We all know that we need to drink water to keep hydrated. We also know that we need to drink even more water than usual in the intense heat of this summer. But did you know that to keep properly hydrated, we need to ensure we are getting enough electrolytes?
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are salts and minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium and bicarbonate. They can conduct electrical impulses in the body. The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance can include twitching, weakness and, if unchecked, seizures and heart rhythm disturbances. Older adults and people on certain medications such as diuretics or ACE inhibitors, often used to treat high blood pressure, are particularly at risk of electrolyte imbalance.
How do we get enough electrolytes?
We normally get sufficient electrolytes from our regular diet, particulary from fruit and vegetables.
But important electrolytes are lost when we sweat, which is why so many people drink sports drinks after exercise. The same situation occurs when the weather is really hot, or any other incidences of rapird loss of fluids such as after a bout of diarrhea. But sports drinks aren’t the answer……..
Say no to sports drinks!
But don’t rush to buy sports drinks to stay hydrated. Apart from the cost, they are normally full of artificial colours and sugar or carcinogenic artificial sweeteners, all of which have health implications. (Read are article on aspartame.)
Drink filtered water with sea salt and lemon.
As is often the case, nature can give us everything we need! Drinking filtered water with sea salt and lemon can really help keep you properly hydrated.
But let’s be clear: firstly, we are talking about a tiny pinch of salt; and secondly, this MUST be mineral rich sea salt NOT normal table salt which is stripped of most of its mineral content.
Lemons are refreshing and citrus fruits also contain calcium and potassium.
You can sweeten this with a little raw honey if you prefer something a little sweeter. But again, it must be RAW honey which is totally unheated, unpasteurised and unprocessed. Raw honey is full of minerals and antioxidants.
Coconut water is also full of minerals and is an excellent alternative to sports drinks.
Don’t drink too much!
No, I’m not talking about drinking too much alcohol, although of course that is obvious. But be aware that it is possible to drink too much water. In truth, almost any food or drink taken to excess can be bad for you, even if it is considered a ‘superfood’ in its own right. Read out article on Too Much Water
So do enjoy the sunshine, but ensure you stay properly hydrated.