Electrolyte Replacement

June 26, 2012

I returned Sunday after a grueling 24 hours of mountain bike racing and realized that I should share some tips for replacing electrolytes. Whether you are an athlete who is training and competing in racing events, a hot yoga fanatic, or a mama with kids who spend the day at the beach - all could benefit from replenishing these important ions. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride which our body uses to control fluid balance, blood pressure, nerve and muscle control. We lose and/or imbalance our electrolytes through sweating, urinating, vomiting, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and through diarrhea. Replacing electrolytes can improve tolerance to the heat, athletic performance and help keep your kidneys healthy.

There are many prepared electrolyte replacers on the market, many of which are full of glucose and fructose - high glycemic index sugars that can cause stomach cramping if consumed in large amounts. Here are some natural ways to replace your electrolytes:

  • drink coconut water
  • make homemade lemonade using 1 litre filtered water, Juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon, 1 Tbsp raw honey and 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • eat bananas, avocados, lemons, oranges

A few notes, must be sea salt, as it contains all the minerals, not just sodium and chloride. Raw honey versus pastuerized honey as many nutrients are destroyed in the pastuerization process.

If you decide that you would rather have a manufactured electrolyte replacer, I strongly recommend the following as they are much lower in sugar, so they don't cause cramping or the highs and lows that go along with sugar-filled Gatorage.

  • Hammer Nutrition's HEED
  • Ultima Replenisher

Happy sweating!

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