Often, we will hear people mentioning “electrolytes” or “you should probably try and get some electrolytes in…” But what are those little guys, and do we really need them?
What are Electrolytes?
Weirdly enough, electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They are moved through the fluids in your body and are used for important body functions. Electrolytes are essential for regulating blood pressure, maintaining the correct pH of your blood, helping your muscles contract, and controlling your fluid balance.
As you can tell- these small things pack a big punch!
Electrolyte Water vs. Regular Water
We are sure you have been to the store, or run into a convenience store to grab a bottle of water, and seen on the shelf that says “electrolyte water.” You may have even thought, “Well, it must be good for you!” and grabbed it. However, we all know sometimes it is hard to know what the difference is.
Contrary to what you probably think, the water you get straight from your kitchen sink does contain some electrolytes! Tap water or plain bottled water will contain trace amounts of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
On average one litre of tap water will contain 2-3% of your daily reference intake (RDI) for sodium, calcium, and magnesium, but little to no potassium.
Whereas the same amount of an electrolyte sports drink will have up to 18% of the RDI for sodium and 3% of potassium, but little to no magnesium or calcium.
What are Electrolytes Good For?
Electrolytes are good for quite a few things, however one of the biggest is replenishing the water and energy lost during a workout or other physical activity. During exercise you need more fluids to replace what you lost in your sweat.
If you lose as little as 1 or 2% of the water in your body, you are going to experience decreased strength, focus and speed.
In addition, your sweat has electrolytes. With every litre of sweat you lose, you will also lose 1g of sodium.
How to Pick an Electrolyte Drink
So, now what? As we all know there are a million options for everything these days. Picking a product can be difficult. When you are shopping for an electrolyte beverage it is always good to look for your standard label red flags first. Look for minimal ingredients and avoid artificial sweeteners.
Other than that, keeping an eye out for a balanced ratio of electrolytes. Things like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium should be in there!
We tend to be a little partial to Innergize!. It has all of the basic electrolytes with the added benefit of simple and complex carbohydrates to provide energy, and it tastes delicious!