[When it comes to cold and flu season, I'm a big fan of being prepared – the natural way – with plenty of immune boosting foods and supplements. But if you do fall ill, it's super important to stay hydrated. So whether you're in need of recovery post-flu or post-workout – don't poison yourself with nasty sports drinks – make this one instead.]
When we work up a sweat, we instinctively reach for something to quench our thirst and replenish our body. For years the importance of replenishing our electrolytes has been preached to us, and usually that means grabbing a bright colored sports drink. Conventional sports drinks are anything but healthy, but this homemade electrolyte drink is a nourishing alternative.
As a former athlete, I’ve consumed over 2,600 bottles of Gatorade during my high school and college years. I loved it so much, I even took it into the labor and delivery room with me at the hospital to keep my energy up during birth. Ever since we started eating real food, conventional sports drinks have had no place in my life.
The problem with sports drinks
Gatorade Thirst Quencher Ingredients:
“WATER, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, SALT, SODIUM CITRATE, MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, GUM ARABIC, SUCROSE ACETATE ISOBUTYRATE, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, YELLOW 6.”
The small 12 ounce bottle of Gatorade contains over 4 tablespoons of refined sugar, monopotassium phosphate, artificial dyes and 7% of your daily refined sodium. We all know how bad refined sugar and artificial dyes are for the body, but you may have never heard of monopotassium phosphate before.
Our bodies do need phosphate, but we need to consume it in a balanced amount. Too much phosphate intake without enough calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 to round it out can cause osteoperosis and bone damage. Too much phosphate has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease (source).
What are electrolytes anyway?
You know you need them, but do you actually know what electrolytes are? Electrolytes are salts and minerals necessary for regulation of the body’s pH levels, fluid balance, energy, muscle contraction and many other tasks (source).
Some common electrolytes we need are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphorous, and sulfate.
Getting electrolytes through food and drink
Since these electrolytes aren’t naturally found in water, we have to get them from other sources.
Coconut water is very high in potassium and contains a broad spectrum of electrolytes and nutrients, including sugar, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. It’s such a good electrolyte replenisher, that it was even used for IV solution during WWII (source).
We can also get electrolytes from fruits and vegetables. For example, freshly juiced celery is high in sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and chloride. Lemon happens to have more electrolytes than any other citrus fruit (source). If you’re eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and eating high mineral sea salt, you’re going to naturally replenish your electrolytes.
I include raw honey in my homemade electrolyte drink to sweeten it a bit, and because it's full of nutrition. These concentrated drops are a must have ingredient too since they provide over 70 necessary trace minerals. And you can’t forget the unrefined sea salt for replenishing sodium and dozens of other minerals.
When you need electrolytes
Water is vital and we need to drink a lot of it. However, after a heavy workout, a sickness or anything labor intensive, like birth, you need an extra electrolyte boost. Young children should also have a homemade electrolyte drink after a round of the flu, instead of the junk laden Pedialyte recommended by most doctors.
I’ve even found that this combo is helpful for easing “growing pains,” which are due to nutritional deficiencies (source). Even though we have a nutrient dense, whole foods diet, my son’s body is growing, expending energy and using more vitamins and minerals than he has available.
Homemade electrolyte drink ingredients
- 1 cup coconut juice or water – the brand I use
- 1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp.fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 T. raw honey
- 10 drops ConcenTrace Minerals – I use these
- ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt – the brand I use
- Glass jar with lid
Homemade electrolyte drink method
- Combine all of the ingredients together in a mason jar or another jar with a tightly sealing lid.
- Shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. If your raw honey is especially thick, you can also give it a quick whir through your blender.
Note about salt: I grind my course sea salt in a coffee grinder until its a fine powder. I find that this powder dissolves better in liquids. If you don't have a coffee grinder you can also gently heat the coconut juice until warm on the stove and stir the salt in until it dissolves. Just make sure it's cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Jamie Larrison blogs at The Herbal Spoon. She has a passion for herbalism and aromatherapy and creates her own plant-based, safe for the whole family bodycare items for her etsy shop. Learn more about Jamie here.