What are electrolytes and why should I care?

Does your fitness instructor tell you to drink lots of water? Remember the last time you got the squits and had to drink that powder in water to refuel your electrolytes?  Yeah, we’ve all been there.

 

Do you actually know what any of this is and why you need to drink it?

 

Well, electrolytes and Iso-tonic drinks are not the same thing, although sports drinks do have sodium in them. And it’s fair to say that unless you’re running a marathon, playing a football match or doing a heavy 1 hour in the sun basketball match you don’t really need a sports drink. Most sports drinks are full of sugars and you don’t need all those extra calories.

 

So do I need electrolytes then? Yes, and you get them in your food is you eat a balanced diet. Most people don’t need an extra top-up, but in this heat, with all this sweat, why not get some extra in. And especially if you’re going to the gym, going to hot yoga or any other sports where you get sweaty-wetty.

 

So, what are they then?

 

Electrolytes are essentially  minerals. These minerals are essential for our survival.

 

Examples of electrolytes include:

  • calcium
  • chloride
  • magnesium
  • phosphate
  • potassium
  • sodium

 

Electrolytes take on a positive or negative charge when they dissolve in your body fluid. This enables them to conduct electricity and move electrical charges or signals throughout your body. These charges are crucial to many functions that keep you alive, including the operation of your brain, nerves, and muscles, and the creation of new tissue.

 

What happens when you lose electrolytes?

 

The body loses electrolytes through sweat. And boy are we sweating in Berlin this summer. The more sweaty you are, the more you’re losing. The more you exercise, the more you lose. And they need to be replaced.

 

Can I lose too many?

 

Yes, you can! You probably won’t unless you’re seriously shitting, vomiting, not eating and just sweating, but you absolutely can and you should be aware of it.

 

Electrolyte disorders are most often caused by a loss of bodily fluids through prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating.

 

Anyone can develop an electrolyte disorder. Certain people are more at risk because of their medical history. Conditions that increase risk for an electrolyte disorder include:

 

Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance vary depending on which electrolytes are most affected. Common symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • lethargy
  • fluid retention

 

So, where do I get electrolytes from then?

 

Don’t go for gatorade, lucozade, iso-drinks. They’re full of sugars that you don’t really need. You can make the drinks yourself and eat foods with the minerals and salts you need.

You need glucose and aminos to effectively absorb sodium, hence the fruit and honey.

 

Benefits of making your own electrolyte drink

 

  • Save money
  • Natural ingredients
  • Choice of flavours

 

So, here are some lovely recipes and ideas – you can of course go wild and make up your own recipe, but from the recipes below, you will see the general gist of it. Fluid, salt a sugar and fruit juice.

So, include some fruits that have glucose in them like

Banana, Grapes, Dates, Apples, Oranges. Honey and Maple Syrup also has glucose 🙂

Go nuts – let me know how it goes.x

 

Lemon-pomegranate electrolyte drink recipe

  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Additional options: powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs

 

Directions: Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Pour into a container, chill, and serve!

 

Lemon-Lime Electrolyte Drink

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 1/8 tsp. of salt
  • One mashed date/Tablespoon of honey/Maple Syrup
  • Additional options: powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs

Directions:  Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend the mixture until the honey is dissolved.  Chill and serve cold.

 

Coconut & Lime Sports Drink

  • 3 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup water (or more, based on how strong you prefer the flavor to be)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon is delicious too!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt or real salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup/honey
  • Additional options: powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs

 

Directions: Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Pour into a container, chill, and serve!

 

Coconut and Strawberry Drink

  • 3 cups of coconut water
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of fresh water
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup/honey
  • Additional options: powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs

 

Directions:  Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend the mixture until the honey is dissolved.  Chill and serve cold.

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