by Emily Davies
Our body is 65-75% water. We need water for various chemical reactions to occur and it’s also the main component of blood. Three common signs of dehydration are thirst, darker urine color and/or lower than usual body weight. It’s important to drink water throughout the day, with special attention during water-depleting activities.
Physical activity creates heat and sweat dissipates heat. Heavy exercise can produce 20x the heat compared to when at rest. Athletes working intensely in the heat can lose 2.5L of sweat per hour! Additionally, endurance activities lasting longer than 90 minutes or high-intensity workouts lasting around 60 minutes, depletes our body’s glycogen stores (our body’s primary source of energy).
It’s important to consume a sports drink when we train at this level–although water’s equally welcome. However, certain sports drinks should be consumed with caution. For example, the food colourings alone added to these drinks have been linked to various attention deficit disorders in children and developing intestinal cancer (specifically in Yellow No. 5). Let’s be real, your sports drink doesn’t need to be a bright synthetic color for it to work and taste good. Here’s my take on a sports gel to consume when you reach that glycogen-depletion window with the role each ingredient plays in the process.
If you don’t have dates you can substitute them for 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Alternatively, you can substitute the maple syrup for eight to ten pitted Deglet Noor dates, the most widely grown date, which is amber-coloured and has a lower fructose content.
4 Deglet Noor dates, pitted (glucose replenishment)
½ cup 100% maple syrup (glucose replenishment)
1 tbsp lime zest (alkalizing)
2 tsp lemon zest (alkalizing)
½ tsp dulse (balances electrolytes)
sea salt, to taste (balances electrolytes)
- Cover the dates, if using, in warm water for five minutes. Drain.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender.
- Keep in the fridge for 1 week. Take 1 tbsp during exercise along with water throughout the workout.
Another dehydrating activity is drinking. Alcohol suppresses our anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH stops you from peeing, allowing you to hold onto water. Furthermore, a high-sugar intake causes osmotic diuresis (sugar exits through the kidneys unabsorbed and carries water with it to be excreted as urine). More often than not, we have sugar and alcohol together, a recipe for disaster, usually resulting in an unpleasant hangover. This is my take on an alcoholic beverage that keeps you hydrated and tastes like a tangy spritzer.
Feel free to omit the stevia or substitute it for ½ tablespoon of maple syrup.
1½ cup sparkling water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp stevia
½ tsp sea salt
1 oz vodka, optional
2 to 4 ice cubes
- Mix together all ingredients until combined.