You don’t have to a pro athlete to have heard about electrolytes. These mysterious little dudes are actually minerals that help keep the body hydrated, your nerves working, and your blood pressure regulated. There are several that you should be concerned with: sodium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and bicarbonate.
You lose these minerals faster than usual when you enjoy a good workout or get sick. Sports drinks claim to replace the electrolytes, and while that may be true, they’re also full of other ingredients that you don’t want in your body. In one 32-ounce bottle, you’re consuming 56 grams of sugar and artificial food dyes. The better option? Replenish your electrolytes through more healthy means.
To ensure your body has the electrolytes it needs to fuel good workouts in the first place, you should be eating a healthy diet. Here’s how it breaks down:
Calcium – Beans, yogurt, kale, and milk
Potassium – Potatoes, bananas, tomato juice, lemons, and dark leafy greens
Magnesium – Brown rice, Swiss chard, almonds, and lima beans
Sodium – Sea salt
Chloride – Celery, tomatoes, seaweed, and rye
Bicarbonate – Anything containing baking soda
Phosphorus – Eggs, beef, chicken, salmon, and turkey
In addition to watching your eating habits, you can make drinks that to replace Gatorade. By crafting your own drinks, you have total control over ingredients like salt and sugar, and you don’t have to worry about a bunch of artificial stuff, provided you choose good-quality foods.
Here are six ideas:
Drink #1: For one homemade electrolyte elixir, blend water with some celery, an apple, and fresh lemon juice. Celery has sodium, chloride, phosphorus, and potassium. Apples also have potassium, while lemons have sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Drink #2: If you’ve just had a really intense workout, a drink made from water, good sea salt, lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and baking soda is an ancient and very effective way to replenish lost minerals. Baking soda in particular is a great source of bicarbonate. When choosing a sea salt, Himalayan is often considered the best.
Drink #3: Raw coconut water is more hydrating than water, and lots of people prefer the taste of the raw kind. Look for labels like “organic,” “raw,” “unpasteurized,” and “not from concentrate” to get the best kind. It’s a bit pricier, but totally worth it. Add chia seeds for more nutrients like fiber and protein.
Drink #4: A good ol’ fashioned shake made from kale, almond milk, a good sea salt, and a frozen banana is a tasty, refreshing is a great way to get in your electrolytes. Bananas and almond milk have potassium, while kale brings the calcium. Sea salt is for sodium.
Drink #5: It isn’t the most pleasant drink, but a teaspoon of organic, raw apple cider vinegar and pinch of salt with purified water is one of the fastest ways to replenish your electrolytes. It’s common for professional athletes who really push themselves.
Drink #6: Chocolate milk is actually one of the best recovery drinks out there! To make your own, just mix milk with a good-quality cocoa powder and add some salt. If you need more sweetness, consider making a chocolate-milk smoothie by just blending in half a banana.
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