Electrolytes. We’ve all heard about them and we all know we need to replenish them after working out. But what are they really? And are we restoring them in the most optimal and healthful way for our body?
Electrolytes are technically ions. The word electrolyte means that these specific types of ions are electrically charged. Our cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to themselves and other cells in the body. Our kidneys are responsible for keeping electrolytes maintained in the body in order to keep our body fluids steady and maintain proper nerve, heart and muscle function.
When we work out, we lose electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, chloride & magnesium through our sweat. In order to keep our sells hydrated and avoid dehydration, it is imperative that we replenish electrolytes after exercise, allowing our body to return to its natural & healthful balance.
Most of us are familiar with and use conventional sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade to replenish electrolytes after strenuous activity. These drinks are sweet, cheap and are often available in our gym’s vending machine. Although these beverages do contain electrolytes, they also contain a whole slew of ingredients that are detrimental to our overall health and well-being. These ingredients include man made chemicals, highly processed & refined sugars as well as artificial colors and “natural flavors,” just to name a few. All of these ingredients are poisonous & detrimental to our bodies.
The good news is that there are a ton of natural & wholesome options for replenishing electrolytes that not only re-stabilize our body’s hydration but also provide us with extra nutrients and long-term health benefits.
Here are three great solutions for replenishing electrolytes, naturally:
Coconut water contains a great deal of naturally occurring electrolytes in the form of potassium. Not only does it provide our body with electrolytes, but potassium has been shown to prevent muscle cramps as well making it an exceptional post-workout solution. Coconut water is also low in sugar & tastes naturally delicious. Remember to always choose raw coconut water, as heat-pasteurized coconut water does not contain the same levels of nutrients. We recommend drinking it straight from the coconut or opting for a cold-pressured bottled variety such as Suja’s Tropicaloe.
Fresh Vegetable & Fruit Juice containing Celery, Apple & Lemon
Fruit & vegetable juice is a great option because these foods contain high levels of naturally occurring nutrients. Lemon has more electrolytes than any other citrus fruit. Celery contains naturally occurring sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus & chloride. Apple is a great option for adding some natural sweetness and also provides an extra dose of potassium. We recommend making your own fresh juice or opting for a cold-pressured bottled variety such as Suja’s Fiji or Purify.
Smoothie containing Banana, Almond Milk and Kale
After working out we often feel a bit hungry in addition to wanting our thirst quenched. This option for replenishing electrolytes is great for those of us who want something a bit more substantial after physical activity. Bananas and almonds are great natural sources of magnesium and potassium. Dark leafy greens are extremely high in a variety of nutrients, including magnesium. If your almond milk does not contain any salt, remember to throw in a dash of sea salt for added sodium. We also recommend always choosing unsweetened almond milk.