Intensive exercise and overheating can make you depleted of electrolytes. When you sweat a lot you can get dehydrated very fast. Dehydration is the loss of body fluids along with essential minerals (electrolytes) dissolved in them. The most important thing is to know the best way to replace electrolytes in your body.
Electrolytes are found in blood, sweat, and urine. These electrically charged minerals facilitate some important processes and functions in your body. Consequently, lack of electrolytes can hinder those processes and functions. Your heart, nervous system and muscles rely on electrolytes for proper functioning. Besides, electrolytes help maintain optimal pH level and keep your body hydrated. As you can see, these guys are pretty important. Therefore, it’s your job to keep them in proper concentration.
List of electrolytes
Sweating is one of the ways you can lose electrolytes. Other conditions that cause dehydration (thus, electrolyte depletion) are severe diarrhea, extensive vomiting, and blood loss. Mild dehydration can be easily compensated for with the help of commercial and home-made remedies.
What is the fastest way to replenish electrolytes?
Extensive physical activity and continuous staying in a hot environment cause excessive sweating. When it happens, you need to act very fast to rehydrate your body and replenish electrolytes. Very often the only available way to do so is to have a sports drink. There are a variety of electrolyte-rich drinks on the market. They all have different nutrition values and mineral contents. Some of them are rich in sugars and carbs, others contain natural sweeteners. There are zero-carb options too. However, electrolyte boosters are not intended for day-to-day consumption. When you are not working out, you should drink regular water and eat a balanced diet.
Is it true that sugary sports drinks are the best for hydration?
Yes and no. Indeed, sports drinks can help you combat dehydration when other remedies are unavailable. A bottle of electrolyte drink is easy to bring along to a sports ground or a gym. Besides, when you are going trekking, trail running or cycling, you can rehydrate on the go. If you have your best cycling hydration pack with you, it becomes even easier. Just fill the bladder with your favorite sports water and you won’t even have to stop to take a sip.
On the other hand, sports drinks usually contain too much sweeteners. As we know, sweet drinks can make you even thirstier, forcing you to drink more and more. Besides, if you are watching your carb intake, these drinks can add up significantly to your daily amount. They can also contain chemical additives (such as artificial flavors), which are not very good for you. And last but not least, not all sports drinks contain sufficient amounts of essential minerals.
So what is the best drink to replace electrolytes?
When you sweat, all the minerals escape your body, but sodium does it a faster rate. On average, a person loses approximately 1 gram of sodium with one liter of sweat. Therefore, a sports drink should be rich in sodium. Potassium is another important mineral that should be replenished during physical activity. If you keep to a well-balanced diet you already consume enough electrolytes.
The amounts contained in regular water are sufficient. Water is healthy, natural and zero-calorie. It’s easy on your stomach and won’t cause any allergies. If water is not enough, there are other options.
How can I replace my electrolytes naturally?
Luckily, there are plenty of natural remedies for mild electrolyte deficiency. Nature has provided us with infallible sources of all valuable minerals. For instance, if you are looking to replace sports water with a healthy alternative, here are some ideas:
- coconut water,
- cactus (opuntia) water,
- celery juice,
- almond milk,
- kale juice.
One of the easiest ways to maintain electrolyte balance is to eat healthy. Make sure your daily ratio contains the following products:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Leafy greens.
- Organic dairy products.
- Fish and seafood.
By doing so your daily mineral consumption will be high enough to mitigate potential electrolyte losses. To keep your body hydrated you should drink at least 0.5 gallons of water per day (more if you exercise). Replace your regular salt with Himalayan salt to cover your sodium and chlorine needs.
What are other ways to replenish electrolytes?
- electrolyte replacement powder,
- oral rehydration solutions (usually used for treating medical conditions),
- salt tablets (for ultra runners and triathletes),
Conclusion: best way to replace electrolytes
Electrolyte-rich fluids help you combat dehydration during high-intensity exercises.
Marathon running, triathlon, endurance training, and crossfit are some of the sports that can cause electrolyte loss. There are many ways to avoid that. The choice depends on many factors. Now that you know more about electrolyte balance, you can find the right remedy.