Heat Wave!

Pioneer Valley residents and Vermonters are a hardy folk.  The temperatures are creeping up into the 90’s this week, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one who will head to the garden to do some weeding and planting in the late afternoon sun.  Or go for a jog.  Or take advantage of any number of the fabulous outdoor opportunities this area has to offer.

This time of year I tend to notice an increase in the number of people complaining of leg cramps, restless leg syndrome and headaches.  All of these things can be caused by dehydration and/or a minor imbalance in electrolytes in the body.

Electrolytes are positively and negatively charged particles in our bodies, such as the components of table salt, sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-).  We need electrolytes to keep our bodies functioning properly.

In the hot sun we tend to sweat a lot, which can decrease our amounts of both water and electrolytes.  This is why sports drinks such as Gatorade are so popular with athletes.  My problem with these drinks is that they are full of sugar, and high sugar diets can lead to a myriad of health problems (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, increased inflammation, decreased immune function, etc….).

I recommend making your own electrolyte solution which is tasty, low sugar, and gives you the basic replenishment you need.  

Simply mix together:
1 liter of water
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 cup of fruit juice (if you have problems with blood sugar, you can decrease the amount of juice, or use a squeeze of lemon juice instead)

In addition to staying hydrated, but sure to wear a hat if you are out in the sun, and apply plenty of sunscreen to reduce your risk of skin cancer.