We all know that it is important to drink water after exercise or any fluid loss such as sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. However, electrolytes are often overlooked but what exactly are they?
Electrolytes are minerals in our bodies responsible for maintaining fluid balance, conducting electrical activity, muscle contractions and neural impulses. Muscle cramps after exercise, sweating, diarrhea or fever are a sigh of electrolyte imbalance. It is important to constantly replenish your electrolytes before you get to the point of being depleted and experiencing symptoms. Sodium and potassium are the two major electrolytes in our body but magnesium, calcium, chloride and phosphorus are the other important ones.
Gatorade and Powerade are the two most common commercially available options. However, they are full of artificial sugars (high fructose corn syrup), brominated vegetable oil and artificial flavors and colors. This does not make them a very healthy option.
Here is a very simple and easy to make recipe at home.
The citrus fruits are naturally rich in electrolytes and lemons have the highest concentration of them. They also contain natural sugars for carbohydrates that provide you with energy. Raw honey is filled with natural enzymes and minerals. It can also provide benefit for seasonal allergies. Sea Salt is rich in trace minerals that our bodies need. Of course it has the sodium and chloride but it also contains calcium, potassium and phosphorus all depending on the waters the salt is derived from. Regular table salt does not contain these additional minerals.
Coconut water is a great source for replenishing electrolytes. It is filled with potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus (all the major electrolytes). It is also a source of B vitamins and trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur and manganese. A servicing of coconut water has all the electrolytes you need plus more to rehydrate yourself.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Okotoks and Calgary.
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