Good Morning and Happy Mother’s Day:
Before I begin this week’s installment, I want to give a special shout out to a mother that has been with me trough thick and thin for the last seven years. RBI (Ribby), my boxer, commonly referred to as RBI RIB suffered a mild heart attack last week and almost left us. Fortunately, Tracy and I were there to revive her! Yes people, CPR seems to work on dogs too! A tragedy surely averted! And thanks to you all who have shown your love and concern for “our” dog!
And, on that note, since today is a day that families often come together, I would like to “talk” to you about one family in particular that is often misunderstood. No, not the Kardashians, this is not TMZ. I am “talking” about the family of substances called Electrolytes!
As you all probably know, the balance of electrolytes in our body is essential for the normal function of our cells and organs. And yes, as their name would seem to indicate, when they become ions in our body, they have the capacity to conduct electricity which is essential for the proper operation of our central nervous system.
However, unlike Kimberly (Kim), Khloe and Kourtney, some of the members of the Electrolyte family are not as well-known. But similarly to the “K Sisters”
Without getting into too much boring detail, these siblings, Sodium (Salt), Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Phosphate, Calcium, Chloride and Bicarbonate, all combine to; keep the body hydrated, maintain regular heart and brain activity and balance blood acidity levels. Believe it or not, too little OR too much of any one or more of these can cause problems that range anywhere from kidney and/or liver disease, to irregular heartbeats and even death.
So, how does one know when there is an imbalance? First and foremost, the only REAL way to tell if you are truly lacking in one or more of these charged ions is to have your doctor perform a blood test. Therefore, if you notice a regular decrease in the amount or dark color urine, often suffer muscle spasms or twitching, numbness, confusion, irregular heartbeats; notice you are more lethargic, sluggish or drowsy than normal, you should be tested.
On the other hand, if you OCCASIONALLY “suffer” these symptoms after exercising intensely (for 90 minutes or more), being sick with the flu, diarrhea or vomiting, you can try to self-hydrate by ingesting any of the following salt-heavy food items: hamburger, chicken breast, soup, Jell-O or grapefruit.
What about a “sports” drink? If so, which one? Well, I am sure you won’t be surprised that I am against most, if not all sports drinks. There is way TOO much of the aforementioned electrolytes for the “general population’s” use. And, as previously stated, even an “overdose” of electrolytes can be problematic – causing the body’s organs to work overtime and potentially break down. Even though Gatorade, Powerade and the like are marketed to everyone, they are truly for those that continuously push themselves and produce enormous amounts of sweat. Unless it’s an emergency, DO NOT drink them without diluting in water. The calories alone might kill ya. Well, they won’t actually. But they will kill your diet.
So, how can you prevent getting an electrolyte imbalance in the first place?
Many companies are now offering bottled water that is enhanced with electrolytes and serve as a great alternative to those sugar and caffeine-filled sports drinks. They are low in carbohydrates (sugar) and usually lack any artificial colors and flavors. Most importantly, you can drink electrolyte-enhanced water endlessly without any of the above-noted “side effects”.
Ah, but as with anything, there is some controversy. The Food and Drug Administration does not recognize the efficacy of MOST claims to the benefits of electrolyte-enhanced water (EEW). Furthermore, studies have shown, that unless someone is expelling fluids at a rapid pace (either through exercise or being ill), regular water and a balanced diet of lean meats, healthy legumes, dairy products, fruit, and green leafy vegetables is sufficient for electrolyte replacement.
That being said, there are three prominent EEWs on the market today: Vitamin Water, Smart Water and Perfect Water. Vitamin Water has too many calories and additives for me to “recommend”. Perfect Water has less than one calorie and does claim to have B vitamins, five milligrams of sodium and some calcium. But, the makers of “vapor distilled” Smart Water (Coca-Cola) must think we are stupid. It’s just water! Nothing else! They claim that calcium chloride, magnesium chloride and potassium bicarbonate (which are “electrolyte sources“) are “added for taste”. Really? So, if you are looking to increase your electrolyte intake and are willing to spend anywhere from $1 to $3 a bottle, I would recommend choosing Perfect Water. But honestly, plain water is perfect for me. And it should be for you.
So, I don’t know if I have provided any clarity as to the need for you to regularly drink electrolyte enhanced water. I guess that’s why I found the comparison to the Kardashians so apropo. They exist, but I don’t know why.
And, on this day in history? May 12, 1932, the body of kidnapped son of Charles Lindbergh was found in Hopewell NJ.