French Onion Soup Is A Hydration Blessing In Disguise

Staying hydrated is important — drinking enough water can help keep organs in working order, support skin health, aid sleep, and improve memory, among other benefits, says CNN. But, sometimes it's hard to drink enough water every day due to busy schedules or simply because it doesn't offer the taste you're craving. If water doesn't do the trick, there are other ways — many foods are naturally hydrating, too.

That comes as great news for soup lovers, since a simple bowl of French onion soup is one way to boost your hydration game. That's right, the savory, broth-based dish contains water and electrolytes — nutrients that are essential to helping bodies function properly.

Broth-based soups such as French onion soup, or even chicken noodle help replenish fluids since they are so rich in water content (one of the reasons why eating chicken noodle soup when you're sick is so nourishing). French onion soup also has added nutrients and electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which help the body to function at its prime.

Why French onion soup is so hydrating

French onion soup is a cozy concoction composed of thinly-sliced onions and garlic that are caramelized in olive oil and butter. These ingredients are then slowly simmered in a savory bath of beef stock, red wine, salt, and pepper. Next, baguette slices are toasted, tucked into oven-safe ramekins, then covered up with the soul-soothing soup. The final touch is a blanket of Gruyère cheese that's broiled to a state of dreamy melted goodness over the top of the bowl.

Ingredients and measurements will vary from one recipe to another, but there are always consistent components that all contribute notable amounts of minerals and vitamins to the meal; namely, onions, garlic, bone stock, wine, salt, butter, and cheese. The heavy hitters are onions, which are packed with potassium; butter and cheese that contribute calcium, sodium, and magnesium; and bone broth or stock that adds additional sodium and high water content.

Not only are these essential minerals, but sodium, potassium, and calcium are natural electrolytes. These compounds act as managers. They tell water where to go in the body to keep things in working order. Sodium also keeps fluids balanced, and potassium works alongside it to prevent muscle cramps. Calcium wears many hats, helping to regulate heart rhythm and muscle contractions. Magnesium can also relax muscles between contractions, which is why electrolytes are good during athletic activity, says Nuun.

Why electrolytes are essential to good health

Electrolytes like those found in the ingredients in French onion soup impact our muscles, tissues, and nerves — all the way down to the cellular level, says Medical News Today. Everyone needs electrolytes, but athletes, nursing moms, and anyone with any kind of illness should pay special attention to hydration levels to ensure they're properly replenishing nutrients without overdoing (or undergoing) it. Taking in too many or too few electrolytes may lead to imbalances that could leave us feeling weak, forgetful, dizzy, and confused. If left untreated, electrolyte imbalances might even lead to serious health problems.

Sodium, calcium, and other electrolytes are lost whenever water leaves the body, whether through sweating, crying, urination, and other bodily functions, the National Institutes of Health states. In addition to these, certain medications and genetic conditions also contribute to mineral imbalances.

To get things back in order, we need to consume drinks and foods that contain these crucial nutrients. The easiest, quickest, and tastiest way to do this is to choose dishes you like that contain a mixture of water and all these essential minerals — such as a hot bowl of delicious French onion soup.