This year I'm focusing on exercising mindfully. I've decided that in order for me to really enjoy my workouts and stick to them, I need to listen to my body and pay attention to its cues.
Part of exercising mindfully includes my warm-ups and cool downs, not overdoing it, as well as making sure I'm properly hydrated before, during, and after.
I'm prone to nightly leg cramps – ouch! So I'm also mindful of replenishing my electrolytes, especially if I've had an intense workout. I came up with this Hibiscus Tea Electrolyte Replenishing Drink to help keep my electrolytes in balance without turning to sports drinks that are full of artificial flavors and colors. This electrolyte drink is naturally sweet and includes ingredients chosen specifically for their mineral and vitamin contents.
Taking my Hibiscus Tea Electrolyte Replenishing Drink to the gym has helped get rid of those nightly muscle cramps in my feet and calves as I'm drifting off to sleep. I drink plenty of water during my workouts, but perspiring heavily can rapidly deplete the body of essential minerals like sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
That's why it's important to add them back in. These minerals are essential for heart health, including blood pressure regulation, and preventing those dreaded muscle cramps. I promise you're going to want to keep a pitcher in your fridge!
Electrolyte Drink Ingredients Matter
When the weather starts to warm up, you'll especially want to keep this electrolyte drink on hand--it's incredibly refreshing. I specifically chose the ingredients based on the minerals I wanted to replenish after a workout.
Here's a little breakdown of the ingredients and what they bring to the table:
Hibiscus Tea - potassium and vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties (and loads of iron!)
Orange Juice - provides small amounts of magnesium and calcium, tons of potassium and vitamin C, natural sweetness
Pomegranate Juice - magnesium, calcium, potassium, and one of the richest fruit-based sources of zinc
Coconut Water - natural sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, natural sweetness
Himalayan Pink Salt – sodium, trace minerals
Honey – glucose, fructose, trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium
Hibiscus tea, sometimes labeled "jamaica," is one of my favorites. The dried petals of hibiscus flowers create a beautiful, deep purple-red tea with a tangy-bitter flavor reminiscent of cranberries.
You may find it as a loose tea or most often it will be combined with other herbs and botanicals and sold in tea bags. Either is fine to use here.
If you haven't been drinking hibiscus tea, it's a great time to start. The high levels of potassium and iron are worth it, but so are the anti-inflammatory benefits, which are also beneficial after exercising.
Adding honey is optional. The fruit juices are pretty sweet on their own, but if you have had a particularly intense or long workout, the glucose and fructose in honey will help replenish your energy as well.
I don't call for very much salt because the coconut water already contains quite a bit. It really depends on your personal taste and preference and health needs. If you perspire heavily, its worth adding that extra bit to play it safe.
My favorite way to enjoy electrolyte drinks, especially homemade ones, is over plenty of ice.
Next time you're thinking of reaching for a sports drink, make this natural version instead and reap the benefits of replenishing your electrolytes the healthy way after exercising, spending time out in the sun, or when you're feeling under the weather.
Hibiscus Tea Electrolyte Replenishing Drink
- Large pitcher
- 2 cups hibiscus tea strongly brewed
- 2 cups orange juice preferably fresh not from concentrate
- 2 cups pomegranate juice bottled or fresh
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut water
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
- Honey or maple syrup to taste (if needed)
- Combine all of the liquids in a large pitcher or jar. Stir in Himalayan pink salt. Taste and if needed, add a little honey or maple syrup to sweeten. It should be lightly sweet and refreshing.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to one week. Or freeze in ice cube trays and store in airtight container for several months.
- To serve, fill a reusable bottle with ice and add the electrolyte replenishing drink.
- To brew hibiscus tea, bring 2 ¼ cups water to a boil. Place 4 hibiscus tea bags in a glass measuring cup or other container. Pour the hot water over the bags and allow to steep for 8-10 minutes. Gently press the bags to express any extra liquid and discard. Allow tea to cool before using in recipe.
- Loose hibiscus tea or tea bags can be used here. It's preferable to use an herbal blend if you cannot find plain dried hibiscus and need to substitute with a blend.
Photos by Ana-Maria Stanciu42