Article at a Glance
- Making your own electrolyte drink is simple and a healthier way to replace electrolytes than Gatorade®, Powerade®, or some of the other options.
- A simple recipe is just Real Salt® and water, but it is quite salty. If you don’t love the taste, a few optional ingredients will make it a little more palatable without unhealthy additives.
You’re running through your mental checklist the night before a hike, day at the beach, or soccer tournament and realize you still need to figure out how you’re going to stay hydrated. If you’re near a store, you may be able to pick up some Re-Lyte Electrolyte Mix on your way out of town. But what if there is no easy store access? If you have a few minutes to spare, making your own electrolyte drink is easier than you might think and it’s definitely better for you than Gatorade®, Powerade®, or others that are loaded with sugar and artificial colors.
There are lots of electrolyte recipes on the internet with varying amounts of ingredients and sweetness. Some can get quite complex or take advance planning, but our easy go-to electrolyte recipe has only five ingredients, most of which are optional if you don’t mind it tasting a little salty. It’s super flexible so you can adjust it for your needs and tastes.
– 1 quart (4 cups) clean water
– 1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
– A squeeze of lemon (adds flavor and trace amounts of electrolytes)
– A little honey (makes it a little sweeter, has a little potassium)
– Replace one of the cups of water with 1 cup of 100% coconut water or juice (adds electrolytes, makes it a little sweeter)
Points to keep in mind:
If you only use salt and water, it will taste very salty; adding honey and lemon will give it some lemon flavor and make it a little sweeter.
The salt and water recipe will primarily replace sodium and chloride. These are the two electrolytes you lose the most when you sweat, but they aren’t the only ones. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium also are important for muscle function, preventing muscle cramps, and fighting off fatigue. A quarter teaspoon of Real Salt will give you approximately:
- 530 mg of sodium
- 850 mg of chloride
- 7 mg calcium
- 2 mg of magnesium
- 1 mg of potassium
If you don’t mind a few calories, you can increase the total amount of other electrolytes by replacing one cup of plain water with a cup of 100% coconut water. Coconut water will also add a little more flavor and sweetness. Depending on the brand, one cup of coconut water has about:
- 400 to 550 mg of potassium
- 20 to 40 mg of magnesium
- 40 to 50 mg of calcium
If you don’t have coconut water on hand, you can replace a cup of water with a cup of 100% juice. Most fruit juices are not as rich in electrolytes as coconut water, but they will provide some electrolytes and will make your homemade electrolyte drink taste sweeter.
How much should you drink? It depends on your body’s needs and how you choose to customize it. This recipe calls for a quarter teaspoon of Real Salt, which is about 530 mg of sodium. In The Salt Fix, Dr. James DiNicolantonio indicates that the optimal range for sodium intake is between 3 and 6 grams (3,000 to 6,000 mg) per day from quality sources. The amount you need depends on your activity level, lifestyle, how much you sweat, and other factors.
Feel free to experiment with fruits and flavors to make something that best helps you live your journey. Share your favorite recipes in the comments!