What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that regulate fluid balance, nervous system function, and muscle maintenance. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, zinc, and phosphorus are the typical examples of common electrolytes. They exist in a balanced ratio in the body and work together to maintain proper blood pressure, muscle function, and hydration. Drinking water may not be enough to keep you properly hydrated if you’re deficient in minerals and don’t have proper electrolyte balance. (hint: if you tend to pee a lot regardless of water intake, you may not be staying hydrated).
And one reason I recommend starting your day with electrolytes is that most humans are chronically deficient in the minerals we desperately need for cardiovascular health and stress management.
Here’s why electrolytes are important for health:
- regulate muscle contractions (including your heart!)
- keep you properly hydrated
- regulate acid/alkaline balance
- control cellular fluid balance
- regulate blood pressure
We as a nation have poor electrolyte and mineral reserves because we drink dehydrating and mineral-depleting beverages like soda, coffee, and booze. And we eat mineral poor diets with too much processed table salt (always use sea salt!) that throws off electrolyte balance. Stress, low carb diets, and keto diets cause electrolyte imbalance too.
You may be deficient if you feel constantly dehydrated, no matter how much water you drink; you’re chronically constipated; you have high blood pressure; you have IBS-D and have frequent diarrhea; you get headaches.
Some of the best food sources for electrolytes include leafy greens, nuts, coconut water, sea vegetables, watermelon, banana, avocado, but it can be difficult to get enough from food.
Who should use electrolytes?
- athletes or anyone who trains regularly
- anyone doing keto
- you live at elevation or in a dry area
- you have IBS, IBD, or chronic digestive issues
- you drink a lot of water but never feel hydrated
- chronic dry skin
- you’re too acidic
- you have high blood pressure
- you have irregular heartbeat or any heart rhythm issues
- you take meds that deplete electrolytes or dehydrate you
- you have anxiety
- trouble sleeping
- muscle soreness or aches
- you’re working outside in the summer and sweating a lot
Healthy Homemade Electrolyte Drink
I drink this electrolyte bev every morning before I exercise. It was born out of the necessity to have a delicious electrolyte drink that wasn’t filled with junk, sugar free sweeteners that are way too sweet, or the salty taste of other electrolyte mixes. I live at 6500′ in a very dry climate, and my electrolyte drink helps me feel more hydrated. It is a great way to start the day off with hydrating nutrients, pre or post exercise. I sip it fairly slowly for maximum absorption. I always recommend my clients start their day with hydration to replenish nutrients lost overnight. This is a great way to do that!
Thanks to the PaleoReds phytonutrient formula, this drink is incredibly rich in disease-fighting, free radical-quenching antioxidants that also help exercise recovery. I add freshly squeezed lemon juice to hide the slightly salty taste of the electrolyte mix and to boost digestion and detox. It’s the perfect morning health elixir!
You’ll need 3 ingredients and a water bottle or jar for this electrolyte drink:
- a lemon: alkalizing, high in vitamin C, boosts digestive function, good for detox
- PaleoReds: this formula combines over a dozen fruits and vegetables and their phytonutrients from the red/purple group to help support optimal health. Includes cranberry, acerola cherry, pomegranate, beet, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, acai, grape skin, enzymes, and more! Check out the label here. Sugar free and 30 calories per serving. Very rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and phytonutrients. Also contains beet extracts which boost nitric acid production: That’s good for exercise recovery and blood pressure. Boosts energy. Plus, it’s tasty!
- ElectroPure blend: ionic mineral formula that’s readily absorbed, which allows for rapid replenishment. One serving provides 75 mg magnesium and 300 mg chloride sourced from ionic trace minerals, 150 mg sodium from seawater, and 150 mg potassium. This is the key electrolyte formula.
- A 24 oz water bottle. I LOVE my hydro flask. It keeps the water cool, even in a hot car. You could use a big mason jar too.
Healthy Homemade Electrolyte Drink
- 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed juice.
- 1 tbsp PaleoReds purchase via link above
- 1/2 tsp ElectroPure purchase via link above
- 24 oz fresh filtered water
- Juice lemon: slice in half and use a citrus press or squeezer to extract the juice. Use the juice from the half. Save the other half for tomorrow.
- Pour lemon juice into a 24 oz water bottle or canteen.
- Add 1 tbsp PaleoReds to canteen.
- Add 1/2 tsp ElectroPure to canteen.
- Fill with fresh water and shake very well until contents are combined.
- Sip slowly and enjoy!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.