Intense workouts take their toll. During exercise, you lose a lot of vitamins and electrolytes through sweat, and burn a lot of your body's natural fuel—carbohydrates.

One of the easiest ways to help your body's recovery during or after a workout is to drink a sports drink. "The help with hydration and fueling—hydration because they have sodium and some potassium, fueling because they have carbs," says Jackie Buell, Ph.D., R.D., a sports dietitian at the Ohio State University.

But it's not always so simple: Many popular sports drinks contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes that aren't quite as great for your recovery.

If you're looking to toss the synthetics aside, then here are a few alternatives Buell suggests for helping your body recover from a grueling workout routine.