After a long workout, you might be tempted to reach for a sports drink to replace the electrolytes you just sweated out. If you do, you might be doing more harm than good to your body.
These types of drinks contain a lot of sugar, which slows down the rate at which water enters the blood. Sports drinks typically contain genetically modified organism, or GMO, ingredients as well as artificial food coloring dyes derived from petroleum and coal tar and linked to serious health problems like cancer and hyperactivity, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
So what are electrolytes? Electrolytes are made of essential minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulfate. During intense exercise, sodium and potassium are sweated out the most.
The best way to replace electrolytes is through real food. Instead of reaching for a sports drink, try one of these four electrolyte options that are good for your health and the earth.
Chia SeedsChia seeds contain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, omega-3s, iron, fiber, protein and vitamin C to name a few. In liquid they expand around 9 to 12 times their size, leaving you feeling full and with sustained energy.
To make your own electrolyte drink add a tablespoon of organic chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of raw honey and a little fresh squeezed organic lemon or lime juice to your reusable water bottle. (You can also add a heavy dash of Celtic sea salt.)
KaleYes, kale contains electrolytes. (Just another reason why kale is so amazing). Kale is a super food meaning that it's loaded with essential nutrients and minerals that are needed for the body to function—and run, bike, swim, and workout—well. After your training routine, make a kale smoothie. You won't even taste the kale.
To make: Combine a hearty handful of organic kale, fresh organic fruits, ice, organic coconut water, organic maca powder and Manitoba Hemp Hearts in a blender. Mix until creamy.
Coconut water is a natural way to replenish what you lost during your workout. Coconut water is high in potassium, an essential electrolyte. Try the Harmless Harvest or Whole Foods Market 365 brand coconut water.
Fruits and VeggiesCelery, apple, beet, banana, oranges and sweet potatoes all have electrolytes. Eat these natural sources of electrolytes daily (make sure they're organic) and your body will thank you for giving it essential minerals and vitamins the healthy way.
And lastly, if you want an already-made alternative to commercial sports drinks, check out GoodOnYa Hydrate. No coloring dyes or artificial sweeteners are added. It's an organic electrolyte drink sure to make your muscles happy. Note: this is also a good option for kids sports too.
Stay healthy with our nutrition guide.