Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Apple Juice Hydration Sports Drink - homemade recipe tastes great with some vinegar added

A little vinegar gives apple juice a zesty, sweet & sour flavor enhancement

Diluted vinegar drink recipes have a long history for hydration of farmers working long days in the hot sun. Lots of recipes are available for Haymaker's Punch, Switchel, Secangevin, and Oxymel drinks made from diluted vinegar and sweetened with honey or molasses. My initial reaction to the idea of vinegar drinks was negative. Fortunately I kept surfing and reading long enough to find Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, commercial drinks that were unexpectedly good. Lemon juice is harsh and acidic, but when diluted and sweetened most of us can enjoy it as lemonade. Likewise, vinegar-containing drinks can be appreciated as tangy, sweet & sour drinks.
apple cider fruit juice

EatDrinkBetter blog has a good do it yourself recipe for an Apple Cider Vinegar Sports Drink. This recipe has less sugar than is typically found in commercial sports drinks. My modified version of the recipe contains more apple juice to add flavor and to achieve the isotonic sugar concentration that is beneficial in a sports drink. Isotonic drinks that are absorbed into the body most rapidly are needed to help maintain good hydration in athletes and workers who are exercising vigorously.

apple cider vinegar

Apple Juice + Vinegar makes a great Sports Drink Hydration Recipe

My initial attempt to make an apple juice sports drink was unsuccessful. Apple juice is not my favorite fruit juice straight out of the bottle and I liked it even less when it was diluted to make a sports drink using my homemade sports drink recipe. Adding the stevia and apple cider vinegar from the EatDrinkBetter recipe produced a really great tasting apple juice sports drink recipe containing:
2 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (= 4 tablespoons)
1/4 tsp stevia concentrated liquid extract (e.g. NOW Foods, NuNaturals or other brands)
1/4 tsp lite salt (optional, provides sodium and potassium electrolytes, prolongs thirst)
5 1/2 cups water (final volume = 1/2 gallon)

Critical roles of electrolyte salts in sports drinks

The lite salt in the recipe serves three important functions in a sports drink. 1) Normally we get all the electrolyte salts we need from food. Workers and athletes who lose lots of salt in their sweat during prolonged activities without access to solid food may benefit from getting some electrolytes from their hydration drink. 2) Salt also prevents the sports drink from quenching thirst. Workers and athletes who are preoccupied with their activities typically do not drink enough to remain properly hydrated. Salty drinks ensure that people remain stimulated to continue drinking more to help maintain adequate hydration during intense, prolonged activities. 3) Sodium salt plus sugar is needed for the most rapid mechanism of water absorption into our body tissues. The small amount of sodium that occurs naturally in apple juice may be sufficient for this, so I often make my sports drink recipe without adding any lite salt if I think I'm getting enough salt from food around the time of my activities. 

More about:
Athletes need good hydration for optimum muscle performance - BRT Insights 09sept2009.
Food & Drink for Outdoor Activities - BRT Insights.

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