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People are often suggested to take an electrolyte drink when suffering from a gastric problem. However, a majority of individuals are unaware of what goes into an electrolyte drink or even its importance.
Electrolytes refer to electrically charged mineral ions or compounds such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and chloride. These are essential for various bodily functions, such as muscle contraction, nerve function, conduction of impulses across cells, maintenance of voltage, and energy production.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure an adequate supply of fluids and electrolytes in the body for the regular functioning of the cells, organs, and systems. Electrolytes can be obtained from the food and drinks you consume.
Benefits of Electrolyte Drinks
Some benefits of consuming electrolyte drinks are as follows:
- Electrolyte drinks are a good means of hydration, which is important for a wide range of bodily functions such as neurocognition. (1)
- Electrolyte drinks help replenish the fluid loss caused by diarrhea and heavy sweating, which can otherwise invite weakness, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, and dehydration, among other problems. (2)
- Electrolyte drinks are good sources of carbohydrates, which provide an instant rush of energy in the body.
- Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, help balance body fluid levels and aid muscle functioning. (3)
- Sodium plays a vital role in stress hormone balance while reducing fatigue.
Note: It is essential to limit the electrolyte levels under the standard range, as an excess can cause problems. Multiple commercial electrolyte drinks are often loaded with sweeteners and preservatives, whereas homemade electrolyte drinks are devoid of chemicals and are fresh, healthy, and tasty.
Know the Ingredients
The following basic ingredients are needed to make an electrolyte drink at home.
Water is the chief ingredient that carries the electrolytes.
Unrefined salt has a high content of minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Salt helps replenish sodium in your body that may be lost during sweating, therefore maintaining cell voltage and keeping you electrically charged.
3. Citrus fruits
Fruits and vegetables are considered essential parts of a healthy diet due to their high concentrations of vitamins (vitamins A and C), minerals (especially electrolytes such as potassium and calcium), and fiber. Additionally, they contain various phytochemicals, including antioxidants, which are beneficial for health. (4)
Citrus fruits, especially, are rich in vitamin C, which helps replenish lost electrolytes, thus maintaining the health of the immune system. Moreover, the sugars in citrus fruit juices are good sources of energy during and after a workout.
All citrus fruits are efficient storehouses of potassium, which is important for maintaining the electrolyte and water balance in the body. Oranges provide manganese and phosphorus, and lime provides zinc, sodium, and calcium. (5)
Honey is not only a natural sweetener that helps improve the taste of the drink but also a source of minerals and enzymes that facilitate the absorption of salt components by the body. (6)
Additionally, honey contains phytochemicals and has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which enable its use as a therapeutic agent. The healing and antimicrobial properties of honey aid in soothing cough and sore throats. (7)
Safety: Honey consumption is typically safe for adults and children older than 1 year. Do not give honey to a child under age 1 since they may get botulism.
Rarely, oral administration of honey can lead to stomachache, nausea, and vomiting. It can also cause hyperactivity, insomnia, and nausea in children. Consult a doctor when you or your child experiences these reactions.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea agent that has rejuvenating and refreshing effects. (8) Ginger is used for improving various health conditions, including digestive tract disorders such as flatulence, nausea, dyspepsia, and abdominal pain. (9)
Safety: Ginger is generally safe for oral consumption when used appropriately and in small amounts (less than 5 grams per day). In some cases, the intake of ginger can cause heartburn, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and irritation in the throat and mouth, the same effects when taking pepper.
How to Make Your Own Electrolyte Energy Drink at Home
Here are two recipes for electrolyte drinks that you can easily concoct in your kitchen.
1. Ginger electrolyte drink
This electrolyte drink containing ginger is suitable for consumption during and after a workout session and as a refreshing start to your day.
- 2½ cups of water
- 3–5 fresh ginger slices
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1–2 tbsp raw honey
- Heat the water in a pan.
- Add the ginger slices to the water.
- Boil the mixture and allow it to steep for around 5 minutes.
- Strain the liquid into a cup.
- Mix in lemon juice and salt.
- Add honey and mix thoroughly to get a balanced sweet, salt, and sour flavor.
2. Orange and lemon delight
This refreshing drink can help boost your energy during and after a workout session.
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 2–4 tbsp raw honey
- ¼ tsp unrefined salt
- Pour the fresh orange juice and lemon juice into a mixer and blend.
- Add honey and water to the liquid and mix thoroughly.
- Add salt to the liquid and whisk until it is dissolved completely.
Tips for a Perfect Homemade Energy Drink
- Use clean water. If you don’t have filtered water, boil water in a pot before using it. The vapor from the boiling water, also known as distilled water, is the best option, as it is devoid of all pollutants, contaminants, minerals, and elements.
- Refrain from using table salt in making your electrolyte drink as it does not contain the essential minerals. Use only sea salt or real salt.
- Substitute the water or part of the water with herbal tea infusion for added benefits.
- Avoid replacing honey with sweeteners. If you do not want to make your own electrolyte drink, try to buy one without any artificial coloring and with less sugar.
- Add mango slices or other fruits to enhance the taste of the electrolyte drink.
- If you have a stomach infection, add peppermint or spearmint to the drink for a soothing effect. Peppermint is an antispasmodic and can calm down the intestines. Moreover, keep yourself adequately hydrated.
It is crucial to supply your body with adequate amounts of water and electrolytes to maintain proper functioning. Although commercial electrolyte drinks are readily available, they may contain artificial flavors, artificial coloring, and added sugars. Replacing them with homemade electrolyte solutions is a healthy choice.