We are all familiar with the soppy, sweaty feeling that comes with mowing your yard in the summer heat or exercising, whether indoors or outdoors. It leaves you feeling drained and looking to replace lost fluids.
Marketing efforts have successfully convinced people that sports drinks are the best way to replenish fluids and electrolytes, but that’s simply not the truth. Most sports drinks contain as much as 2/3 of the sugar of sodas, and also typically contain high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and food coloring, none of which contribute to optimal health.
Consuming sugar after exercise negatively affects both your insulin sensitivity and your human growth hormone production. And the high acidity of these drinks is up to 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water. Yikes!
Lest you think that choosing zero-calorie sports drinks keeps you safe, you are consuming a chemical cocktail that masks damaging ingredients behind flavor and slick marketing.
So what are the better options?
If you are exercising for 30 minutes at moderate intensity, water is the best choice to help you stay hydrated. It’s only when you are exercising for long periods at an extreme intensity, or on a very hot day, that you may need more than water to replenish your body.
In this case, coconut water is recommended as it contains an electrolyte balance that mimics that of our bodies, and is available in portable packaging for convenience.
When coconut water isn’t available, you can make your own drink with the recipe I’ve provided here. It incorporates citrus for calcium and potassium and Himalayan pink salt, which provides the proper balance of sodium chloride along with trace minerals.
When not exercising, how much water do you need?
I’m sure you’ve heard the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water daily. Do you do this?
No matter the temperature or your activity, water is essential for your survival. WATER. Not coffee, tea, or other flavored, water-based drinks. They generally do not hydrate your body.
How can you tell if you are sufficiently hydrated? Check the color of your urine. As long as you aren’t taking riboflavin (a Vitamin B2 supplement which flouresces and turns your urine bright yellow) your urine should be a very light-colored yellow. If it is a dark yellow you are likely not drinking enough water. And if you are not eliminating every few hours, that too is an indication that you aren’t drinking enough.
Answer your thirst with pure water rather than sodas, coffee, sports drinks or sugary fruit juices. Support your body with genuine hydration, especially during the heat of the summer!
Homemade Electrolyte Replacement Drink
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
Stevia or raw honey, to taste
Blend ingredients in a blender or shake up in a mason jar.
Drink chilled on ice or at room temperature.