staying hydrated with natural electrolytes (recipes included!)
During the summer months it is especially important to stay hydrated. And typically, clean and filtered water is the best practice. Drinking a tall glass of water between meals throughout the day, and simply sipping water with meals, will deliver the portion of liquids needed to stay hydrated.
It is during more strenuous exercise, or after a serious sweat session, that you may want to incorporate added minerals and electrolytes to replenish your body. However, traditional sport drinks have lots of added sugar and some even have unnatural food dyes and additives you want to avoid.
Let me introduce to you to two of my favorite natural beverages to replenish vitamins and minerals and maximize hydration. Plus some best practices to optimize water metabolism.
In Ayurveda there is a natural electrolyte drink that consists of water, citrus, real salt and honey. These are the essential ingredients in Gatorade or Powerade without all of the extra sugar or chemicals. When there are less ingredients that take time to break down the easier it will be for the body to assimilate the nutrients and the less inflammatory responses will be triggered.
I make this beverage on a hot day, after a workout or even spending time in the sun.
Natural Electrolyte Drink:
1 pint of room-temp filtered water
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
1 tsp raw honey (local if possible. If you are vegan you can swap for a preferred sweetener. This sweetener helps your blood sugar recover from a hard workout)
Swirl ingredients together and enjoy a cup! It may take a moment or two for the honey to melt into the water completely.
A second natural super-hydrator is fresh coconut water. The components of coconut water are similar to the hydrating fluids in our body, making it a very effective drink to incorporate to replenish vitamins and minerals.
The best coconut water is raw from the nut itself. However, some brands, like Harmless Harvest, are bottling raw coconut water that can be found in most stores.
Coconut Water Electro-Elixir:
Water from a fresh young coconut or 6 ounces from a bottle or canned variety that is purely coconut water
A squeeze of lime (or lemon) with wedges added
A sprig of fresh mint
A slice or two of fresh cucumber
1-2 ice cubes to serve
Do we really need electrolyte drinks?
Our body does need vitamins and minerals and traditionally we get them from a well rounded diet full of fruits and vegetables. However, in more recent times the soil we use to grow our food are stripped of natural minerals due to large scale monocrop and inorganic farming. This means our food is less nutritious than it was in the previous century.
As a result, it is wise for us to:
a) Eat a whole food diet of organic ingredients and shop from local farmers when able.
b) Supplement with minerals either through daily vitamins or through thoughtful beverage preparation like the recipes above.
Hydration best practices for everyday:
Our digestion is optimized when we have proper enzymatic function, a balance of stomach acids and proper emptying of the upper GI tract. Proper digestion has everything to do with hydration because we want our bodies to process the liquids we drink to its utmost ability. When it is optimal we are extracting the natural minerals as well as distributing the water to all our of tissues and organs so we have properly hydrated skin, hair, eyes, muscles and blood.
Here are some of my best practices to optimize our digestion in order to have healthy hydration without needing to consume unnecessary sports drinks.
1. No ice. Sorry. Ice water, and ice drinks are essentially like pouring ice over our digestive fire. We don't want to douse and drown our stomach. Ice should be reserved for special drinks and it is best not to use it daily.
2. Drink water away from meals and only sip (non-iced) water with meals. This gives your body the opportunity to process the water when you're not eating and optimizes digestive function when you are.
3. Sip warm or room temp water throughout the day. Warm water is the easiest to digest and sipping it often, rather than chugging a tall glass, allows your body to process smaller amounts at a time.
4. Let yourself experience thirst at times. On regular days, like when at work or the office, and you're not sweating much, it is ok to feel thirsty.