When I started getting into high-intensity physical activities as well as hot yoga, I learned more about the importance of electrolytes and knowing how to replenish them. Unfortunately, many people often go straight to energy drinks like Gatorade or energy bars, which may include electrolytes, but they have so many more awful ingredients in them. The sugar is usually incredibly high, as well as the sodium, and they use a ton of artificial ingredients and colors (Quite apparent by the fluorescent colors). It is not hard to replenish your electrolytes in a healthy way. They can also be high in calories.
First of all, what are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are molecules of certain minerals that contain an electrical charge, the six essential ones being sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus.
Why are they Important?
Electrolytes are important because your body uses them to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses across themselves. When you do intense exercise, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, so it is important to replenish them.
Here is an example of what is found in Gatorade Thirst Quencher (per 20fl oz):
Calories: 130 Sodium: 270mg Sugar 34g
And the ingredients in Gatorade Frost - Tropical Mango:
WATER, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SALT, SODIUM CITRATE, MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, PHOSPHORIC ACID, GUM ARABIC, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, SUCROSE ACETATE ISOBUTYRATE, YELLOW 6, YELLOW 5, RED 40
Doesn't really sound like you'd want most of those in your body, does it?
There are two drinks you can have instead that are much healthier than gatorade and other sports drinks:
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water contains all five essential electrolytes and is a great choice for replenishing electrolytes after an intense workout. An 11oz serving contains more potassium than a banana and 15 times potassium than an average sports drink.
2. Lemon Salt Water
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Small pinch of salt
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Optional: Natural sweetener to taste
Just mix together and enjoy!
2 tablespoons of lemon juice contains almost exactly the amount of potassium as it does in an 8 oz bottle of a sports drink.