Tag: salt

When to Replenish Electrolytes

When to Replenish Electrolytes

Sweating buckets during exercise may be a sign of an intense workout, but it may also be a cue to rehydrate and replenish lost electrolytes.

Physical function may hang in the balance if electrolytes aren’t replaced after working out. By choosing the right food or sports drink, getting those electrolytes back in the body is no sweat, but when and how much to eat or drink depends on a few factors like exercise intensity, weather, and individual differences in sweating.

The Threat of Sweat

As long as electrolyte levels stay in balance the body works A-OK. But, when exercise and sweat are added to the equation, the balance can begin to shift. As the body loses electrolytes through sweat, it may start to feel not so OK with muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, mental confusion, and even kidney problems. And without proper replenishment, muscles may continue to feel weak during the next workout session.

Electrolytes are minerals that break into small, electrically charged particles called ions when dissolved in water. They are present wherever there’s water in the body (think blood, and cells), and by regulating the body’s fluids, they are essential to physical activity. Sodium and chloride (a.k.a. salt) may be the most well-known electrolytes, which maintain normal blood pressure and support nerve and muscle function, but there are a few others to round out the list, including calcium which aids muscle contraction, magnesium which aids healthy cell function, and potassium and phosphate which help to regulate energy and pH balance.

Integral Minerals

The body loses water faster than electrolytes, so it may not be as important to replace minerals during shorter workouts (less than one hour). But, drinking water to re-hydrate is important no matter how long the exercise routine. Since everyone is different and every exercise session is different, there is not a one-size-fits-all plan for electrolyte replacement.  Worth its salt as a general guideline, replenishing electrolytes becomes important when a workout session goes longer than 60 minutes.    

 More specifically for the endurance athletes, the amount to drink after exercise must be greater in volume than has been sweated out. So to get a more accurate number, get the calculators out. Athletes should weigh in before and after exercise, consuming 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.

There are several food and drink choices when it comes to replenishing electrolytes. One common way is swigging on a sports drink or even milk. But watch out for drinks with added sugar. Look for drinks that have 5-8% carbohydrates, 50-80 calories per 8 ounces, with 120-170 mg sodium. Chowing on a quick snack is another good way. Salty foods should top the list (peanut butter, pickles, tomato juice) as sodium is lost in higher amounts.  Leafy greens, tomatoes, celery, bananas, yogurt, nuts, and beans are a few of the choices to strike a balance with the rest of the electrolyte team to get the body back on track and ready for its next challenge.

Easy Ways to Reduce FAT-SALT-SUGAR from Your Diet

Easy Ways to Reduce FAT-SALT-SUGAR from Your Diet

Lowering the saturated fat from your diet and reducing added salt or sugars is an easy place to start on your way to a healthier way of eating. If you have been in the habit of eating packaged foods, your pallet has been trained to crave all the “wrong” things. So it is important to find a way to make healthy foods taste great, so they become your “go-to” foods. Make them delicious without all those addictive additives that often resemble a science experiment gone awry. Here are some great tips from Dr. Seymour Weaver.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet Without Compromising Taste:

1.Use water, wine or low fat, sodium free stock in place of oil or butter when sautéing. You will not miss the flavor since the oil or butter is usually only used to keep whatever you are cooking from sticking to the pan. If the liquid evaporates just keep adding a little more until the food is cooked.

2.Instead of putting butter or margarine on your potatoes, top them with a dollop of fat free sour cream instead. Sprinkle with a little chives or your favorite herbs or spice blend and you will never miss the butter.

3.Skip the butter when making sandwiches and go with fat free condiments like your favorite mustard or fat free mayo instead. Most of the time we reach for the butter by habit rather than necessity and you will never miss it.

4.Replace cream or whole milk with skim milk in all of your favorite recipes. If the recipe calls for butter, substitute it with a healthier alternative such as olive oil.

5.Buy only the leanest cuts of meat and trim away any fat and skin from chicken. Marinade the meat to tenderize it and replace the flavor of the fat. Whenever possible, bake instead of frying and if you do have to pan fry something, use non-stick cooking spray or brush the meat with lightly with olive oil rather than adding oil to the pan. Making sure you pre-heat the pan will keep the food from sticking.

FIVE Tips for Reducing Sodium in Your Diet Without Losing Flavor:

1.Replace the salt shaker on your table with a sodium free spice blend. Most of the time we reach for the salt shaker out of habit rather than because our food needs it. A spice shaker on the table will satisfy that “shake” habit and add flavor to the food. There are tons of ready-made spice blends available or you can create your own custom blend using your favorites.

2.Trick your pallet. Sour and salt are recognized by the same group of taste buds. Instead of adding salt to your foods while they are cooking, try adding a splash of lemon or lime juice or flavored vinegars instead. Balsamic vinegar is particularly good to cook with as it adds a ton of flavor.

3.Read the labels. If you must purchase any packaged or canned goods, get in the habit of comparing labels for sodium levels. Chances are pretty good that a different brand may be a healthier alternative to the brand you are used to buying.

4.Add aromatics such as finely diced raw onion, scallions or shallots, roasted or raw garlic, fresh ginger or fresh herbs to foods as a hit of flavor instead of salt. Not only do these add flavor, they also bump up the nutritional value of your foods.

5.Make your own salad dressings. These are super easy to make and they taste much better than store-bought dressings. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian spices and minced garlic are a sodium free dressing that is packed with flavor. Experiment and find combinations you and your family will love

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