Anna Langridge from Wellbody Health & Fitness and 1FitLife explains how hydration works and the importance of it when exercising and during hot weather.
During the warmer summer months our bodies need more fluids to stay hydrated, but is it possible to maintain hydration by just drinking water? While water is the best way to hydrate, sometimes you need an extra boost. When you sweat, your body loses minerals, and adding these mineral electrolytes back into your body helps it hydrate more effectively.
Symptoms of Dehydration
If you have an electrolyte imbalance, you may experience some or all of these symptoms:
muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching
irregular or fast heartbeat
fatigue or lethargy
confusion or disorientation
change in blood pressure
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate processes in your body. While most often thought about when it comes to hydration, they also help with your nervous system and muscle function.
You’re probably familiar with many of the electrolytes, including:
If you’re eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated, your electrolyte levels should be balanced. However, there are times that you will want to introduce more electrolytes into your body for example: when you get sick, specifically if it’s an illness that includes vomiting or diarrhoea or in times of high-intensity exercise or activity in the sun when you are sweating profusely.
Foods Containing Electrolytes
- Butternut squash
- Beans & lentils
- fish, such as tuna
There are also many sports drinks or electrolyte drinks that you can find at the supermarket. While these drinks may do their job, they can contain sugar, dyes, and other additives.
Coconut water is probably the most simple electrolyte drink if you want a natural option. (make sure you choose an unsweetened version.) It naturally contains high levels of potassium as well as some sodium, calcium, and magnesium. However, it can be expensive, and some people dislike the taste.
Making your homemade electrolyte drink or homemade sports drink is incredibly easy, and you’ll also know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
Electrolyte Drink Recipe
Hot base ingredient e.g. Large cup of sugar-free herbal tea, plain water, or coconut water
Small pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt (contains small amounts of other electrolyte minerals, like calcium, potassium, and magnesium)
⅛ teaspoon Manuka Honey (optional)
Fresh lemon or Lime juice.
Just mix all the ingredients in the hot base ingredient until dissolved and drink when cooled.