Saturday, July 27, 2013

Homemade Electrolyte Drinks

Make Your Own Gatorade Type Drink or Flavored Water

First - What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and can conduct electricity. A balance of minerals/electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and organs.When we are sweating in this hot weather we are losing essential minerals/electrolytes. For our purposes we are mainly concerned with potassium and chloride replacement. 

Potassium is a positive ion found inside our cells and is needed for normal cell function. A couple of important functions are regulation of the heartbeat and muscle function. Orange juice is high in potassium. An 8 oz. glass has 450 mg. That's 10X the potassium that a quart of Gatorade has! 75 mg are in 1/4 c. of lemon juice which is almost twice what Gatorade has.

Chloride is a negatively charged ion found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Chloride plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids. Table salt or sea salt is mainly sodium chloride with other trace minerals.

If you drink water and eat a salty snack and a piece of fruit to replace what you've lost that is great, but don't drink quarts and quarts of water and not snack. You can become the victim of water intoxication. It sounds funny, but trust me, it's not. That puts a whammy on your body's cells because of salt dilution. Theoretically, cells could swell to the point of bursting. Tissue swelling can cause an irregular heartbeat and allow fluid to enter the lungs. Swelling of brain tissues can cause seizures, coma and ultimately death unless water intake is restricted and a hypertonic saline solution is administered. I am pretty sure that's where I was headed one summer. I was drinking lots of water too quickly and not eating.

Good, old-fashioned lemon juice contains high amounts of vitamin C, the B vitamins, A, vitamin E, retinol, folate and folic acid. Minerals that are found in lemon juice include calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Most of the essential minerals that are required by the human body are present in lemon juice. Cool! Oranges, limes , pineapples, grapes & coconut water likewise have good stuff we need like the all important potassium.

Now that you've had your health lesson, on to making our drinks! Pick your juice or juice combo. You can make Salty Lemonade, Grape, Orange, Lime, or a combination of these.

You'll need:
  • Sea Salt
  • Sugar, Honey or Stevia
  • Juice or fruit to get the juice- Such as: Lemon, Lime, Orange, Pineapple, Grape...
  • Coconut water is another possible ingredient 
  • Sports jugs, or quart jars
I think the favorite has become the Salty Lemonade. You can substitute stevia for the honey or sugar, but just remember that cuts down on the carbs also. With a sweeter juice you may or may not want as much sugar or honey.

You may want to warm up your juice to get the sugar & salt dissolved.

Add concentrated orange juice to grape or lime if you want. Taste it after adding the salt. You may decide to add more of something at this point even though it's concentrated. Add water and ice to top off your quart jar or bottle. Taste again, remembering it's supposed to be like a flavored water, not full-strength juice.

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