World ORS Day, celebrated on July 29 each year, is the day when the benefits of oral rehydration solutions are highlighted. As the name suggests, ORS is the solution to the problem of dehydration. They are readily available at pharmacies, but in an emergency, you need to know a way to get them. Even if you don’t keep ORS sachets in your kitchen, you are sure to find its ingredients. Read on to find out what these ingredients are and how to make ORS at home.
Health Shots got in touch with Deepika Vasudevan, a Bengaluru-based sports and performance nutritionist, and Tanisha Bawa, a Delhi-based gut health expert and nutrition coach, to find out more about ORS.
What is ORS?
ORS is an oral rehydration solution, specially formulated for dehydration, explains Vasudevan. It contains boiled water or water from a commercially sealed bottle, as well as electrolytes, also called salts. It also contains carbohydrates, usually in the form of sugar. Bawa says electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that play a role in nerve function, muscle contraction, pH regulation, and fluid balance. There may be electrolyte imbalances if you engage in strenuous activity or are ill. They lead to dehydration. Electrolyte imbalances can be harmful to health, so it is important to take action to restore this balance.
Tips for preparing ORS at home
You don’t need too many ingredients to prepare ORS at home.
• 1 liter of clean, safe drinking water (boiled and cooled if possible)
• Sugar (25 grams)
• Table salt (2.5 grams)
• Start by sterilizing a clean container with a lid that can hold one liter of water.
• Add one liter of clean, safe drinking water to the container. If you can afford to boil water, do so and allow it to cool before using.
• Measure and add the sugar to the water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
• Add salt to the solution and stir until the salt is dissolved. Once all the ingredients are well mixed, the homemade ORS is ready to use.
Vasudevan says that if you mix too much salt or sugar into ORS, it can make diarrhea symptoms worse by drawing more water into the intestines. Maintaining the correct electrolyte and glucose balance in ORS is crucial for effective rehydration and to avoid complications. Also cover the container to prevent contamination.
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If you’re looking for a “natural ORS” after exercise or a game, try drinking some soft coconut water. It is rich in electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, making it an effective rehydration solution on its own.
Bawa says you can also make an electrolyte-boosting smoothie to rehydrate yourself!
• 2 cups unsweetened coconut water.
• 2 bananas
• 2 stalks of celery
• ½ pieces of mango (frozen)
• 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger root
• Add all the ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth then add ice.
Bawa says this smoothie contains fruits and vegetables that naturally contain electrolytes. Bananas contain a lot of potassium, while celery contains sodium, magnesium and potassium.
How often do we need ORS?
The frequency of ORS consumption can vary depending on factors such as age, underlying health conditions and the specific cause of dehydration, says Vasudevan. But if it’s mild dehydration, it’s usually enough to drink ORS and other fluids until the symptoms improve. Drinking ORS two to four times a day, along with regular sips of water, may be beneficial.
So if you want an easy way to treat and prevent dehydration in conditions like severe diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating, have ORS.