The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
I’ve always thought the word electrolytes would make a really cool band name. Imagine sitting in a stadium with thousands of other roaring fans, when the announcer introduces your favorite music group: “Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the Electrolytes!”
With overwhelming excitement, you jump out of your seat shouting “wooooo!” with arms flailing wildly in the air. The music is so energizing it moves you to break out in dance. You feel so full of life!
While I can’t promise you’ll get the same experience from sipping on an electrolyte replacement drink, these beverages can help replenish essential minerals lost through sweat from prolonged exercise and hot/humid weather. And that will make you feel pretty darn good.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that perform essential roles in the body. They help maintain healthy fluid levels, regulate blood pressure and are critical for heart, nerve and muscle function. In addition to long, sweaty workouts and scorching summer heat, illnesses that involve diarrhea or vomiting can also cause you to lose critical electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Having any of the following symptoms can be a sign you are experiencing an electrolyte imbalance:
- Muscle weakness, cramps or spasms
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
Electrolyte Replacement Solutions
Exercising doesn’t automatically render the need for an electrolyte replacement drink. Hydrating with water only is fine if your workout is under an hour. However, you may need to replenish your electrolytes if you’re exercising in really hot weather.
Workouts lasting longer than an hour—or even just spending a lot of time outside in hot, humid weather—should be followed up with an electrolyte replacement drink. Here are three great solutions found at your local Heinen’s.
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside of young green coconuts. Not to be confused with coconut milk, which is a milky-white liquid extracted from the grated pulp of mature coconuts.
Naturally sweet, crisp, and refreshing, Harmless Harvest contains the only ingredient that true coconut water should have—organic coconut water. With naturally occurring electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, Harmless Harvest is the perfect solution to get your body back in balance after a long, sweaty workout. It’s my number one pick! Look for it in the refrigerated section at Heinen’s.
Nuun Sport Tablets
If you’re on the go, Nuun Sport is a convenient way to replenish your electrolytes. Just grab a bottle of water, drop in a Nuun Sport tablet and wait a couple of minutes for it to dissolve. One serving provides sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium. It’s sweetened with stevia leaf extract and contains only one gram of added sugar. Check out one of Nuun Sport’s many flavors in Heinen’s Wellness Department.
Trace Minerals ConcenTrace Drops
ConcenTrace is a concentrated complex of more than 72 trace minerals sourced from Utah’s inland sea. It offers a natural, easy and bioavailable way to replace the trace minerals our bodies are lacking, especially electrolyte minerals lost through sweat, like magnesium, potassium and chloride.
ConcenTrace contains no added preservatives, flavors or sweeteners and has a very strong taste. It helps to begin with 10 drops mixed in 16 ounces of water for 3 consecutive days. Each day thereafter, increase the serving by 10 drops up to ½ teaspoon (40 drops) once or twice daily. I’m up to 30 drops per day, which I add to 24 ounces of water and drink right after getting out of bed in the morning.
If you’re looking for something with more flavor, Trace Minerals Electrolyte Stamina Power Paks may be for you. Look for ConcenTrace and Power Paks in Heinen’s Wellness Department.
Whatever the season, staying hydrated with plenty of pure water is always crucial. Step two is eating a nutrient dense diet filled with an abundance of vitamin and mineral-rich foods, like vegetables, fruits and leafy greens. Step three is replenishing your body with additional key electrolytes when necessary.