Sprouting coconut lying on a sandy beach

It occurred to me this summer that everyone we know drinks Gatorade. Whether at the gym, outdoor sports games or during summer camp, Gatorade is the beverage of choice.

Mainstream sports drinks like Gatorade replenish athletes (young and old) with important electrolytes lost during exercise, but they also contain added sugars, artificial flavors and food dyes.

They are far from being health-supportive.

Electrolytes are minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and sodium) that support your body’s homeostasis. Anything that disrupts the balance of water in your body will disrupt electrolyte balance.

So when you sweat, you lose fluids which affects the concentration of electrolytes in your body. This causes an imbalance. If the water loss is severe, you become dehydrated.

Signs of an electrolyte imbalance to look for are weakness, fatigue, and muscle weakness following exercise or extended time outdoors in the summer heat.

Water doesn’t replace electrolytes so it’s really important to get them from fluids containing these vital minerals. Luckily, there are some great natural alternatives. Here are two of my favorite natural sources of gatorade, perfect for athletes, active adults and children.

Coconut Water

The drink of choice for my daughters, they love coconut water after a long day outdoors.

You can drink coconut water directly from a coconut, or you can purchase it at most health food stores. Personally, I enjoy VitaCoco or Zico, but there are many more alternatives to check out in your local area. Just be sure to read the ingredient list, there should be no added sugars.

Drink it plain or add it to your favorite smoothie.

Hydrating Chia Water

Chia seeds help balance electrolytes and keep you hydrated. Here is my simple recipe for Hydrating Chia Water. Or, replace the water with coconut water for the ultimate electrolyte-balancing elixir.

Your Simple Action Plan:

Upgrade to a healthier after-sports drink with a hydrating coconut or chia water. Choose your favorite and try it out this week!