I’m sure you’ve heard through the grapevine that if you engage in strenuous exercise that makes you sweat often, you should take care to replenish your electrolytes post-workout. So what’s all the fuss about electrolytes? Well to keep it basic, electrolytes are found in your blood and cells and are essential for physical activity because they regulate our bodily fluids. If out of whack your energy and future athletic performance can be compromised, and if untreated the condition can actually be life threatening. Sodium and chloride help to maintain normal blood pressure and support normal muscle functioning, calcium aids with muscle contractions, magnesium, and potassium and chloride help to regulate the bodies pH balance. Add to that bicarbonate and sulfate and you’ve got your whole electrolyte team that keeps you geared to go.
Why it’s important to make sure you don’t lose too many of these essential players is that as the body loses electrolytes, an imbalance can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and even mental confusion. There are tons of energy drinks on grocery store shelves claiming to provide you with exactly what you need to restore balance, but all of these sport drinks also usually contain a bunch of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sugars that do more harm than good. Did you know that Pepsi-Co makes Gatorade, and that the Coca-Cola company makes Powerade? These soft drink companies may change the labels with sports drinks but they are still selling you the same sugar laden liquids that do absolutely nothing for your long-term health. A British Medical Journal investigation and study reported that most of these sport drinks companies hired sponsored scientists years ago when marathon running increased to market to the public from a young age this idea that hydration in the form of sports drinks is necessary. Absolutely bananas and goes to show that it’s always better to not believe the hype!
Below’s a list of nature approved electrolyte restorers that you can consume without any extra toxic ingredients. Eat them alone or combine some of these ingredients in smoothies after you have your sweat session for the day. Generally if you have a balanced diet that provides your body with adequate nutrition, you should be fine to maintain proper electrolyte levels. If you are like me and sweat three or more times a week, in vigorous workout sessions, paying attention to refueling is necessary. In addition to all of these tips, don’t forget to hydrate with the purest water you have at your disposal. If you usually don’t feel so cute after a good sweat, trust me, you’ll feel even more haggard if you are sweaty and dehydrated, so get in that H2O. -XoXo Raw Girl
Drink Coconut Water. Fresh coconut water is the perfect electrolyte tonic post workout, no preservatives or added sugar necessary. Coconut water is even more hydrating than water and will replenish your body of any electrolytes you lost during your power sweat session. You can drink coconut water alone, or for additional potency use it as a base and blend in other fruit and veg to make a smoothie. For instance a green smoothie with coconut water, banana, pineapple, and kale or spinach packs in additional potassium and magnesium. For additional protein toss in some chia seeds or spirulina to boost your energy.
Drink Celery Juice or Add Celery to a Smoothie. Celery juice is a pretty powerful tonic, I have written about it before in this post: The Power of Celery Juice. Drinking celery juice or using it as a base with additional greens added in will do a great job of restoring your body back to balance. For a great but basic post workout tonic try celery, apple, and lemon juice. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit. If you want to get fancy throw in some kale or another leafy green and get an additional dose of magnesium. You can also take one or two celery stalks and dice them up and blend them in your smoothie.
Drink Cucumber Juice or Add Cucumber to a Smoothie. Just like celery juice, cucumber juice is known the world over for being great for rehydration. It’s great to add cucumber to a smoothie or use as the base for a vegetable juice due to their high potassium content. Want to add more potency to your post workout tonic? Juice celery and cucumber together apple, lemon, and/or any mineral rich leafy green vegetables.
Eat Your Leafy Greens. Spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens all have a nice amount of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Try juicing any of these with celery or cucumber and adding coconut water for a slightly sweet but incredibly effective electrolyte tonic. Or blend some spinach or kale into a green smoothie using coconut water as a base. Whatever method you choose, you can never go wrong by harnessing the power of greens.
Get Your Daily Fruit & Veg. In addition to leafy greens, limes, lemons, oranges, sweet potatoes, artichokes, squash, and tomatoes all have minerals that will replenish electrolytes. You can add citrus to smoothies, eat them alone, or make your own natural version of V-8 using tomatoes and get the benefits of an electrolyte boost along with all the other lovely nutrients they have to offer.
Grab a Handful of Nuts. Mixed nuts in general have minerals that will also help bring you back to one. Raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts etc. or raw nut butters with apples or celery are a great snack. Almonds and almond milk with a little Himalayan sea salt added are also great post workout smoothie ingredients that can be blended with banana for more potassium and other fruits.
A Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt, can go a long way. Unlike refined salt, Himalayan salt still has all of the wonderful minerals in tact that can be used by the body to restore balance. You can add a pinch of Himalayan sea salt to your juice or smoothie or try drinking this simple Apple Cider Vinegar Electrolyte Tonic; mix pure water, pinch of sea salt, and one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar.