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Boost your body chemistry with the Ole’ One-Two Punch with a healthy sports drink you can make at home! Electrolyte Punch is simple to make, healthy, and lets you control the added sugars, eliminate artificial colors, flavorings, and other less healthy ingredients.
Have you ever experienced cramping in your muscles after exercise, when you’ve been sick or after strenuous tasks? If you have, it might be because you need to boost your body chemistry and replenish your bodies electrolytes. But, if you’re not an athlete you might be wondering, what’s all this hub-bub about? And, isn’t staying hydrated good enough for my body?
The simple answer is maybe, but maybe not.
In a nutshell, electrolytes are the crucial salts that form the electrically charged particles (ions) in our body fluids (think calcium, potassium, magnesium, and salt), they dissolve into positive and negative charges in our bodies. These charges have two main functions: regulating the flow of water in and out of our cells and sparking nerve impulses. In this video, by the American Chemical Society, the science behind all this is explained in more detail in a fun way that we can easily understand.
As the narrator explains, without electrolytes, “our cells would shrivel up and die, or burst from being too full.” And, the nerve impulses that electrolytes control keep our bodies functioning properly – “our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our brains learning.”
Drinking electrolyte drinks can help replace what your body loses during longer duration workouts, boosting your body chemistry, especially in the heat. Common to the ingredients used in popular well-established sports drinks, electrolytes help athletes to refuel and rehydrate to provide energy.
One major lesson I’ve learned over time since being diagnosed with celiac disease is that with an already compromised intestinal system it’s more important than ever to be aware of hydration and keeping the electrolytes in my body balanced. My entire life I’ve had horrible problems with leg cramping. When I was growing up my parents always called it “growing pains.” But it wasn’t until I was into my late forties, and after having been diagnosed with celiac disease, that I figured I was pretty much done “physically” growing, and there might be another cause for my unbearable leg cramping.
After many visits and lengthy talks with my gastroenterologist and physical therapist, I learned that by paying attention to staying hydrated and balancing my bodies electrolytes I could avoid much of my leg cramping problems.
Here’s the scoop. Our bodies require a certain balance of water and electrolytes to survive. Too much or too little of either and our body’s chemistry gets wonky. When you’re exercising, sweating a lot, throwing up, or have diarrhea, you are losing precious mineral balancing fluids from your body. Drinking too much water when you’re dehydrated can cause you to over water your system and dilute your natural occurring electrolyte levels. Many people including athletes neglect consistent electrolyte replenishment, and their muscles start cramping. When you provide your body with a consistent and adequate supply of water and electrolytes, you’re able to maintain these natural bodily functions at optimal levels to carry you through exercise, physical activities, and sickness. When cramping happens, it’s your body’s way of letting you know, that relative to electrolytes and hydration, that it’s running on empty.
Before you head out to stock your shelves with a well-established brand of store-bought electrolyte juices, you might find it interesting also to learn that unless you’re a pro-athlete, most people can get enough daily electrolytes through a balanced diet – no neon-colored beverages are necessary.
But what if your body is compromised due to a medical condition and it does not properly absorb nutrients from what you eat? What if you believe you’re eating right and find that you’re still experiencing problems? Maybe you do regular energy-burning workouts, or what if you know you’re going to be more active than usual during your daily routine?
Then, drinking homemade electrolyte drinks may be a good choice to consider to boost your body chemistry.
The best benefits of making homemade electrolyte drinks are that you can control the added sugar, eliminate the artificial colors, flavorings, and other less healthy ingredients. You can also mix and match citrus, teas, herbal flavors, and sweeten your beverage to taste.
To make homemade electrolyte drinks, you’ll want to concentrate on the health-promoting ingredients.
Citrus Fruits – are rich in natural electrolytes with lemons being at the top of the list! The naturally occurring sugars in citrus fruits help to maintain energy during your workouts and help in speeding up your recovery afterward. Rich in vitamin C, citrus fruit and juices from them in your diet help to boost and maintain the immune system and they work as a great remedy to help alleviate many cold and flu symptoms.
Coconut Water – Natural coconut water contains five key electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus). Not to be confused with coconut milk (the white liquid squeezed from the coconut’s outer layer), coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young, green coconut. Many people swear that drinking it works great as a hangover cure, or for people recovering from stomach related illness. Because of its high potassium content (one of the known electrolytes that your body needs to prevent cramping) drinking coconut water was specifically recommended to me as an alternative to eating bananas because of my allergy to them (bananas are also known to be high in potassium).
Maple Syrup and Raw Honey – The two most important qualities to note is that the maple syrup is real, and the honey is raw (unprocessed). Real maple syrup and raw honey contain natural enzymes and minerals. The naturally occurring sugars in them are easily digestible, and they keep your energy level high during exercise. Honey is also a known natural antibiotic, and it works wonderfully for calming coughs and soothing sore throats.
Sea Salt – Unlike table salt which does not contain the same minerals because of the way it is processed; sea salt is a great natural source of dozens of trace minerals that our bodies need to survive (among them, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium). And, its known to help in avoiding electrolyte imbalances. Salt, used in moderation, enables cell hydration and plays an important role in balancing the stress hormones during exercise. Salt reduces adrenaline levels and supports overall metabolic health.
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(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
Copyright © 2018 Kymberley Pekrul | G-Free Deliciously | gfreedeliciously.com
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I’m Kymberley: former nonprofit director, now full-time blogger. My husband Mark, and I share our rural home in the heart of Central Wisconsin in an area known as “The Holyland.” We love visiting cool places across America, learning about the food, the people, culture, and the local history. Our favorite things are eating great food, dark chocolate, weekend coffee, lazy summer days, all sorts of music, and time with our grandchildren.
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