Dehydrated? You need more than a water bottle! Pick up your fork!
When do we need to drink more than plain water to stay hydrated?
When you do high intensity exercise for more than one hour or in intense heat. Your body loses not only fluids ,but also electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Electrolytes control a huge list of body functions including fluid level, temperature control, cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory rate, digestion and neurological function to name just a few.
Recovery starts before exercise begins.
Foods contain so many more electrolytes as well as vitamins and minerals and health protective compounds than sports drinks. Not to mention, fresh whole foods do NOT contain added sugars, chemical, synthetic vitamins and artificial colors.
-Season when you cook. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Don’t be afraid to season your fresh whole foods when cooking.
-Eat lots of fresh fruits and Vegetables. Bananas are high in potassium but also oranges, melons, sweet potatoes and leafy greens.
-For especially high water content (90% or more) cucumber, iceberg lettuce, celery, radishes, green peppers, cauliflower, strawberries and grapefruit.
-Dairy is not the only way to get calcium. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, legumes, almonds and sesame and sea vegetables are all very high in calcium.
-Magnesium helps fight fatigue. Eat plenty of green veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils and nuts.
Coconut water is relatively low in carbohydrates and rich in potassium, but neither coconut water nor most sports drinks contain enough sodium or carbs for heavy perspiration. For long bouts of exercise you may need to supplement with more carbs (think raisins, dates, or banana) to keep blood sugar up.
Ditch the chemical laden sport drinks and try this hydration drink recipe for a long day on the river, at the beach or on the rocks (pun intended).
1 quart of liquid – plain water, green tea, herbal tea or coconut water
¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt
¼ cup fresh juice – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or any fresh fruit puréed
1-2 Tablespoons sweetener – honey, stevia, or maple syrup
Fresh ginger root – brew in tea or hot water and then cool. Ginger calms the stomach and may help reduce muscle pain
Chia seed are high in omega 3’s , potassium, calcium and antioxidants. Make your own chia gel by pouring 1 cup of water over 3 Tbs of chia seeds. Let it sit overnight in the fridge. Use the gel to stir into your drinks in any amount you like.
Jenna Baker aka Lamb chop, is the chef manager for First Descents program nutrition. She currently lives in Virginia with her three daughters where she teaches yoga and health supportive cooking.