There is no shortage of neon-colored electrolyte sports drinks on the supermarket shelves today touting themselves as the ultimate “thirst-quenchers”. The majority of these sports drinks are packed with sugar, artificial coloring, and other toxins— far from clean hydration. Let's get back to the basics with understanding what electrolytes actually are, how to balance them, and where to find clean sources.
WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES?
Electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium— that carry an electric charge and are vital to many key functions in the body. They are found in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help balance the amount of water in your body, support your body's acid-base (pH) level, move nutrients into your cells, move waste out of your cells, and ensure that your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain are functioning optimally. An electrolyte imbalance can result from a poor diet, too little or too much exercise, illness, dehydration, over-hydration, taking certain medications, or having certain heart, kidney, or liver disorders.
HOW DO I BALANCE THEM?
So how can you ensure you have a proper electrolyte balance? Begin with a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Ensure you’re drinking plenty of hydrating beverages, like water and the suggestions below, by using the basic formula of half your body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 140lbs your daily intake of water should be 70 fluid ounces. It’s also important to limit or remove diuretics like soda, coffee, caffeinated tea, and juice, as these beverages are dehydrating and challenge your body to maintain its electrolyte balance.
CLEAN ELECTROLYTE SOURCES
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water. This delicious, organic, minimally processed hydrating beverage has naturally occurring electrolytes from the coconut in which it's made. With no added sugar and only one ingredient, this is an awesome electrolyte beverage with many health benefits.
Bone Broth. More hydrating than water, bone broth is a mineral-rich beverage made by boiling bones, water, and vegetables for a long time. This ancient beverage has been known to boost immunity and improve digestion.
Himalayan Sea Salt + Lemon. A quick, DIY electrolyte beverage can be made by combining a pinch of Himalayan sea salt and a squeeze of organic lemon (or any citrus). Himalayan sea salt carries with it 84 trace minerals that act as sponges for our cells to absorb the water. The squeeze of lemon is a pop of fresh flavor as well as a good source of vitamin c.
Your Routine Packets. While the average person will have well-balanced electrolytes simply from food and drinks alone, there are certain circumstances where one would want to supplement to ensure proper balance. In those cases, Your Routine packets are a great, affordable option to add to your water.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, feel confident when you skip over that neon-yellow sports drink. Know that the added sugars, flavors, and artificial ingredients are far from what your body needs. Instead, grab yourself lots of fresh fruits and veggies, a little bit of Himalayan sea salt, and as a treat, a delicious and refreshing coconut water.
1. “Fluid and Electrolyte Balance.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Mar. 2020, medlineplus.gov/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html.
2. Lewis, James L. “Overview of Electrolytes - Hormonal and Metabolic Disorders.” Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-balance/overview-of-electrolytes.
3. Levy, Jillian. “Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance, Plus How To Solve It.” Dr. Axe, 1 Nov. 2019, draxe.com/health/electrolyte-imbalance/.
4. Lewis, Merck Manuals.
6. Levy, Dr. Axe.