Electrolyte Essentials: 7 Healthy Drinks to Stay Hydrated
Stay hydrated. That’s good advice if you’re playing sports, going on a hike, or plan to be outdoors a lot. You can thank a team of scientists at the University of Florida (Home of the Gators), for making this stick.
In 1965, they created a drink in the lab to help football players stay in the game, perform better, and recover faster. And it worked to support hydration and replace electrolytes lost from sweating during activity.
Every wonder why electrolytes matter?
Electrolytes are minerals ( sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate) with an electric charge. Your body needs electrolytes to:
- Support muscle function, contraction, and movement
- Regulate blood pressure
- Control nerve function
Know what happens when you’re low on electrolytes or develop an imbalance? It isn’t pretty.
When electrolyte levels drop too low, it usually shows up in the form of dehydration, fatigue, muscle spasms and tightness. That can happen from excessive exercise or sun exposure.
But electrolyte levels can drop too low because of vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sweating, too. When it happens, you feel miserable. Fortunately, you can ward off electrolyte imbalances with the right fluids (water isn’t enough). Give these drinks a try to stay hydrated and healthy:
- Coconut water
- Electrolyte-infused water
- Fruit juice (orange, cherry, watermelon)
- Plant-based milks (almond, rice, soy)
- Pickle juice
- Sports drinks
Aim to drink about 64 ounces of water per day. If you’re exercising a lot or live in a hot climate, you’ll need to drink more electrolytes, too. So you’ve got your drinks covered to protect your health? What about your meals?
If you need a little help following a heart-healthy diet, check out the breakfast, lunch, and meal options on the Low-Sodium Menu.