Hydrating with natural electrolytes
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Hydration is key to the natural detox function in your body. Dehydration can lead to less regular bowel movements as your body conserves water. If you aren't urinating as much as usual in a day, you may be dehydrated.
Causes of dehydration include:
hot summer days or intense workouts = sweating a lot
diarrhea (acute or chronic) = fluid loss
insufficient water intake
Symptoms of dehydration vary by the electrolyte out of balance, but include:
Not all electrolyte formulas are equal. Commercial electrolyte drinks like Gatorade have artificial colours and flavours, and more sugar than is necessary. Sugars are an important part of rehydration, but should be in the right proportion with water, salt and bicarbonate. Sucrose or glucose are preferred to fructose (unless diabetic). Your body's major electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate - though magnesium and calcium are also important electrolytes (see my blog on detox for info on magnesium!). Healthy kidney function is also important to maintain electrolyte balance.
Here's a homemade electrolyte recipe - to rehydrate as needed:
1 litre of filtered water
6 tsp sugar (try date sugar or maple syrup for added potassium)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate - optional)
optional - juice (1/4-1/2 cup): lemon (fresh), orange, or pomegranate
Some food sources of electrolytes:
coconut water (especially high in potassium and magnesium, low sugar)
watermelon (higher sugar content, potassium and magnesium, with a little calcium and phosphorus) - tips: eat the "white" part of the rind for a cooling effect on a hot day; adding a pinch of sea salt will help replenish sodium lost from sweating!
carrot soup/juice (spinach, beets & celery too)
rice congee (rice, water and salt)
If you'd prefer pre-made electrolytes, try these:
Salt Stick (caps) - contains a balance of buffered sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium - without added flavours/sweeteners - add a bit of sugar/juice to this mixture if dehydrated/low blood sugar!
ElectroMag (by CanPrev, individual sachets) - containing sodium, bicarbonate, calcium, potassium as well as larger doses of vitamin C and magnesium (also contains natural flavours, stevia and xylitol) - add a bit of sugar/juice to this mixture if dehydrated/low blood sugar!
Pedialyte unflavoured (liquid) is another option - though it doesn't contain magnesium - you can add coconut water, or some banana. It contains zinc which supports diarrhea, but take with a little food to prevent stomach upset.
This information does not constitute medical advice. Please remember to seek out medical support if you're experiencing symptoms of dehydration - use these tips as additional support only, or to prevent dehydration - never in place of personalized medical advice!
Cover image: Photo by JULIET FRÍAS on Unsplash