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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tip of the Week: Balancing Your Electrolytes

Electrolytes (we talk about them a lot as Bikram Yogis!) are equally as important as staying hydrated with water. It is important to know that when we sweat you lose electrolytes and losing these minerals can greatly effect how you feel in the hot room and outside the hot room. If you are low on electrolytes before class you can become slightly deficient during or after class. Below is a list of important electrolytes to pay attention to:
  • Calcium – aids muscle contraction

  • Magnesium – aids healthy cell function

  • Potassium – helps regulate pH balance

  • Phosphate – helps regulate pH balance
  • Sodium – regulates amount of water in the body

Electrolytes help regulate the fluid balance in your body and, when present in proper amounts, ensure that your muscle fibers contract efficiently and powerfully during exercise. They also help regulate your blood pressure, blood pH and nerve function. If your electrolytes are out of balance, you may experience symptoms such as muscle cramps, twitching, heart palpitations and weakness. Sodium and potassium are the electrolytes most subject to imbalance as a result of sweating during intense exercise.

The following information on electrolytes is from Bikram Yoga Albuquerque. Their website can be found by clicking (here).



Most people think of a sweaty athlete drinking a colored sports drink when they hear the word electrolyte. On the contrary, there are many ways to get fresh natural electrolyte replenishment from foods such as oranges, coconuts and honey, plus, save a few dollars by preparing your own sports drink that your body will embrace.


Water is the main ingredient as it will act as the primary carrier of the electrolytes. It must be as clean as possible to work optimally. If you do not have the luxury of a home bottled water dispenser, simply boil water in a tea kettle. Incidentally, distilled water--the captured vapor from boiling water--is the best. It is very close to pure water, having almost all trace elements such as minerals, pollutants and other contaminants, removed. If you want distilled water, it's best to purchase it because collecting the vapor is difficult to do at home. Sometimes you can ask your bottled water carrier if they offer distilled water instead of spring. Tap water should be your last resort.


Electrolytes are basically salts. Salts keep your body's electrically conductive to maintain cell voltage for receiving or passing along information. Regular table salt works fine as long as it contains sodium chloride, which almost all salts are made of. Some also have potassium iodide, which is also excellent for your cocktail. If you can locate fine grain salt, it dissolves much faster. Using a mortar and pestle on regular salt work just as well.


Oranges, grapefruits, tangerine, lemons and limes--try to always have these on hand as they are the best ingredients for electrolyte replenishment. Oranges are a particularly good choice. This is why you may have seen many athletes gorging themselves on juicy slices. Citrus fruits are great, even alone, for electrolytes. However, adding some other ingredients can enhance the effect. 

Containers and Recipes

When you make your electrolyte drink, make sure that you're using a container that you like to travel with. If you like your container it will increase the chances that you will indulge in your drink concoction more often.

The Lip Twister - tart and sweet

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 whole squeezed orange (or one frozen can of orange juice)
  • 1 liter of water

Easy Sweet - not too sugary

  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Stevia (natural sweetener) or honey
  • 1 liter of water

Mix It Up - use a blender

  • 2 bananas
  • 3 cups of coconut milk or 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cup of water and ice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Fast and Dirty #1 - bare bones approach

  • 2 lemon halves squeezed into a glass
  • 2 orange halves added
  • Squirt of honey
  • Four shakes of salt
  • Fill the glass with water and gulp down

Fast and Dirty #2

  • 1 bottle or can of V8 vegetable juice (any flavor)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of orange juice


In addition to making your own electrolyte drink there are many foods that will help with replenishment as well. These include: avocados, broccoli, yogurt, tofu and apricots.

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