Beat the Heat
Drinking plain water is often not enough to keep us hydrated on these hot summer days or during times of exercise or illness when our bodies lose a lot of fluid through sweating. That is when you reach for a well-balanced natural electrolyte drink to replenish your body quickly and safely.
Do electrolytes matter?
Our bodies require a specific balance of electrolytes and water to survive. Electrolytes are minerals that our cells need in order for our bodies to work properly. Maintaining the correct concentrations of sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium in our bodies is essential for almost every bodily function including thinking, seeing and moving.
Our body chemistry becomes out of balance when we lose fluid, such as while sweating, during times of illness, vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. Our cells can also be thrown off balance by drinking too much plain water too quickly and diluting the electrolyte levels in our cells. A major symptom of electrolyte imbalance is muscle cramping but one can also have feelings light-headedness or being disoriented in extreme cases.
Why not just drink Gatorade?
Commercially made electrolyte or “sports” drinks are full of artificial flavors, sugars and food dyes that have been shown to pose risks including allergic reactions, cancer, hyperactivity and more. Some top brands still contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO), an ingredient that has been banned in over 100 countries altogether and is also used as a fire retardant in other industries. There has been talk of replacing BVO with a new chemical, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, but the use of this chemical has problems of its own in terms of health.
A Healthy Alternative
Creating a healthy electrolyte drink at home is easier than you might think. Let’s talk ingredients:
· Coconut water - It is one of the simplest “sports drink” alternatives and can be used by itself as “Nature’s Gatorade.” Coconut water contains extremely high levels of potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramping, more natural sources of sodium and is easily absorbed by the body. Coconut water has less sugar and contains more electrolytes than leading “sports” drinks on the market. If you are ever in a pinch and need a grab-and-go electrolyte drink, reach for coconut water.
· Lemon or Lime – Rich in Vitamin C, electrolytes and natural sugars, citrus fruits will help boost your energy during workouts and assist in healthy recovery afterwards.
· Raw Honey– It is a nutritional powerhouse. Raw honey contains natural antioxidants, enzymes, minerals such as iron, zinc and potassium, and vitamins that help replenish the body during times of stress. It provides high nutritional benefit and is easily digestible. Steer clear of commercial honey, the clear golden syrup-like honey, which is highly processed and subject to excessive heat, which destroys it’s naturally occurring beneficial components. I buy my opaque organic raw honey from my local farmer but can also be found at farmer’s markets and natural food stores.
· Celtic Sea Salt – Contains trace minerals, which helps you stay hydrated and aids in balancing the sodium potassium ratios in your cells. It contains powerful electrolytes like magnesium that can prevent muscle cramping, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, improve brain function and increase energy.
Lemon Cooler Electrolyte Drink
3 cups coconut water
1 cup filtered water
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (you can use lime instead)
¼ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
2 tablespoons raw honey (alter for personal taste)
Mix all ingredients together until the salt and honey are dissolved. Chill and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to drink. Serve cold.