The heat is on, so replenish your electrolytes - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Health Advice

The heat is on, so replenish your electrolytes

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Paula Owens

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Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011 4:00 pm | Updated: 9:19 am, Mon Oct 3, 2011.

Whether you just finished an intense workout, or your child plays an outdoor sport, or you're a construction worker with a physically demanding job, anytime you sweat, spend time in the sun and intense heat, you experience a loss of electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium.

The main electrolytes found in body fluids are sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride. Electrolytes are used in the maintenance and repair of all tissue, the utilization of amino acids, and as the basis of every physical and neurological function.

The key is to replenish your electrolytes and stay hydrated.

Make your own healthy electrolyte beverage

• 48 ounces of spring water

• 8 ounces of coconut water

• 8 ounces of either Triple Berry Juice or Tart Cherry Juice (found at Trader Joe's)

• 1 to 2 teaspoons of unprocessed Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt

The unprocessed sea salt adds minerals, creates an alkaline environment, is very nourishing for your adrenals and does not elevate blood pressure.

Himalayan sea salt contains more than 84 trace minerals. The amount of salt used will be different for each person.

How do you determine the amount of salt to use? Your beverage should not taste salty. Those who are protein types tend to need more salt as do those with adrenal exhaustion.

How much water should you drink daily? Here's my calculation: Multiply your body weight by .7 - this formula gives you the total number of ounces for you individually to drink daily.

Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do for health, vitality, longevity and fat loss.

Most people are chronically dehydrated, including those with high blood pressure.

Adults can lose up to 2 1/2 quarts of fluid per hour through perspiration, which includes fluid, sodium chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

According to a 2008 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, dehydrated exercisers produced more stress hormones while reducing the release of testosterone.

Symptoms of dehydration include back pain, joint pain, constipation, dry skin, fatigue, headaches, toxic build up, plus more. Gallstone formation is a direct result of dehydration.

Those that experience leg cramps are usually dehydrated, have electrolyte imbalances and mineral deficiencies, specifically magnesium.

If you urinate a lot, you may not be absorbing the water or are deficient in minerals.

A person with low aldosterone can urinate 15 to 20 times a day. Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that regulates fluid and electrolytes in your cells and blood.

Coconut water and coconut juice are two of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man. Coconut water and juice help to prevent dehydration, balance body pH, improve digestion and boost metabolism.

Eight ounces of coconut water has more potassium than a banana. I love using coconut water in my post workout shake. Once again, read the list of ingredients as all coconut water is not equal.

Tart cherry juice is high in potassium and beneficial for recovery following strenuous exercise. It increases total antioxidant capacity and recovery of muscle function, lowers inflammation and lipid peroxidation.

Consumption of tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in older individuals.

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking tart cherry juice for seven days before and during a strenuous running event minimizes post-run muscle pain.

There are many commercial electrolyte sports drinks available on the market. Most popular sports drinks contain approximately 2 cups worth of sugar calories in 1 gallon of beverage.

Make sure you read the list of ingredients as the majority of commercial sports drinks include caffeine, excessive amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals and artificial colorings.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens is a nutritionist, fitness expert and weight loss coach with more than 20 years of experience. Reach her at www.PaulaOwens.com.

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