Macronutrients often steal the limelight in terms of nutrition, these being the nutrients that the body needs in large amounts – carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, there’s another group of nutrients that while only needed in small amounts, are also hugely important for good health. This group are called Micronutrients which include vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Today I am focusing on minerals and how that relates to Electrolytes, a word often thrown around amongst dancers and athletes. Plus my very favourite way to get electrolytes is shared below, so keep reading!
Minerals support body cells and structures and work to regulate many body processes, for example, the metabolic process that turns the food we eat into energy. All minerals are essential in maintaining normal health however some are required in larger amounts, these are called Macro-minerals and others only in small amounts, known as trace minerals. It’s interesting to note that no nutrient/vitamin/mineral can change how our body functions alone – it’s a delicate balance, a dance of some sorts!
Everything we do is controlled and enabled by electrical signals running through our bodies. It’s a cool concept isn’t it? The combination of certain chemicals (minerals) and water ensure the electrical charges in our bodies work properly in all of our cells, including our muscle cells. These electrical impulses run along the nerves just like a row of twinkling fairy lights and cause a contraction in your muscle. For dancers specifically, it’s easy to see why we want all those rows of fairy lights to be twinkling brightly throughout our performances, so our muscles are always passing along the message.
The minerals which dissolve in water form electrically charged ions – Electrolytes. A lot of us know of Sodium Chloride (salt) being a commonly known electrolyte. Potassium has also come into popularity recently with the exponential rise of Coconut Water into the mainstream health sector. Coconut water is often touted as nature’s electrolyte, being very high in potassium. Yes, for natural products becoming health stars! To be fair though, it’s the delicate balance in particular of sodium and potassium, known as the sodium-potassium pump that literally acts to keep the right amount of each electrolyte in and out of the cells all the time.
As well as the salt content of your bodily cells and surrounding fluids, calcium, magnesium and potassium are also important in fluid balance of your muscles. If your balance of electrolytes is wrong, you can get muscle cramps because the impulses are not firing correctly and muscles contract in spasms. Another mineral pas de deux is the synergistic relationship between Calcium and Magnesium – again one is kind of lost without the other. I will be writing soon about the specific importance of Magnesium and how I use it to optimise performance and calm my nervous system meanwhile.
And a last note on electrolytes, as I mentioned earlier, the electrical signal jumping from cell to cell in optimum body communication relies on minerals being dissolved in water. They rely heavily on water to move through the body effectively and be involved in all these reactions that keep us functioning at our best – so Hydration is paramount. Sometimes just drinking more water in the first place can make all the difference. You may be adequately supplied with minerals but they don’t have the transport (water) they need to get around.
Now we know a little more about electrolytes and the role they play in how our cells and ultimately how we function, you might be asking a few of these questions…
Does this mean I need to drink something like Gatorade when I’m dancing, training, or exercising?
Are sports drinks like Gatorade really good for me?
Gatorade upsets my tummy, is it maybe the sugar or colour additives?
So do we need to drink Gatorade or is there a better option?
Gatorade is regarded as a scientifically formulated, heavily researched sports drink whose electrolytes absorb quickly for advanced hydration. Gatorade ingredients include: water, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), sucrose syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, modified food starch, red 40 and glycerol ester of rosin. YUCK! It always makes me feel sick in the stomach, nodding to the high-fructose corn syrup there, and in my opinion we can do better in terms of more balanced electrolytes rather than just sodium and potassium.
Enter Centre Stage, my favourite Electrolyte…. Ultima Replenisher. This stuff is the real deal. I came across it in Whole Foods Market when we toured to New York a few years ago, I could barely believe my eyes that such a product existed. I bought two tubs and some sachets to try the flavour range and I was hooked ever since.
So why is it so good you ask?
- Ultima Replenisher is an advanced, balanced electrolyte drink, giving you 8 critical electrolytes
- It provides these essential electrolytes roughly in proportion to what is lost in human perspiration
- It uses minimal but complex carbohydrates for ultimate absorption
- Electrolytes are best absorbed with proper amount and type of carbohydrate, too much sugar and the absorption is slowed by digestion which can makes you feel sick. No sore tummy with Ultima Replenisher.
- It does not contain soy, gluten, MSG, stimulants, sugar or any artificial ingredients- YES!
- It contains no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, it’s vegan and uses 100% non-GMO ingredients.
- You just add water, it can be taken hot or cold, consumed as desired – the electrolytes being in balance means you will never get too much of one in particular
- Sweetened with stevia, the only known safe sugar alternative and only the water-extracted stevia leaf extract itself
- It comes in 5 yummy flavours – Cherry, Grape (my pick!), Lemonade, Orange and Red Raspberry
- It comes in a tub of 90 servings, 30 servings and in boxes of 30 sachets (perfect for touring/travelling/hiking)
- Did I mention it’s Delicious, refreshing and thirst-quenching?
You can see in the table below why I choose Ultima Replenisher as my favourite electrolyte product:
I have noticed a huge difference in how my muscles feel, my hydration levels and energy levels since consistently using this product, especially on heavy dancing days. Another bonus, I no longer gravitate towards sweets or lollies pre-show as quick pick me up. The naturally sweet taste of the drink helps of course but being adequately supplied with minerals plus well hydrated means I just don’t have the sweet cravings in the first place! I wish I had known this earlier in my career.
While they don’t ship internationally direct from their website, you can buy Ultima Replenisher here and which ships to Australia. Or pick some up when you are visiting the USA or get friends to send some over. I must mention too, I am in no way endorsed or sponsored by this product, it really just is my favourite one out there and I truly believe in the product, the company, the quality of ingredients and the message.