallon-water thing, be sure to replenish electrolytes because you’re peeing them out every ten minutes. So, add a pinch of salt now and then. 

Why Himalayan salt? What’s so special about it? It’s pink, so that’s cool.

The main argument in favor of Himalayan salt is that it goes through very little processing, unlike table salt. So, it may contain more trace minerals. I haven’t seen any convincing research on it, though. I prefer the taste of Himalayan salt, and I use it in my meals in place of table salt.

If it happens to have some more minerals, then that’s cool too. Although I think any high-quality sea salt or Himalayan salt will get the job done. Just don’t take the McDonalds salt packets and put them in your water.

Man, okay, this Aubrey guy knows what he’s talking about.

Morning Hydration Ingredient #3: Apple Cider Vinegar

I got turned on to ACV by some health person telling me it would make me live forever or something, and I continued to use it because it tastes better than regular vinegar.

So for culinary purposes, I’m a Bragg apple cider vinegar guy through and through. I’m a big fan of ACV in my salads. It’s a sugar-free, delicious dressing.

In terms of actual research, though, we don’t know much about apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Vinegar has some emerging research that it improves insulin sensitivity (6), and can lower cholesterol levels (7), but there isn’t much specifically about apple cider vinegar, despite the myriad miracle claims.

All reports of increased digestion, for example, appear to be anecdotal. Where is not to say they’re invalid, but they’re individual reports rather than controlled research.

Just because it comes from apples, doesn’t mean it’s better.

What Should I Drink in the Morning?

Yes, putting all of this in a glass of water and drinking it in the morning might support your overall wellness. But, there’s nothing magical about any of them, and there’s no reason you can’t just mix them into your diet. So do it if you want to and you like having it as part of your morning routine.

But if you don’t, you probably won’t die any younger.

Personally, I’ll just stick with water. Sometimes I follow it with one of my favorite greens powders.


About the Author

David William Rosales is a writer and strength coach. He's the head trainer and editor at Roman Fitness Systems. In addition to helping run RFS, he's also the head editor for, the official website of the Strength and Conditioning Association of Professional Hockey. You can also check out his Instagram, he's pretty easy on the eyes.

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