When I walk down the grocery aisle and spot the fluorescent drinks out of the corner of my eye I wonder how much colouring are added to those drinks. When drinks glow, they have to go! The concept of an electrolyte drink is a brilliant one. As we sweat we need to replenish are sodium and potassium stores. Electrolytes play an important role in proper muscle contraction. Sodium and potassium help promote retention of ingested fluids as well, thereby preventing dehydration. Carbohydrates also play a role as they help to supply immediate energy and assist with rehydration. Unfortunately many of the drink options available also contain many unwanted ingredients including artificial sweeteners and added coloring.
If you really enjoy sport drink beverages, review bottle labels as ingredient lists vary. Gatorade contains sucrose and dextrose while Powerade’s sugar content comes from high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient has been shown to have numerous health risks when consumed in excessive amounts.
What are some healthier options for sports drinks that can ensure proper hydration?
If exercising for less than one hour, drink water! The body does not need extra carbohydrates or electrolytes. If you do not like the taste of water, squeeze a lemon and add the juice for a more refreshing taste.
My favorite option for replenishing fluids during and after an intensive workout is coconut water. It is a rich source of natural sugars, vitamins, and even electrolytes. Each brand has varying amounts of these so refer to labels and ensure there are not any additional sugars or flavoring. Studies also show that coconut water is better tolerated when compared to the common electrolyte drinks.
Although coffee can be helpful in providing caffeine to increase athletic endurance, avoid consuming greater than 300mg per day. For couples trying to conceive, lower quantities are recommended. Higher intake of coffee can promote dehydration.
Before venturing out on that day trip or quick run, try to drink water at least 1 hour prior to exercise. This can prevent against dehydration. Sound simple? It is! Drinking water is not usually considered until after an exercise but can give a great amount of energy.
Other natural supplements that can enhance athletic performance and support exercise recovery include green tea, Matcha and Kombucha tea. Talk to your ND to find out if any of these may be appropriate for you. Have fun staying hydrated this summer.