Electrolytes are minerals with an electrical charge that our bodies need.
This group of elements, including sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, plays vital roles in the body, aiding in hydration and supporting muscle, heart, and nerve functions.
You lose electrolytes every day when you urinate, sweat, or if you’re sick and experience vomiting or diarrhea. That’s when electrolyte drinks can come in handy. When electrolyte levels dip below normal levels, you can experience symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, nausea, blood pressure changes, cramps and more.
What Is An Electrolyte Drink?
Sports drinks were initially created to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating. However, commercial sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are often high in calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, flavours, and colours. As a result, there are better choices for those seeking a healthier option.
Electrolyte water and similar drinks are most beneficial for endurance athletes who complete long, high-intensity workouts or those who are sick and losing fluids.
Sugar, salt, and water help your body absorb fluids.
Nonetheless, many sports drinks contain excess sugar and insufficient electrolytes to replenish your body’s needs.
The point of an electrolyte drink is to maintain fluid balance in your body.
Appropriate fluid balance is paramount for maintaining the optimal functioning of various bodily systems. Water distribution in body tissues helps to keep your blood circulating, ensuring that vital organs receive the necessary nutrients and oxygen.
It also plays a key role in cognitive function, including memory and alertness, by keeping the brain hydrated. Fluid balance helps to regulate body temperature, allowing you to stay cool and comfortable in any environment.
Lack of proper hydration can lead to fatigue, weakness, and even serious health complications. It is essential to maintain adequate fluid balance at all times.
When to use electrolyte drinks
If you are sweating profusely, losing fluids due to illness, or failing to stay hydrated by drinking enough water, electrolyte drinks can be helpful.
It’s a good idea to drink electrolytes when you’re doing a challenging workout like a marathon or a triathlon. You can also benefit from electrolyte drinks if you’re doing any activity lasting more than an hour, such as a long run, hike, bike ride, heated yoga, or HIIT class.
When experiencing vomiting or diarrhea due to illness or hangover, it’s important to stay hydrated with electrolyte water or similar drinks.
How To Make a Healthy Electrolyte Drink at home
To make a healthy electrolyte drink, all you need is water and salt.
Extra points if you add potassium, magnesium, and a squeeze of citrus fruit for a salty taste between seawater and plain water.
Adding half a teaspoon of salt per half litre of water is a great starting place.
In combination with your sodium intake from food, this should help you reach a daily goal of 2–3 teaspoons of salt. (If you tend to sweat excessively, your daily requirements may be higher.)
Electrolytes On Keto, Paleo & Low-carb Diets
New research suggests many people –especially athletes and those following paleo, keto, or low-carb diets, are under-salted.
Individuals following a low-carb or keto diet must be aware that reducing carbohydrate intake can affect electrolyte levels in the body. Foods high in electrolytes, like fruits and vegetables, are not recommended on a keto diet that limits these essential minerals.
A body in ketosis processes electrolytes differently due to lower insulin levels, causing a diuretic effect that leads to increased loss of vitamins and minerals.
If you’re following a traditional ketogenic diet, it’s important to be mindful of your electrolyte intake when planning your meals. This is typically done by consuming keto-friendly snacks like pickle juice, soup, salmon, spinach, pumpkin seeds, or through powder form.
My personal favourites
My favourite is the salted chocolate with hot water. I personally stock this brand; I love and use it myself, with all of the flavours available in my online store.
If you are located in the United States, you can buy the product directly from the button below.
Contains no sugar, is calorie-fee and supplies you with potassium, sodium and magnesium; however, it is not in such high doses as LMNT.
Add some salt to increase sodium intake.
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