Whether it is summer or winter, your body needs electrolytes. You lose precious minerals through the water that your body excretes when you cry, sweat, and urinate. These minerals are essential to keep the body running. They’re called electrolytes.
These electrolytes do a lot of work for the body. Electrolyte drinks replenishes and energizes you. Also, it help the organs work more efficiently and they bolster body performance.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that carry electricity charged ions dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water.. In addition, they aid in regulating vital activities in your body.
These activities include neuron signalling, pH balance, muscular contraction, and hydration. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride are the essential electrolytes your body uses to perform these critical processes.
Maintaining Electrolyte Balance
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other excellent sources of electrolytes is the simplest approach to maintaining electrolyte balance. However, it’s also crucial to remain well hydrated without overdoing it.
Avoid intense activity during the warmest hours of the day. Instead, you should take water or an electrolyte drink during and after intensive exercises. In addition, you should keep hydrated and see your doctor or pharmacist before taking an oral rehydration supplement.
You should report symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance to a doctor immediately. Prompt intervention may prevent modest imbalances from worsening.
How Many Do You Need?
The required intake of electrolytes changes with age. However, there is a general pattern found among all. The maximum daily values for consumption are akin to the following:
- Potassium: 2500-3500mg
- Calcium: 1000mg
- Magnesium: 300-450mg
- Phosphorous: 500-700mg
- Sodium: 2300mg
- Chloride: 2400mg
Electrolyte concentrations in your blood and other physiological fluids should remain within a relatively narrow range. However, when electrolyte levels become too high or excessively low.
Daily electrolyte and fluid loss are unavoidable because of sweat and other waste products. As a result, it is essential to restore them regularly with a mineral-rich diet.
Potential causes of an electrolyte imbalance include:
- Intensive Workout
- Diarrhoea and Vomiting
- Dehydration and Fluid Loss
- Kidney Disorder
- Diabetes Type 1
- Severe Burns
- Diuretic Medicine
While mild imbalances may not result in many symptoms, severe imbalances might result in various symptoms. A person’s symptoms will vary depending on the electrolyte and the consumed quantity.
Signs of a severe electrolyte imbalance include:
- Abnormal Blood Pressure
- Irregular Respiration
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Irregular Urination
- Fainting & Seizures
Why Electrolyte Drinks?
After an intensive workout, the body loses lots of fluids. Electrolytes can help regain the body’s energy. However, they cannot help replenish the lost fluid. Therefore, you need electrolyte drinks to help you.
The need for fluid in the body is immediate and everpresent. In addition, fluids help make the body stronger and more efficient. Replenishing electrolytes using drinks will help achieve both goals.
6 Best Electrolyte Drinks
Why electrolytes are necessary is apparent, as is why you should take them in a liquid form. As for the who, here are the healthy electrolyte drinks to revive your post-workout sessions.
1. Gatorade & Powerade
Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are electrolyte-rich powerhouses. They have been popular sources of replenishing electrolytes long since.
In a 100 ml serving, these drinks contain:
- Calcium: 2mg (approx.)
- Potassium: 30mg
- Sodium: 50mg
- Phosphorus: 2mg
- Chloride: 1mg
These drinks may benefit endurance athletes who need a mix of readily digested carbohydrates, liquids, and electrolytes to stay hydrated and energised throughout an athletic event or training session.
On the other hand, commercial sports drinks have some significant disadvantages. For example, they often include a high concentration of artificial colours, tastes, and added sugar.
However, a 12-ounce (355 ml) glass of Gatorade or Powerade contains more than 200g of added sugar. That is more than half of the recommended daily intake.
Cow’s milk is a bit of an underappreciated superstar when it comes to electrolyte drinks. But, contrary to common assumptions, milk is helpful for various purposes other than morning cereal and coffee.
A glass of milk gives you:
- Calcium: 350mg
- Magnesium: 30mg
- Phosphorus: 250mg
- Potassium: 370mg
- Sodium: 100mg
Apart from being a good source of electrolytes such as calcium, sodium, and potassium, milk has a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein. These two macronutrients may aid in post-workout refuelling and muscle tissue regeneration.
According to a study, these features may make milk a more effective post-workout beverage than several commercial sports beverages and at a fraction of the cost.
3. Fruit Juices
Fruit Juices are rich in electrolytes. If you make your own, there will be the added benefit of no sugar. Fruit juices are especially rich in phosphorus and potassium. In addition, they contain natural sugars. Certain fruit juices, like watermelon juice, have a horde of electrolytes.
1 cup (250 ml) of watermelon juice can give you:
- Calcium: 17mg
- Magnesium: 24mg
- Phosphorus: 27mg
- Potassium: 270mg
- Sodium: 3mg
Additionally, fruit juice includes L-citrulline. Fruit juices improve oxygen delivery and overall fitness by supplementing them with this amino acid. In addition, apple, orange and cherry juices contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. However, one of the primary disadvantages of utilising juice as an electrolytic substitution drink is its low sodium content.
4. Coconut Water
Coconut water, often known as coconut juice, is the clear liquid that you can find in a mature coconut fruit. Although it is naturally low in sugar. Sugar and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium make coconut water a healthy beverage option.
One glass of coconut water will give you:
- Calcium: 58mg
- Magnesium: 60mg
- Phosphorus: 48mg
- Potassium: 600mg
- Sodium: 252mg
Coconut water is one of the most popular choices for electrolytic drinks. It contains all the essential electrolytes. Additionally, it offers all of them in ample amounts. It doesn’t have any significant drawbacks like the other options. Therefore, it is an all-around healthy drink!
Smoothies are a great way to mix many foods high in electrolytes into one beverage. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and dairy products are some of the best sources of electrolytes. You can mix all of these to make a tasty and healthy smoothie.
