The sun shines in all its glory proclaiming the arrival of summer, and it is indeed a joyful season of donning comfortable cotton dresses, shirts, shorts and heading to the beach for a game of frisbee or volleyball. Moreover, the blazing weather provides the perfect excuse to indulge in ice creams, frozen yoghurts and iced teas, coffees, that too guilt-free.
However, the excessive heat in summers, apart from triggering seasonal fevers and colds, also induces profuse sweating, dehydration which invariably results in loss of electrolytes in the system. And as electrolytes are vital for carrying out several key functions in the body, doctors and nutritionists recommend consuming them as part of the daily summertime diet for ample hydration and good health.
So What Are Electrolytes And Which Foods Are High In These Nutrients?
Electrolytes are basically nothing but charged minerals and salts i.e. ions that enhance fluid absorption by the cells and regulate bodily fluid levels. Besides balancing the amounts of water in the system, electrolytes also aid in maintaining blood pH levels, relaying nerve impulses and signals from the heart, muscles, nervous system to other body parts, promoting nutrient absorption in cells and preserving normal rate of heart beat, healthy brain functions. Minerals and salts such as potassium, sodium, calcium, bicarbonate, chloride, magnesium, phosphate are some of the common electrolytes in the body.
In healthy individuals, electrolyte levels are generally optimal, but in times of intense physical activity, scorching hot climates, rigorous gym workouts and maladies like diarrhoea, kidney disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, the mineral ion concentrations tend to fall below normal. While electrolyte imbalance due to underlying disorders requires proper medical treatment, when it arises owing to heat exposure and sweating in the summer season, it can be easily resolved.
Of course, water is the elixir of life and works wonders in combating dehydration, however, it does not contain adequate quantities of minerals needed to replenish electrolyte levels in the body. Furthermore, energy drinks available in stores are certainly tasty and infused with mineral salts, but are often loaded with sugar, artificial preservatives, food dyes and chemicals too, that hamper the wellbeing of the system.
Well, fret not, for a plethora of natural bounty including fruits, vegetables, dairy produce are packed with minerals and salts that confer noteworthy merits for balancing electrolyte levels, as well as for boosting immunity and uplifting overall health. These comprise citrus fruits of oranges, lemons rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, besides bananas imbued with potassium, spinach, kale, milk, yoghurt laden with calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, avocado filled with magnesium, potassium and tender coconut water, coconut milk – both overflowing with an array of mineral salts.
Nourishing Summer Drinks To Replenish Body Electrolyte Levels:
Coconut Lemon Smoothie
1 cup tender coconut water
½ cup coconut milk
1 – 2 tbsp jaggery powder
A few mint leaves
3 – 4 ice cubes
Pour the tender coconut water and coconut milk into the mixer/blender.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into this mixture and add the jaggery powder, ice cubes.
Puree this blend in a mixer/blender until a smooth concoction is obtained.
Transfer this blend into 2 glasses, top it off with fresh mint leaves and sip on this refreshing coconut lemon smoothie to gain respite from the blistering summertime heat.
This coconut lemon smoothie is a marvellous drink to restore electrolyte balance in the body and it is vegan too, being ideal for those who are lactose intolerant or on the path to adopting a green diet. Coconut water and coconut milk supply a wealth of minerals, as well as hydrate the body, while lemons are brimming with vitamin C, antioxidants to remove toxins and detoxify the system. Containing vast reserves of iron, jaggery helps combat anaemia and enhance the production of healthy red blood cells, while mint leaves possess abundant quantities of menthol – a bioactive plant-based compound that cools the system and lowers excessive body heat.
Avocado Banana Orange Green Smoothie
½ cup spinach and kale leaves
1 cup low-fat milk
2 -3 tbsp honey
Chop the avocado into medium chunks, after removing the peel and pit/seed
Remove the peel of the bananas, oranges, cut them into small pieces and carefully pick out the seeds from the orange slices
Transfer the avocado, bananas, oranges, spinach and kale leaves, milk, honey, crushed ice into the blender and pulse on high till a homogenous mixture is formed.
Pour this decoction into two mugs and gulp down this invigorating avocado banana orange green smoothie to combat electrolyte imbalance, exhaustion and dehydration in the sweltering summers.
This avocado banana orange green smoothie is the perfect post-workout hydrating drink in summers, rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and containing ample calories to supply copious electrolytes, as well as build strong muscles, bones, joints, promote metabolism, immunity, boost energy levels and beat fatigue. Avocado, orange, banana supply potassium, calcium, magnesium to balance electrolytes in the body, as well as pivotal vitamins, antioxidants to enhance health and prevent disease. Spinach and kale deliver dietary fibres, B vitamins for smooth digestion and metabolic processes, while milk supplies proteins, calcium for fortified bones, muscles and honey provides antioxidants to enrich lung functions and respiratory health.