healthy sports drink

 healthy sports drink


Did you just return from an intense workout at the gym or attend a Soul Cycle class? You probably broke a good sweat and are feeling great but a bit dehydrated.  When you sweat during your workouts, you loose essential minerals and electrolytes. Replacing and replenishing these lost minerals and electrolytes is key to your recovery.

It may seem logical to reach for a sports drink to rehydrate, but many of them are filled with artificial ingredients and loads of sugar. They will provide you with electrolytes but in my opinion are not the best choice for your post workout recovery.

Electrolytes 101:

What is an electrolyte anyway and why do we need to replenish them?  Electrolytes are certain nutrients that are responsible for maintaining the balance between the intracellular (inside the cell) and extracellular (outside the cell) cells. This balance is critical for hydration, muscle function, nerve impulses, regulation of heart rate and pH levels. It is normal for electrolyte levels to fluctuate throughout the day. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium, bicarbonate and chloride with each serving a very specific role in the body. There are a few ways to replenish your lost electrolytes- with foods high in electrolytes and plain water. This is actually what your body prefers for adequate hydration.

Your kidneys are the main organ that helps your body maintain electrolyte concentrations by filtering water and electrolytes from the blood, returning some to the blood, and excreting any excess in the urine. On a daily basis the kidneys work to balance consumption and excretion of electrolytes and water.

These are some of my top nutrient dense food options that are high in electrolytes:

Potassium rich foods: bananas, dates, coconut, avocado and raisins.

Magnesium rich foods: spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.

In addition, you will need to replace fluid loss as well. Here is a simple and easy recipe for a healthy sports drink to refuel after your workout without the added sugar or additives. You can drink this along with any of the high electrolyte options I mention above to replenish those lost electrolytes.

Adapted from Well and Good

½ quart 365 Coconut water
½ quart Reishi hibiscus tea
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 TBS glutamine powder
1TBS liquid stevia
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all together and serve

Coconut water: A  fantastic source of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes (like potassium, magnesium, and sodium), and phytonutrients.The rehydrating effects of coconut water are similar to those of carbohydrate/electrolyte “sports drinks,” but without the added sugars or artificial colors.

Hibiscus tea: Sometimes referred to as sour tea, this tea has numerous benefits ranging from lowering blood sugar, supporting healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, preventing oxidative stress and reducing obesity. It is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties which make it a go to post workout bonus.

Glutamine Powder: Promotes muscle growth, digestive and brain health and is known to fight some cancers and high blood sugar.

Himalayan Salt: Helps to control fluids in the body, which impacts blood pressure. It is necessary for muscle and nerve function and helps balance electrolytes.

Hopefully this is helpful and gets you on track  to refuel for optimum recovery. So often we fall into the trap that we need to replenish with store bought power bars and sports drinks when these are actually not the best option. These simple and easy alternatives will help you towards a speedy post workout recovery while still maintaining your health goals.