- Electrolytes are minerals that contribute to our general well-being and aid in healthy muscle and nerve functioning. The vital electrolytes that our body needs are sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate.
- Despite the commonly held belief, widely advertised sports drinks are not the best option for replenishing electrolytes because they often contain a lot of added sugars, artificial colourings, and calories. And consuming too much sugar can result in many diseases as well as slow down your workout progress.
- Drinks like plain water, juices, smoothies, milk, and coconut water are much healthier alternatives to bottled electrolyte drinks because they don’t contain added sugars and flavourings. You can also maintain balanced electrolyte levels by following a nutrient-rich diet.
Many popular electrolyte drinks claim to help with hydration and restocking the body with glucose and electrolytes. But are they the best available option? While some people choose to consume big-name sports drinks during their workouts, many other healthier alternatives will provide you with the same benefits.
Despite the common belief, commercial sports drinks are not a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. They can even have an opposite effect because sports drinks contain a lot of calories and sugar, which can significantly interfere with your progress towards your health goals. Usually, you can get all the necessary electrolytes just by following a healthy diet.
Sports drinks usually contain water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates, but at the same time, they are high in sugar. Consuming too much sugar through beverages can be dangerous and result in a spike in insulin levels and have a negative impact on your overall health.
In this article, we’ll look over more nourishing and healthy added sugar-free alternatives to commercial electrolyte drink which will provide you with all the necessary electrolytes after a workout.
1. Plain Water
Pure water is the best natural way to hydrate your body. It’s essential for maintaining a healthy body and keeping it functioning normally. It’s important to drink enough water to prevent digestive issues, restore energy levels, get rid of toxins in the body, and of course, prevent dehydration.
If you don’t like the absence of taste when you drink plain water, infuse it with citrus fruits or cucumber slices. However, if you’re a professional athlete or a person who exercises more than average, you might need a little more than just regular water.
2. FUL® Sparkling Spirulina Drink
Is seems like everyone is talking about spirulina today. But what is so great about it? Well, this algae is a nutrient-rich superfood packed with essential minerals and vitamins, including the most common electrolytes that our body needs for proper functioning such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, chloride, and bicarbonate. Electrolytes are just minerals that become electrolyzed when mixed with water. Spirulina also contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese. All of them help with muscle and nerve function and aid in regulating blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Thus, beverages supplemented with spirulina are an excellent option for replenishing your electrolyte levels after a workout. There is only one issue - most people absolutely despise the smell and taste of this algae. Sure, some people try masking it by mixing spirulina into food and smoothies but let's be honest, it's messy and it doesn't really work (unless you like your smoothies smelling like fish food). But luckily, there's a solution.
FUL® sparkling spirulina drinks are made with all-natural ingredients and flavourless nutrient-packed spirulina extract to provide you with all the health benefits of spirulina. These refreshing and hydrating drinks come in different flavours, but contain no artificial sugars, unlike many popular sports drinks. Plus, in addition to being a natural energy booster, spirulina also has impressive antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. It's also easy to grab a bottle from the fridge and get on your way without having to deal with spirulina powder.
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water has recently gained a lot of popularity as one of the best low-sugar and high-nutrient drinks. It contains plenty of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. Additionally, it’s a low-calorie drink which is often recommended as an excellent substitute for sports drinks and sodas.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is another natural alternative to commercial electrolyte beverages. It’s been shown to improve physical performance and it’s widely considered to be one of the healthiest hydrating drinks. However, because green tea contains caffeine, it’s not a good option for children. Studies have also found that green tea can mobilise fatty acids, which makes them more available for energy use
While many people use milk only for cereal or coffee, it is a very nutrient-rich product. Milk contains lots of electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, and potassium. Plus, it has a great combination of protein and carbs. It can boost your energy levels as well as speed up muscle tissue repair after exercising. You can go with skim milk, whole milk, or low-fat milk depending on your preferences and diet.
Plant-based milk doesn’t offer as many benefits as cow’s milk, but it still contains protein which can help with muscle repair, as well as some electrolytes.
Another delicious option is chocolate milk. Dieticians claim that it can be consumed as a post-workout beverage that restores your body with electrolytes. Some research also suggests that fat-free milk might do a better job at restoring your hydration and electrolyte levels than any sports drink or even water.
We’re used to bone broth as something our grandma gave us when we were sick, but it’s actually an excellent nourishing food that provides great hydration. It contains protein that is easy to digest, as well as amino acids that improve gut health and reduce inflammation. Bone broth also delivers minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium that our bodies can benefit from after a workout.
7.Fruit & Green Juices
Natural fruit juices are also an excellent option for replenishing your electrolytes. For example, watermelon juice provides almost 6% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium and magnesium. It also contains electrolytes like calcium and phosphorus and L-citrulline - an amino acid that can help improve oxygen transport and athletic performance.
Tart cherry juice and orange juice also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus as well as many antioxidants and vitamins. Researchers have also found that tart cherry juice may help with muscle pain after exercising.
However, fruit juices are typically low in sodium, which is an important component of any sports drink. But you can easily drink some vegetable juice after a workout to replenish your sodium levels or combine fruits and veggies to make a mixed juice. For example, beets boost oxygen production during exercise, lemons prevent inflammation, while spinach and kale contain chlorophyll. You can also add ginger to ease digestion and throw in some celery and cucumbers for extra potassium.
Smoothies are another healthy and refreshing alternative to electrolyte sports drinks. Smoothies are great for digestion and they also contain a lot of electrolytes. If you add some protein to your smoothie, it will also helpmpromote muscle tissue growth and repair. The options are countless and you can mix whatever ingredients you want, including vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and dairy.
Keep in mind that it’s better to consume smoothies not during exercise, but rather before or after. This is because a smoothie will leave you feeling full, which may interfere with your workout.
Pedialyte is a commercially available supplement and a common electrolyte drink usually given to children. It was originally created to help with dehydration that occurs as a result of vomiting or diarrhea. It includes much less sugar than sports drinks but only contains sodium, chloride, and potassium as electrolytes. If you want to try Pedialyte but don’t want to increase your intake of artificial sweeteners, choose unflavoured options.
Is there an electrolyte drink without sugar?
There are plenty of sugar-free electrolyte drinks. For example, sparkling spirulina drinks by FUL® are sugar-free, low in calories, and packed with healthy electrolytes. In addition to filling the body with essential electrolytes they also deliver a lot of crucial vitamins and antioxidants found in spirulina in every serving.
How can I replace my electrolytes naturally?
There are many healthy beverages you can consume to replenish your electrolyte levels after workouts. These include coconut water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, FUL® sparkling spirulina beverages, and smoothies. All of them are rich in essential nutrients and contain only natural sugars, unlike commercially available sports drinks.
Are sports drinks healthy?
Most bottled sports drinks that are sold commercially contain a lot of added sugar and colourings, which may make it harder for you to reach your health goals. Also, consuming too much sugar puts you at risk of developing certain health conditions, such as weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of low electrolytes?
Usually, people get enough electrolytes from their diets. But sometimes the lack of electrolytes can result in dizziness, fast or abnormal heart rate, confusion, lethargy, irritability, nausea, and vomiting.