As consumers become more aware of their daily nutritional needs, the race is on to create and sell the best electrolyte drinks. Electrolytes, minerals that conduct electrical impulses in the body, are an important part of human health. Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sodium bicarbonate, potassium, and sodium chloride control fluid balance in the body as well as support muscle contraction and energy generation. No wonder these micro-elements are so sought after by hard core athletes, weekend warriors and anyone interested in good health.
Electrolytes are naturally found in many foods as well as water from mineral-rich sources. Aware of the do-good effects of drinks with electrolytes, some brands are shifting their brand identity away from natural, a word that is wildly overused to the point of becoming meaningless, to functional, a term that still resonates with consumers. And why not? Fruits are naturally rich in electrolytes. Bananas, coconuts and apricots and great sources of potassium, making juices based on these fruits a natural to enter the functional beverage category.
Cheribundi, the cherry people, urge all of us to “discover the powerful benefits of tart cherries.” Cherries, a natural source of melatonin, can help “regulate your body’s sleep cycle naturally.” Packed with anthocyanins, antioxidants that give cherries their deep red color and offer anti-inflammatory properties, cherries are destined to be included in more functional foods and beverage blends. Until then, Cheribundi built a few cherry juices targeting the wellness consumer:
Tart Cherry Rebuild
Powered with eight grams of whey protein, a dairy protein that contains a range of amino acids, Tart Cherry Rebuild is targeted at athletes. The anti-inflammatory properties and amino acids will help tired muscles recover.
Tart Cherry Relax
L-theanine, an amino acid naturally found in green tea and used to treat high blood pressure and anxiety, is added to Tart Cherry Relax. In partnership with cherry’s natural melatonin, the combo is designed to promote deep relaxation.
Coconut Water (Coconut Juice)
Though coconut water endures as a juice trend, few companies market coconut water’s natural electrolytes. ZICO Premium Coconut Water, however, embraces coconut water’s nutritional profile. “…we’re excited by the fact that ZICO® Coconut Water contains 5 electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus, that help keep you hydrated.” The only electrolyte missing from ZICO’s nutrition profile is sodium bicarbonate.
And, according to one 2007 study, coconut water enhanced with sodium was as good as drinking a commercial sports drink for post-exercise rehydration with better fluid tolerance.
No matter what beverage you select to hydrate and rehydrate, the best electrolyte drinks contain all of the electrolytes for muscle recovery and hydration. And, as ever, be mindful of sugar, added or otherwise. It won’t matter one bit how functional a juice is if you overindulge and risk sugar shock. Then that functional drink is little more than junk.