Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Electrolytes 101

In the summer heat, it is important to drink plenty of water and to replace electrolytes that our body loses. Electrolytes are important to our health. There could be a number of reasons for low levels of electrolytes including...medicines, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or kidney problems. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, electrolytes are, "minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge." Drinking water does not replace electrolytes. That is why sports drinks have become so popular. The electrolytes in our body regulate things such as heartbeat, nerve reaction and muscle function. The explanation continues,

"It is important to keep a balance of electrolytes in your body, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood acidity (pH), muscle action, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat, and you must replace them by drinking fluids. Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate)."

The basic elements of sports drink can be mixed up at home if you don't want to spend the money on sports drinks or if you find yourself in an emergency. This collection of recipes is from livestrong.com. 

Orange Juice Recipe
University of Connecticut Health Center

6 oz. of canned frozen orange juice
6 cups water
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
 Mix, refrigerate. Sip continuously throughout the day.

Rehydration Solution
Rehydration Project

 5 cups water
6 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Electrolyte Replacement Fluid
Southern Utah University

2 qt. water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
7 tbsp. of sugar

Mix together. Add Kool Aid, for variety.
Make ice cubes and ice pops out of the drink, if desired.


Alison said...

That's cool Linda. I never knew I could make it myself. I won't buy those drinks because I think they're too expensive. ;)

Linda said...

I know, they really are! We find ourselves buying them when we are running a lot. We will try these now too.

Mandy1 said...

I know that I never leave comments but I do love reading your blog. I also hate sports drinks so instead I buy an electrolyte replacement powder (Gookinaide). It comes in a container like protein powder and you can add it to water or juice. It comes in great after a long day in the VA sun and humidity.

Linda said...

Thanks Mandy! I have never heard of that. I am going to try it.