Sports drinks are everywhere, over the past few decades they have become the drinks of choice for most athletes and people alike. People drink them because they help regulate a diversity of one’s body’s important functions, including your heart. These minerals conduct an electrical charge when they are mixed with water.
Sodium is one of the primary electrolytes that your body needs in order to perform well. Other complimentary minerals it needs are magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, bicarbonate, and chloride. Find out about these nutrients here.
It is essential that we get the right number of electrolytes into our systems regularly. If levels become too low or too high, you can have serious health difficulties. The levels usually fluctuate due to different reasons such as sweating or if you are sick to your stomach and get diarrhoea or a bout of vomiting, where you would typically lose quite a bit of fluids. In which case a mineral-rich lifestyle can be vastly beneficial.
One way of replacing this lost fluid is through drinks that have electrolytes in them. Some examples are:
Coconut Water: The clear liquid that we find inside a coconut has countless benefits to our bodies and one of them is its full of natural electrolytes. Decades ago, we had to go to the beach to look for coconuts, but nowadays it is bottled and found in almost every grocery store. It is also much healthier than canned sodas for instance.
Smoothies: Another popular choice for most people and the best way to incorporate electrolytes into your diet. Wholefoods that contain electrolytes include, nuts, fruits, seeds, dairy, legumes and all of these can be blended into a smoothie very easily. For some people with stomach issues like a bug or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), a smoothie can be much easier to digest than solid foods. They are also good post work out drinks, but not during work outs as it may make you feel too full.
Milk / Dairy Products: Milk is one of those underrated drinks that is not known to be popular in the category of electrolytes. However, it has a rich supply of them because it includes all those essential minerals as mentioned above – calcium, potassium and sodium. It is also chock full of healthy protein and carbohydrates which helps to refuel us for work outs or as a daily supplement. Some people can’t handle full-cream milk, so there are options of skim-milk and lactose-free milk or fat free milk that can have the same benefits. If you opt for plant-based variety, do keep in mind it will not have as many electrolytes as normal milk, however the protein in soy milk aids recovery.
Electrolyte-infused water: These can be a great pick-me-up and are found in almost every retail store worldwide http://www.drinkgt.com However it is good to point out that not all are created equally. Some brands are packed with artificial ingredients and tons of sugar. It is advisable to look for the plant-based variety that has only natural ingredients in it and no ‘fillers.’ No matter how attractive the bottle may look, it is always best to read the ingredients list to make sure you are not filling your body with artificial chemicals. Look for sugar-free brands that have added electrolytes and a higher quality of minerals in them.
Fruit Juice or Watermelon Juice: Watermelon is one of the few juices that provides small amounts of electrolytes from minerals like magnesium and potassium. Some studies, found that it also has an ingredient called L-citrulline which is an amino acid favoured for enhancing the transportation of oxygen in the body, thus promoting athletic performance significantly. Other varieties of fruit juices that also helped were cherry juice and orange juice, which also contain similar minerals (phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.)
It is good to remember that sodium is an important ingredient in electrolyte drinks, so if you try to replenish your fluids with a drink that does not contain any sodium in it, like fruit juices, it will not benefit you in any way. In addition, fruit juices are high in sugar. A lot of people make their own drinks by adding salt to water. To avoid any complications, tackle the early signs of dehydration by drinking clear beverages on a regularly basis.