We will introduce you to the importance of electrolytes for human health and introduce to you electrolyte-rich drinks that you can buy or make it your own.
Electrolytes are essential for basic life functioning such as maintaining electrical neutrality in the cells, generation, and conduction of action potentials in the nerves and muscles.
Sodium, potassium, and chloride are the significant electrolytes along with magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates.
Electrolytes come from our food and fluids.
The body needs to maintain balanced levels of these minerals to properly function every day.
Having either too high or too low electrolytes could increase the risk of serious health complications. People lose electrolytes and other body fluids through sweat and other waste products.
But certain activities cause a significant decrease in electrolytes, such as heavy exercise. Diarrhea and vomiting can also lead to dehydration and sudden loss of important minerals.
Electrolyte Rich Drinks List
When it comes to electrolyte drinks, cow’s milk is somewhat of an unsung hero. Contrary to popular belief, milk can be used for a lot more than breakfast cereal or coffee.
In addition to its rich supply of electrolytes like calcium, sodium, and potassium, milk provides a healthy combination of carbs and protein.
These two macronutrients can help you refuel and promote muscle tissue repair after a workout.
Some research suggests that these characteristics could make milk a better post-workout beverage than many commercial sports drinks.
Given that milk’s benefits are driven by its electrolyte, carb, and protein content, you may choose whole, low-fat, or skim milk, depending on your personal preference.
It’s worth noting that regular cow’s milk may not be the right choice for everyone — especially those who are following a vegan diet or intolerant to dairy products.
If you’re lactose intolerant but still want to include milk in your workout recovery regimen, opt for a lactose-free version.
Meanwhile, if you adhere to a vegan diet or have a milk protein allergy, you should avoid milk completely.
While plant-based alternatives likely won’t offer the same benefits as cow’s milk, some research has shown that the protein in soy milk may aid muscle repair while providing an electrolyte profile similar to that of cow’s milk.
2. Watermelon Water (and Other Fruit Juices)
Though the name may suggest otherwise, watermelon water is simply the juice that comes from a watermelon.
One cup (237 ml) of 100% watermelon juice provides almost 6% of the Daily Value (DV) for potassium and magnesium while offering small amounts of other electrolytes like calcium and phosphorus.
Watermelon juice also contains L-citrulline. When used at supplemental doses, this amino acid may enhance oxygen transport and athletic performance.
However, current research suggests that the amount of L-citrulline in regular watermelon juice probably isn’t enough to have any measurable effect on exercise performance.
Related: How To Pick Perfect A Watermelon
Other types of fruit juice can be a good source of electrolytes, too. For example, orange and tart cherry juice also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Plus, 100% fruit juice doubles as a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.
One of the main drawbacks of using fruit juice as an electrolyte replacement drink is that it’s typically low in sodium.
If you’re sweating for a prolonged period and attempt to rehydrate with a beverage that doesn’t contain sodium, you risk developing low sodium blood levels.
To mitigate this risk, some people like to make their own sports drinks using a combination of fruit juices, salt, and water.
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water, or coconut juice, is the clear liquid found inside of a coconut.
Over the past several years, it has become one of the most popular beverages on the market, and it’s now bottled and sold worldwide.
Coconut water is naturally low in sugar and contains a variety of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
At 46 calories per cup (237 ml), it’s also a healthier alternative to sodas, juices, and traditional sports drinks.
Smoothies are an excellent way to mix a variety of electrolyte-rich foods into one drinkable concoction.
Some of the best sources of electrolytes come from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy products — all of which can be blended to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie.
If you’re getting over a stomach bug and want to replace lost electrolytes, a smoothie may be easier to digest and more appetizing than many of the aforementioned foods on their own.
Smoothies are also a great option for anyone looking for a post-workout recovery drink. They can not only replace lost electrolytes but also be a good way to support muscle tissue growth and repair if you include some protein-rich additions.
However, a smoothie may not be the best option if you’re looking for an electrolyte drink to consume in the middle of heavy or prolonged exercise.
That’s because it has the potential to leave you feeling too full to comfortably complete your workout. Thus, it’s probably best reserved for at least 1 hour before or immediately following your exercise routine.
5. Electrolyte-Infused Waters
Electrolyte-infused water can be a great, low-calorie way to replenish electrolytes and keep you well hydrated.
Still, not all electrolyte waters are created equal.
In the United States, most standard tap water contains about 2–3% of your daily needs for certain electrolytes, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium.
Interestingly, certain brands of electrolyte-enhanced bottled water can be very costly and don’t contain significantly more electrolytes — and in some cases even less.
That said, some brands are specifically designed to assist with hydration and mineral replacement and contain higher quantities of electrolytes.
