Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.
It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes.
Most people think of a sweaty athlete drinking a colored sports drink when they hear the word electrolyte. On the contrary, there are many ways to get fresh natural electrolyte replenishment from foods such as oranges, coconuts and honey, plus, save a few dollars by preparing your own sports drink that your body will embrace.
Water is the main ingredient as it will act as the primary carrier of the electrolytes. It must be as clean as possible to work optimally. If you do not have the luxury of a home bottled water dispenser, simply boil water in a tea kettle. Incidentally, distilled water–the captured vapor from boiling water–is the best. It is very close to pure water, having almost all trace elements such as minerals, pollutants and other contaminants, removed. If you want distilled water, it’s best to purchase it because collecting the vapor is difficult to do at home. Sometimes you can ask your bottled water carrier if they offer distilled water instead of spring. Tap water should be your last resort.
Electrolytes are basically salts. Salts keep your body’s electrically conductive to maintain cell voltage for receiving or passing along information. Regular table salt works fine as long as it contains sodium chloride, which almost all salts are made of. Some also have potassium iodide, which is also excellent for your cocktail. If you can locate fine grain salt, it dissolves much faster. Using a mortar and pestle on regular salt work just as well.
Oranges, grapefruits, tangerine, lemons and limes–try to always have these on hand as they are the best ingredients for electrolyte replenishment. Oranges are a particularly good choice. This is why you may have seen many athletes gorging themselves on juicy slices. Citrus fruits are great, even alone, for electrolytes. However, adding some other ingredients can enhance the effect.
Sports drinks like Gatorade can be very useful for longer runs and races. Unfortunately, they are also very expensive. I’ve found a couple of ways of making sports drinks that are effective and cheap. The ideas for the recipe, like most good running ideas, first came to me from The Dead Runners’ Society.
Gatorade has worked hard to come up with what they feel is a good balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes for extended physical activity. Most researchers agree that the optimal concentration of carbohydrates in a sports drink is about 6%. This concentration actually allows the water to be absorbed more quickly in the body than plain water alone. I don’t think we need to use sports drinks. I don’t use them unless I’m doing a run that going to be over 90 minutes long. However, for long runs, the water, electrolytes, and carbohyrdates help a lot.
Gatorade has a formulation that gives the following for an 8oz serving:
14grams Carbohydrate (5.9%)
110 mg Sodium
Here are some homemade electrolyte recipes :
Filed Under: Health & Fitness