Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Obsession with Electrolytes

If you know me you may know I've got quite a complex about hydration. If I haven't had a full eight glasses of water in a day, along with some form of electrolytes I do not go to bed feeling healthy. While I've always been told by fellow runners and other athletes that it is very important to consume electrolytes, especially when exercising for long periods of time. I decided it was about time I figure out why the heck electrolytes are so important in prevent dehydration. So here it goes...

What are Electrolytes?

In chemistry terms, an electrolyte is a substance that contains free ions which makes the substance itself electrically combustible. Muscle tissue and neurons are electric tissues in the body that require electrolytes. Muscle contraction requires various electrolytes, and without a sufficient amount will lead to muscle weakness or even severe muscle contractions. In non-science genius terms, electrolytes are essential to maintaining hydration to all parts of the body.

Sodium and potassium salts are important for replenishing levels of water and electrolytes after dehydration cause by exercise, a night of too much drinking, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

You don't need to down pricey sports drinks all of the time to maintain proper levels of electrolytes. You can make your own sports drink at home! The following recipe has a 6.2% within 2 liters of water.
  • 10 tbs. sugar (5/8 cups or 120 grams)
  • .75 tsp Sea salt (4.2 grams) or Morton’s lite
  • 1 package of unsweetened Koolade mix for flavor
  • Water to make 2 liters

It's really important when consuming electrolyte replacements though to include all the electrolytes your body requires: sodium chloride, potassium, magenisum, and calcium. All of these are available in sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade.

Electrolytes are also found in some foods many of us eat all the time:

Exhaustion is related to dehydration, so it makes sense that when we are tired we crave water and foods and drinks rich in electrolytes.
That's all I've got for now. Happy Halloween everyone!

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