These are more likely to be worth your money, depending on why you’re drinking an electrolyte beverage in the first place.
Keep in mind that these kinds of waters are also likely to be packed with sugar, as many of them are designed to replenish carb stores during prolonged exercise.
If you’re not in the market for those extra sugar calories, opt for brands with little or no added sugar.
You may also try adding freshly cut or muddled fruit and herbs to your water bottle to create your own flavored, electrolyte-infused water.
6. Electrolyte Tablets
Electrolyte tablets are a convenient, inexpensive, and portable way to make your electrolyte drink no matter where you are.
All you have to do is drop one of the tablets in some water and shake or stir to mix.
Most electrolyte tablets contain sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium — through the exact quantities may vary depending on the brand.
They also tend to be low calorie, have little to no added sugar, and come in a variety of unique, fruity flavors.
Certain brands of electrolyte tablets may also contain caffeine or supplemental doses of vitamins, so be sure to check the label if you want to avoid any of those extra ingredients.
If you can’t find electrolyte tablets locally or are hoping for a more affordable price, they’re widely available online.
7. Sports Drinks
Commercially sold sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade have been among the most popular electrolyte drinks on the market since the 1980s.
These beverages can come in handy for endurance athletes who need the combination of easily digestible carbs, fluid, and electrolytes to maintain hydration and energy throughout an athletic event or training session.
Yet, commercial sports drinks also carry some major drawbacks.
They tend to contain a lot of artificial colors, flavors, and added sugar, which aren’t wholly necessary for anyone — whether you’re an athlete or not.
A 12-ounce (355-ml) serving of Gatorade or Powerade contains over 20 grams of added sugar. That’s more than half of the daily recommended amount.
Plus, sugar-free versions may not be a much better alternative.
Though they don’t contain added sugar and have fewer calories, they usually contain sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners instead. These sweeteners may contribute to uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as gas and bloating in some people.
One simple way to avoid the less-than-favorable ingredients in sports drinks is to make your own.
Simply use a combination of 100% fruit juice, coconut water, and a pinch of salt to create a healthier electrolyte beverage without the artificial ingredients and added sugar.
Pedialyte is a commercial electrolyte drink marketed for children, but adults may use it, too.
It’s designed to be a rehydration supplement when you’re experiencing fluid losses due to diarrhea or vomiting.
It’s much lower in sugar than a typical sports drink, and sodium, chloride, and potassium are the only electrolytes it includes.
Each variety contains only 9 grams of sugar, but the flavored options also contain artificial sweeteners.
If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners, opt for an unflavored version.
You can buy it online, here.
Is an electrolyte drink right for you?
Sports drinks and other types of electrolyte beverages are frequently marketed to the general public, but they’re probably not necessary for most people.
Regular intake of some high-calorie, high-sugar electrolyte drinks could make it more difficult for you to reach your health goals, especially if they’re not being used for their intended purpose.
Most healthy, moderately active people can stay hydrated and obtain adequate amounts of electrolytes by eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet and drinking plenty of water.
Fluid needs can vary by individual, but it’s generally recommended to consume at least 68–101 ounces (2–3 liters) of fluid per day from a combination of food and beverages.
That said, there are specific instances when you may be at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated, and plain food and water just won’t cut it.
If you’re engaging in continuous, vigorous physical activity for longer than 60 minutes, spending extended periods in a very hot environment, or experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, an electrolyte drink may be necessary.
If you’re not sure whether you’re hydrating properly, watch for these signs of mild to moderate dehydration:
- dry mouth and tongue
- dry skin
- muscle weakness
- dark urine
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and consuming adequate fluids, it may be time to incorporate an electrolyte beverage into your routine.
If these symptoms worsen, consult your healthcare provider.
How To Make Homemade Electrolyte Drink
- 1¾ cup herbal tea, water, or coconut water
- ⅛ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- 2 teaspoons raw honey (or maple syrup, to taste)
- ¼ cup lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon calcium/magnesium powder (optional)
Start making your homemade electrolyte drink by brewing the tea and letting it cool slightly; or, slightly warm your alternative base liquid.
Add salt, sweetener, and calcium magnesium powder (if using). Mix to dissolve.
Add juice. Mix and taste. Adjust juice or sweetness levels as desired.
This homemade electrolyte drink will last a week in the refrigerator. You can always double or triple the recipe to make a big batch if you know you’ll be needing it.
You can also make this recipe with half the liquid base, and freeze it as ice cubes to use as needed. Simply fill a glass with the electrolyte cubes and add water.
Conclusion: As shown above you can consume various electrolyte-rich drinks and maintain good health by consuming healthy and refreshing drinks. It is better to make your electrolyte drinks if you don’t have time for that buy them and stay hydrated.