If you’ve ever been outside on a hot, sunny day or finished a workout and just feel drained, it’s because you are – drained of electrolytes that is. As your body sweats, it loses essential nutrients, some of those key nutrients being electrolytes. So, after you or your family has enjoyed a day of athletics, a grand adventure in the heat, or just a regular workout, it's important to replenish those lost nutrients. We've tested 2 homemade electrolyte drinks that are thirst-quenching and rehydrating on a hot summer day and have happily shared the recipes with you below.
Why Do I Need Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential nutrients in the body. These key nutrients actually break down into small, electrically-charged particles when they dissolve in water. These particles regulate bodily fluids and also maintain energy levels in the body. Sodium and chloride are among the most important electrolytes, as they support muscle and nerve function. However, calcium that stimulates muscle contraction; magnesium, which supports healthy cell function, and potassium, which helps regulate energy are nearly just as important.
Why Not Gatorade?
So, obviously you can see that replacing electrolytes is pretty important following intense physical exertion, but you are likely wondering why we suggest making a homemade sports drink when you could just grab one off the store shelf.
Like so many other store-bought products, Gatorade and other mass-produced electrolyte replacement drinks contain a little of what is good and a lot of what is bad. Regular grape-flavored Gatorade contains water, sucrose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, citric acid, natural grape flavor with other natural flavors, salt, sodium, citrate, monopotassium phosphate, red 40, and blue 1 (as listed on the nutrient label). While this drink will help you rehydrate, it will also help you get a whole lot of added sugar as well as dyes and mystery ingredients.
Can I Really Make an Electrolyte Replacement Myself?
Now that you understand why we don’t suggest grabbing the closest Gatorade, we’d like to show you how simple it is to make your own electrolyte replacement, or at least how to find a better substitute.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipe
For an easy and tasty homemade natural energy drink, combine:
1 Cup of Lemon or Lime Juice
1 Cup Orange Juice
4 Cups Purified Water
1/4 Teaspoon Unrefined Salt
4 Teaspoons Organic Raw Honey (optional)
Blend all ingredients together. Test for taste, adding more juice or honey and Voila! Ready to drink. Store concoction in the fridge.
Enhanced Sports Recovery Drink
4 cups of liquid (water is great, but your favorite green tea or coconut water will do)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of your favorite juice (try pineapple for a tropical twist)
1 to 2 tablespoons of natural sweetener to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed calcium/magnesium tablets
After you’ve combined the ingredients, shake well and store in the refrigerator until cool.
If you want an even easier albeit pricier option, you can use plain coconut water. (Trader Joe's, by the way, sells it at a fantastically low price and adds Vitamin C to the drink.) For an extra kick, add in a little lemon or lime juice to the coconut water.
The next time you need to rehydrate yourself or your family, give one of our electrolyte recipes a try and let us know what you think!
About the Author: Deirdre Layne
Founder and CEO of Earth Clinic, has an extensive background in health and healing. She created EarthClinic.com in 1999 as a way to teach people about natural remedies and alternative healing therapies. Since then, thousands of people around the world and their pets have been healed by the remedies found on Earth Clinic. Deirdre holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College in Philosophy and is the author of the book Apple Cider Vinegar: A Modern Folk Remedy.