Two things almost every endurance athlete drinks — coconut water and sports drinks. Beware, they may not be good for you! Coconut water has a slimy texture I can’t warm up to, but beside that most of them aren’t close to being ‘natural’. Many sports drinks are full of artificial sweeteners, brominated vegetable oil and colors, so make sure you read the labels closely. With marathon training amping up and 5 classes a week at the yoga studio, I’m in need of electrolytes from a natural source!
Many people think electrolytes are unique chemicals and found in only certain drinks, but they are everywhere. Electrolytes are simply sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate. These electrolytes work to keep the body hydrated, a balanced pH, rebuild damaged tissue and regulate nerve and muscle functions. They are important for everyone, not just endurance athletes.
Making your own electrolyte drink is easier than you thought using natural ingredients. I just made this smoothie to refuel after my long run!
Here are some good sources of electrolytes:
- Coconut water gets a good reputation because it is high in potassium, but of all the coconut waters tested only Zico actually contained the high amounts that they claimed according a Forbes article. Most of them are highly processed with added sugars and other additives. If you want coconut water, you can get your own natural, raw coconut water from young coconuts.
- Foods high in potassium — bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, dates, raisins, potatoes, oranges and beet greens.
- Foods high in calcium — oats, chia seeds, orange juice, milk (I prefer almond milk), kale, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, almonds, and figs.
- Bicarbaonate — we all have this in our home, baking soda! It has many amazing uses, raising the pH of our bodies and helps reduce cramps and soreness. I prefer Bobs Red Mill baking soda.
- Foods high in Chloride — the main source of chloride is salt, but it is also found in some foods like tomatoes, celery, olives and seaweed.
|Mango Orange Electrolyte Smoothie|
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup water (or coconut water)
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup mango chunks
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- Add all the ingredient to a blender.
- Start on low, slowly increasing to high.
- Blend until smooth.