Many of the foods above can help you get over a stomach bug and get back the electrolytes you lost. However, if you want to eat them on their own, smoothies may be easier to digest and tastier than them alone.
Smoothies are also a good choice for anyone looking for a post-workout drink. Unfortunately, you lose electrolytes when you sweat. However, if you add some protein-rich foods to your smoothies, they can help your muscles grow and repair.
6. Tablet-Infused Water
Electrolyte tablets are a simple, cheap, and easy way to make your electrolyte drink, no matter where you are. Drop one of the tablets into some water and shake or stir to mix.
Most electrolyte tablets have sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, but the exact amounts may differ depending on the brand you buy. They also tend to be low in calories, have little to no added sugar, and come in a wide range of unique, fruity flavours, like strawberries, lemon, orange, watermelon etc.
When you add electrolyte-infused water to your post workout regime. You can get your electrolytes back and stay well hydrated without adding many calories.
Still, not all electrolyte waters are the same. For example, most tap water has about 2% to 3% of your daily needs for certain electrolytes, like sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
Water and a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables are enough to maintain electrolyte balance. However, after heavy exertion, high heat, vomiting, or diarrhoea, an electrolyte drink is recommended to rehydrate and replace electrolytes. If you can, find water containing sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride.
It should include some sugar to aid absorption but not too much to impede digestion. Here sugar can be natural sugar from fruits, can add raw honey or jaggery too.
Electrolytes are minerals that aid in hydration, muscular contraction, pH equilibrium, and nerve communication. Therefore, your body must always have enough fluid and electrolytes to operate correctly. Coconut water, milk, fruit juice, and lemon water may help to hydrate and replenish electrolytes.
Most individuals can maintain electrolyte balance with a balanced diet and enough water. However, electrolyte drinks may be used in some situations, such as while sweating or sick post workout or after heavy exertion. Drinking enough water and looking out for indications of dehydration might help you decide whether an electrolyte drink is good for you.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Q. Are electrolyte drinks bad for you?
A. Electrolyte drinks are not necessarily bad for you. They have many benefits. It replenish and rejuvenate the body. They also help you feel refreshed and energetic. However, these drinks contain a lot of salt and potassium. As a result, they can lead to hypernatremia and hyperkalemia. These lead to dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea, heart arrhythmia, nausea, and an irregular pulse. Many times such drinks are loaded with sugars which fluctuate blood sugar levels.
Q. When should I drink electrolytes?
A. You can consume electrolytes at any time of day. However, after a workout is an ideal time for them. It is because your body loses a lot of fluid during exercise. Therefore, replenishing electrolytes after a workout is recommended.
Q. What is the fastest way to replenish electrolytes?
A. Although natural replenishment takes time, certain drinks speed up the process. Drinks like coconut water and milk are great. Yoghurt, bananas, and watermelon also contain electrolytes. Consuming them and resting is a fast way of regaining electrolytes.
Q. Is Gatorade an electrolyte drink?
A. Yes. Gatorade is an electrolyte-rich sports drink that helps replenish electrolytes lost by the body during physical activity without intaking excess sugar.
Q. What is the healthiest electrolyte drink?
A. Milk is considered a very healthy electrolyte drink. It doesn’t have any added fats or sugars. Aside from replenishing electrolytes, Milk aids digestion, helps to lose weight, boosts metabolism, and cools the body. It also contains essential proteins for the body.
Q. Do electrolytes make you gain weight?
A. When electrolyte levels fall too low or rise too high, it may result in a disruption in the body’s fluid balance. It might increase water weight. Electrolytes assist in retaining fluid in your cells and blood, and too much of it will cause your electrolytes to be flushed out, causing you to feel bloated and dizzy.
Q. What are the signs of dehydration?
A. Dehydration usually has one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dark and foul urine
- Dried mouth, lips, eyes, and skin
- Low urination and excretion
Q. How do I know if my electrolytes are low?
A. When your body’s electrolytes get depleted, it may impede vital activities such as blood coagulation, muscle contractions, acid-base balance, and fluid management. As a result, you’ll experience dehydration, exhaustion, and nausea.
Q. Which fruit has the most electrolytes?
A. Bananas are often regarded as the king of electrolyte-containing fruits. It is because they are rich in potassium and sodium. These aid in muscle function and cardiac mechanisms.
Q. What are the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance?
A. When the quantity of electrolytes in your body is excessively high or excessively low, you might develop the following conditions: dizziness, cramps, and irregular heartbeat. In addition, it can affect your body’s processes, including blood coagulation, muscular contraction, acidity control, and fluid management.
Q. Why do electrolytes get low?
A. Daily body movement and exercise cause fluid loss. We lose these fluids in the forms of sweat, urine, tears, and more. In addition, these fluids take away some essential minerals, which are called electrolytes. Without a balanced intake of electrolytes, these minerals are likely to become low.
Q. What are the symptoms of low potassium?
A. Hypokalemia is characterised by a low potassium content in the blood. A low potassium level causes vomiting, diarrhoea, and adrenal gland diseases. It is possible to develop irregular cardiac rhythms if your potassium level is too low. A low potassium level may cause muscles to feel weak, cramp, twitch or even become paralysed.
Q. What are the five natural electrolyte boosters?
A. Salt, coconut water, vegetables, lemon, and rest are five natural boosters of electrolytes. There are several electrolyte replenishers, but these work best.
Q. What foods are highest in electrolytes?
A. Foods that support hydration and help the body produce energy replenish electrolytes. They’re also responsible for stimulating muscle contractions, including those that keep your heart beating. Spinach, milk, lemon, celery, coconut water are the best foods that replenish electrolytes. In addition, foods like avocados, oranges, bananas, kale, watermelon and broccoli are other examples.