Staying hydrated, especially during hot weather or when taking part in sports, is essential for our health and general wellbeing.
Dehydration can lead to headaches, a loss of electrolytes, muscle cramping, and even organ failure in extreme cases. This is why staying sufficiently hydrated and replacing electrolytes lost via our sweat, is so essential.
Electrolytes are minerals, or rather, they’re essential minerals that the body needs to function correctly. Minerals such as sodium, calcium, and potassium are used by the cells in the body to conduct electrical charges. These charges are how the muscles contract.
The very same electrical charges also play key roles in chemical reactions within the body.
As electrolytes are essential, the body needs them but cannot produce them. This means that they need to come from dietary sources. When lost via sweat, they need to be replenished. Here’s a look at 4 ways to replenish electrolytes.
Drink coconut water
Coconut water is not only very tasty and refreshing, it’s also a fantastic beverage for hydration, as it is loaded full of electrolytes.
Just one cup of coconut water provides nearly 15% of your recommended daily intake of potassium. In fact, coconut water is so great for hydration, that in some countries, hospitals use it for hydration in IV drips, helping to keep patients hydrated and keep their electrolyte levels up.
Consume an isotonic sports beverage
Isotonic sports beverages are also fantastic for people looking to quickly and efficiently replace electrolytes and fluids lost via perspiration during physical exertion.
Isotonic beverages are designed to provide the same osmotic pressure as solutions found within the cells, as well as bodily fluids. They are therefore perfectly designed to replace fluids and minerals lost in sweat.
The downside to isotonic sports drinks is the fact that, as well as being rich in minerals, they’re also high in carbs and sugar, as well as artificial flavourings and ingredients, which are not the healthiest of ingredients for the human body.
Eat a banana
People who are dehydrated and are dealing with a loss of electrolytes, especially potassium, tend to experience painful muscle cramps and fatigue during exercise. A great way to combat this is to consume a banana.
Bananas are a great source of slow-release complex carbohydrates which the body uses for energy. As well as this, they are a wonderful source of potassium.
One average sized banana contains as much as 422mg of potassium, which is roughly 16% of your recommended daily intake of this mineral. A banana consumed before, during, or after exercise is a great food for anybody trying to replenish lost electrolytes.
IV hydration therapy
Finally, the most effective way of replenishing lost electrolytes, and keeping existing levels topped up, is with IV hydration therapy. This does things that water alone simply cannot.
IV hydration therapy utilizes a special solution of essential and non-essential minerals, electrolytes, vitamins, fluids, amino acids, and other nutrients needed by the body. The solution is then administered intravenously via an IV drip inserted directly into the vein.
IV hydration is beneficial because it gets into the bloodstream quicker as it bypasses the stomach and misses the digestive process. This means that more of the electrolytes, fluids, and nutrients can get into the body quicker, and in larger volumes.