For years you’ve been told to drink eight or more glasses of water a day. People bring a bottle of water to work meetings, have another bottle in the cup holder of the car for short trips across town, and ladies carry them in their purses. We’ve become obsessed with drinking water.
Drinking enough water is important, and if you’re exercising or working outdoors in the heat you might think that increasing the amount you drink is the best way to avoid dehydration or heat related illnesses. But excessive water intake can flush your system of important nutrients resulting in a condition called hypnotremia.
Hypnotremia, or water intoxication, occurs when you drink so much water that your blood and sodium concentrations (electrolytes) get out of whack. Early symptoms of hypnotremia are similar to dehydration. Symptoms include feeling light headed or dizzy, nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation and confusion. Untreated, hynotremia can result in more extreme conditions including seizures, a coma or even death.
Many athletes and people that work outdoors at length in the heat need to do more than just increase the amount of water they drink. They need to increase their sodium intake too. Most do this by drinking Gatorade, Powerade or other commercial sports drinks that advertise that they are effective in maintaining electrolyte balance.
It’s true that these sports drinks contain significant amounts of sodium. They also have artificial colors, phosphoric acid and a ton of sugar. Gatorade has three and a half teaspoons of sugar per eight ounce serving. The low calorie versions replace the sugar with controversial artificial sweeteners.
You can avoid all of the ‘extras’ that commercial sports drinks have to offer by making your own using a quality sea or Himalayan Mountain salt.
Home Made Sport Drink Tips
Here are a couple of tips before you get busy making your own sports rehydration drink:
1. Choose A Quality Salt –Not all salt is the same. For your sports drink you’ll want to use a quality salt that contains additional minerals. I did my research because I’ve been hearing about Himalayan Mountain salt being the mother of all salts, however, there are numerous articles that say Himalayan Mountain salt is no better than regular table salt. I couldn’t find a Himalayan salt that listed any ingredients other than ‘sodium’ on the label so I decided to buy Redmond’s Real Salt that provides a full disclaimer of contents. Redmond’s salt contains 10 minerals in addition to sodium.
2. WHO Rehydration Solution – The recipe below is based on the World Health Organization’s oral rehydration solution. Be aware that it will taste saltier and not nearly as sweet as the commercial products that you may be used to. You can adjust the amount of sodium and sugar or add the solution to a juice or tea to dilute it more and add flavor.
3. Add Cucumbers or Fruit – Fill a glass with ice, pour in the sports drink and then add slices of lemon, lime, and orange. Try adding sliced cucumbers and other fruits to enhance the flavor and increase the nutrients in the water.
4. Be Creative – Use coconut water or brewed tea as the base and add additional enhancers like Chia seeds and Emergen-C. You can get creative with your concoction, find out what works best for you and turn your beverage into a rehydrating energy drink.
Basic Home Made Sports Drink Recipe
This recipe is based on the oral rehydration recipe published by the World Health Organization:
– 1 quart of water, brewed tea or coconut water
– 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably Redmon’s Real salt, sea salt, or Himalayan Mountain salt).
– 1 -2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener. (You can use honey, aquave nectar, stevia, etc.)
– Place slightly warmed liquid in a glass container.
– Add sea salt and sugar or sweetener
– Stir or shake until the ingredients are dissolved.
– Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Adding back the sodium that you lose when you sweat is critical to eletrolyte balance that can’t be restored by drinking plain water. Making your own sports drink is a healthier option and less expensive than buying the store brands. In my concoction (pictured above) I used green tea as the base, then I added lemon slices and chia seeds.
Do you have a favorite recipe for hydration? Drop it in the comment section below.
*Note – People that have hypertension or other conditions where limited salt intake is recommended should check with their doctor before trying this recipe, or consuming any of the commercial sport drinks.
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