If you have ever had an intense work out or perhaps spent the day working outside in the heat you understand the toll that it can take on your body.
It's become common to reach for a sports drink during these times but they come with a price. Turn on the television or browse through a magazine that highlights sports and you will see ads for Gatorade, Powerade, and other sports drinks. They claims to provide your body with essential nutrients to help you perform optimally. All of these drinks claim to contain electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, potassium, and sodium. They also contain an abundance of carbohydrates which provide energy when you are working out.
The average 20 ounce Gatorade contains 36 grams of sugar. That is nearly as much as a 12 ounce can of soda. Gatorade's G2 version substitutes acesulfame and sucralose for sugar.
Acesulfame has been shown to cause migraines and cluster headaches that lead to confusion and disorientation. It also contributes to complications with blood sugar due to a sudden drop in blood glucose levels. The FDA has also discovered connections between aspertame (acesulfame) and vision and hearing problems. The list of problems with artificial sweeteners continues in that it increases mood disorders such as depression and can even lead to seizures. Chronic inflammation is another consequence of consuming aspertame. The list of problems with consuming artificial sweeteners continues.
Not only do sports drinks contain artificial sweeteners but also food dyes such as Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5 all of which have been linked to hyper activity in children and even to cancer.
Now that we know the dangers of commercial sports drinks lets look at some great solutions to replenish your body when you have been working hard.
Coconut water is natures sports drink. It typically comes from young coconuts. Coconut water is different from coconut milk in that the milk is very high in coconut fat. Coconut water is full of vitamins and minerals such as:
Vitamin C - 10% of the RDI
Magnesium - 15% of the RDI
Manganese - 17% of the RDI
Potassium - 17% of the RDI
Sodium - 11% of the RDI
Calcium - 6% of the RDI
It also contains carbohydrates, fiber, folate, iron, protein, pantothenic acid, Riboflavin, Thiamin, and Vitamins B6, E, and K.
Another great solution to replenish important nutrients is Pink Himalan Sea Salt. This salt is easy to find in the section of your grocery store that has baking supplies. It has the nutrients you need to regulate blood pH, increase nutrient absorption, boost energy levels, improve vascular health, reduce high blood pressure, calm muscle cramps and more.
Lemon slices or pineapple are some more great resources to choose to help your body replenish the nutrients. Fresh raspberries and blackberries also work very well.
When I know it's going to be hot for several days or that I will be especially active for multiple days in a row I like to make my own sports drink alternative. Check out the recipe below!
*1 3/4 cup herbal tea, water, or coconut water
* 1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt
* 2 tsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
*1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
*1 tsp calcium/magnesium powder (optional)
1. Start making your homemade electrolyte drink by brewing the tea and letting it cool slightly; or, slightly warm your alternative base liquid.
2. Add salt, sweetener, and calcium magnesium powder (if using). Mix to dissolve.
3. Add juice. Mix and taste. Adjust juice or sweetness levels as desired.
The drink will last in the refrigerator for a week. I usually double or triple the batch for convenience.
Using other healthier options to replace sports drinks are sure to support the health of your body in the long run!