Are you still chugging Gatorade or Propel after an intense workout to “replenish your electrolytes”? It’s time to upgrade! Why? Research shows that the benefit of these products lies in the mineral content, not the 30-plus grams of sugar. Not to mention, the irrelevant and harmful addition of food dye and artificial sweeteners. As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I want my patients to always remain well-hydrated and to support their mineral status. What do I look for in a hydration support product to be Whitness Nutrition approved? Read on!
But, you may be wondering, what exactly are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that support cellular function on a molecular level and help regulate the body’s cellular function via osmosis. These minerals carry an electrical charge that supports muscle function, which is important regardless if you’re an endurance athlete or gardening on a hot summer day. Electrolytes come in the form of sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium, all of which offer a different benefit and when combined in the form of an electrolyte supplement support the body’s cellular needs. Electrolytes are found in our food, specifically in fruits and vegetables.
Whitness Nutrition Tip: the more plentiful in whole foods and diverse your diet is, the less likely you are to need excessive hydration supplementation.
Contrary to popular belief, glucose CAN help you absorb electrolytes, but you don’t NEED glucose to absorb electrolytes. This is helpful information for those who are following a low-carb lifestyle. This is just another reason to toss those electrolyte supplements touting the need for sugar!
- Sodium: regulates fluid balance and overall blood pressure, and works closely with potassium. Sodium also helps our muscles to expand and contract.
- Potassium: balances the raising effects sodium has on blood pressure to keep it stable, as well as helps with nerve impulses.
- Magnesium: helps convert glucose to energy, which in turn regulates blood sugar. It also helps maintain muscle contraction and relaxation, which is necessary for aerobic exercise.
- Chloride: maintains osmotic pressure and works closely with sodium.
- Phosphorus: helps deliver oxygen to the muscles.
- Calcium: essential for nerve transmission that signals muscle contractions and nerve function.
We lose electrolytes through the body’s natural process of excretion; usually sweat and urine, But in times of sickness, this rate increases. Replenishing electrolytes isn’t just essential for athletes! During times of increased excretion such as illness or exercise, replenishment is key. Even in your sleep, you sweat, and lose electrolytes! Starting your day with electrolytes can be a powerful tool to add to your routine.
The Best Tips for picking an electrolyte
- Avoid electrolyte beverages and supplements that offer more harm than good. Read your labels (always!) and identify any sources of added sugar. LiquidIV for example contains primarily sugar, and not enough electrolytes to really help your body replenish the electrolytes it needs.
- Check in with your body! Being aware of the signs of dehydration such as fatigue, nausea and muscle cramps can reduce the effects of dehydration. Those cramps you get in your calf after a long run? It’s likely a sign of a sodium deficiency due to sweating, and could be resolved with an extra dose of pre-run electrolytes rather than a painful post-workout banana.
- Choose a functional product! To properly replenish your electrolytes, you should choose an electrolyte supplement that keeps you well hydrated and nourished without the unnecessary added sugars or artificial ingredients. A great option to consider? Ultima Replenisher, an optimally designed and dietitian-approved electrolyte beverage enhancer. It has function and flavor met; Ultima uses a small amount of organic stevia extract for and real fruit extract for the vibrant colors and delicious flavors. Ultima has zero sugar or carbs, making it an easy addition to any and all lifestyles.
A unique aspect of Ultima that I find beneficial is that their formula is slightly lower in sodium than most electrolytes supplements. The standard American typically consumes 3x more than the necessary daily sodium intake. This is a great alternative for our patients who are still consuming a more traditional American diet.
Did you know, a medium Chick-Fil-A waffle fries contains 240 mg of sodium, about 10% of your daily recommended sodium intake!? It is easy to see why the American diet quickly meets the daily sodium quota and why sodium isn’t necessarily the top priority in an electrolyte supplement. And, Ultima contains higher quantities of magnesium and potassium, both of which the standard American diet tends to fall short in.
Ultima supports our same mission; keeping patients active and properly nourished all year round! Whether you’re training for a marathon, trying out hot yoga for the first time or just spending time in the summer sun, hydrate and replenish your body with Ultima. Follow this link to receive 20% off your first order of Ultima – I personally recommend the Watermelon or Pink Lemonade!