Ask any athlete what their go-to product for electrolyte replacement is and I guarantee that almost everyone will say Gatorade. Or Powerade. Or any other -ade product. The marketing campaigns of these products has been quite successful. While most people think that sports drinks are doing their body a favor, in reality these “aids” are doing more harm than good.
Here are five excellent reasons to ditch the sports drinks for good!
- Sports drinks that you can find in the store are loaded with refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup. They have almost as much sugar as soda!! Just think of someone who is trying their hardest to exercise and lose a little bit of weight. Chugging a sports drink after that exercise isn't going to help their weight loss efforts at all.
- Along with the electrolytes that are included in sports drinks, you will also find artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors. None of these are food and none of these belong in your body. Their only role is to create a flavor and appeal that is simply missing from the product. These ingredients certainly don't replace electrolytes.
- There is a LOT of processed salt in these products. This is understandable because these drinks are designed to replace the sodium lost during high intensity exercise. I would like to stress “high intensity exercise” here because if you are only working out at a moderate level and are not sweating profusely, these drinks can do more harm than good.
- The acidic nature of sports drinks can be very damaging to teeth. The citric acid present in the product softens tooth enamel, and your dentist probably wouldn't be too happy about that.
- For most people these sports drinks are useless. The average person exercising most likely isn't performing at a vigorous intensity for longer than an hour. In this case, a drink of water would be more beneficial than any sports drink.
So, what is the alternative for an endurance athlete that must replace the electrolytes lost during an intense workout?
Coconut water. Coconut water is a natural source of potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. Besides electrolytes, coconut water also contains B vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and antioxidants. Simply, coconut water is a good, good food.
My husband is a runner and after his LONG runs, he needs something more than water. Tamara was kind enough to share a healthy sports drink recipe with me that I would like to share with you today!
Making this drink is so simple you may wonder why you didn't think of it yourself. Or, maybe you have! We would love to see it!
- Coconut water (I like to choose a product that is NOT from concentrate)
- Lemon or lime (or a mix)
- Healthy pinch of Sea Salt
- Honey (a teeny bit if you like a sweet drink - we think it is delicious without)
- Basil (a leaf or two, chopped)
- Fill your water bottle with ice and top off with the coconut water.
- Squeeze an entire lemon or lime into your drink and top it off with a healthy pinch of salt.
- Add the basil and shake it up to combine (be sure to put the lid on first, ha!)
I must give my husband credit for adding the basil to the ingredient list. On a hunch, he added the basil, and it was a good move. This drink is so versatile, so have fun adding to the flavor mix!
Please share your creations with us in the comments section!