Have you heard about sole? Pronounced "so-lay," it's a heavily saline blend of water and salt—and for some in the wellness community, it's the next drink you'll want to know about. Here, Well+Good Council member and toxic-exposure expert Sophia Gushée shares her experience drinking sole for a week—including a few surprises she hadn't planned for.
Ever since I first heard about drinking water that’s been saturated in salt (AKA sole)—a topic that's been buzzed about in wellness circles for years—I've been intrigued. To make sole, you cover the bottom of a jar with Himalayan pink sea salt or gray Atlantic salt, fill the jar up, and let the concoction sit overnight so that it's ready to drink in the morning. Yep, it's that simple.
The drink got a big boost back in 2005, when Water and Salt: The Essence of Life was published. Since then, sole has developed its own legion of devotees; they say that its mineral content can help everything from hydration to detoxification to digestion and beyond. They advise drinking it on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, for best results.
So a few months ago, I decided to add a glass to my a.m. routine. (My general practitioner approved the increased salt intake; I have low blood pressure and no health issues that would be threatened by sole. Checking with your physician is a good idea, too.) It was a challenging time because it was December, which meant my usual day-to-day patterns were a bit thrown off to begin with. Frequent holiday parties led to eating more unhealthy foods and drinks than I’m used to, which led to more disrupted sleep. This wasn’t the best baseline from which to observe health benefits from drinking sole, but still, I noticed some changes.
Here are five key things I learned from drinking sole.
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1. I became more mindful
My intention of drinking sole water first thing in the morning made me more mindful than usual about what I was eating, drinking, and my general self-care. In the end, I still enjoyed indulgences (I mentioned it was the holiday season, right?), but I was more moderate than I would have been otherwise.
2. I had more get-up-and-go
When I remembered to drink sole shortly after waking up, I enjoyed more vibrant energy for the rest of the morning.
3. I suddenly craved sole
When my stomach started to rumble for more food—like, a few hours after lunch—I started to crave sole. These cravings got me curious. After doing some reading and asking around, I found that some sole drinkers believe that salt is a cue for your salivary glands, getting your body ready to break down what you ingest so that you can absorb more nutrients. There isn't scientific research to back up this claim, but the idea is intriguing.
4. My sleep patterns changed
Thanks to holiday craziness, I began having sleep problems. I started waking up around 2 a.m. and couldn’t fall asleep until 5:30 a.m. After the third night of this happening (too much wine!), I noticed that I was craving sole during these sleepless hours. This craving inspired me to research why. Turns out, sodium can reportedly relieve stress hormones and soothe your nervous system for sleep.
I don’t usually want to sleep at bedtime or when I wake up in the middle of the night. (I’m too excited to do other things!) But after drinking sole, I happily dozed off. The combination of relaxation and contentment for sleep is rare for me. Lesson learned: Drink less wine, have more sole.
5. Sole helped improve my skin
Since experimenting with sole, people have been commenting on how good my skin looks. This may be due to the various ways that its rich mineral content may improve your skin, hair, nails, and even your body’s alkalinity. But good sleep definitely helps, too.
Did sole make a big difference? I can't say for sure why my energy, sleep, and skin improved. Maybe it was behavioral, maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was the sole. As we each have unique biochemistries, we will each have different experiences with drinking sole. But sole is now a cherished part of my routine—because I'm feeling too good to risk giving it up.
Sophia Gushée is a sought-after toxic exposures expert, author of A to Z of D-Toxing, and founder of Practical Nontoxic Living, a multimedia company that produces podcasts and is incubating the D-Tox Academy, an online portal to make practical nontoxic living simple and accessible.
What should Sophia write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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