Let’s talk about electrolytes! What are they? What do they do? Why make your own? I’m glad you’ve asked!
What are electrolytes? Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. The top three electrolytes present in the body are potassium, calcium and sodium. They are found in your sweat, blood and urine.
What do they do? Electrolytes are essential to the human body. They help regulate the fluid levels in your blood, balance your PH levels, help blood to clot in the event of an injury, help build new tissues, help to support muscle contractions (hence, ELECTROlytes) such as heartbeat functions.
What causes low electrolyte levels?
Low levels of electrolytes are problematic, and in some cases can be serious, even life threatening. Excessive heat, excessive sweating and illness can all cause a depletion of electrolytes in your body. On a hot Summer’s day after working outside in the heat for extended periods of time can cause you to lose electrolytes through bodily stress and sweating. Have you ever drank a cold glass of water and still not feel your thirst was quenched? This could be your body telling you it craves a replenishment of electrolytes. (You should note that excessive thirst is also a symptom of diabetes). You cannot replenish electrolytes by simply drinking more water. And times when we are ill can lead to a depletion of electrolytes, especially in cases of vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms of low electrolyte levels
Low levels of electrolytes can range from general malaise (unwell feeling)to fatigue, nausea, trembling and dizziness to more urgent, serious and critical such as low blood pressure, tachycardia (fast heartbeat) confusion, sunken eyes, poor skin elasticity and unconsciousness. In such cases of the later symptoms call 911 and get the person immediate medical care. Other symptoms can be dark urine, constipation, dry mouth, foul breath, stiff and/or aching joints, muscle weakness, lack of sweating, dry skin and decreased urine output.
No one wants any of these symptoms! In order to replenish these goodies, we need to use a little more TLC. A lot of doctors/healthcare professionals will suggest Pedialyte or Gatorade. Now, This is not meant as an attack on doctors. We need doctors. They have their place, that is sure. Our second child was in the NICU for the first 90 days of his life, and surely would not have survived without his doctors caring for him. Not to mention that, in the event of low electrolyte levels, Pedialyte and Gatorade would be better than nothing for a fact. BUT- I would like to point out that BOTH Gatorade AND Pedialyte contain artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. These just are not good for your body. When you are already ill, and your body is already working overtime to heal, why essentially poison yourself or loved one if you don’t need to? I know, poison is a strong word to use here. And I type this as a “normal” person, who eats MacDonald’s from time to time, enjoys fair foods each year and is not orthorexic. I enjoy treats on occasion, more than I should, I’m sure. But the thing about this issue is that your body is already stressed without having to add in the factors of food dye, corn syrup and artificial thus and such. These well meaning doctors prescribe these drinks, and ironically, at a time when your body is already taxed. Study in nutrition is not the main focus, nor one of much prominence in courses of medical study. The average being 19.6 hours over the course of a four year program, according to this article. That being said, there is no reason the “average Joe” couldn’t take responsibility for their own health and nutrition. I am not advocating forsaking all doctors though.
Now that we’ve discussed all of that, how about we make our own electrolytes? It is not hard to do at all! All you need is some basic ingredients and voila!
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To make electrolytes, you just need some basic ingredients. Pure juice, raw honey, good quality salt and water. There are many types of juices you can use in your “brew”. I decided to go with Montmorency cherry concentrate and pure lemon juice.
Pure Montmorency cherry concentrate has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it good for quicker recovery after strenuous exercise and it helps lower uric acid, making it good for those who suffer from gout. It contains high amounts of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants meaning it can help prevent cancer. These awesome little cherries also contain melatonin, a phytochemical that is naturally occurring in the body as a sleep aid.
The pure lemon juice can help alleviate sore throat, is antibacterial, antifungal, can help to lower blood pressure, and high in vitamin C, thus supporting your immune system to kick any illness in the proverbial rear end. I’ve also used pure lime juice which is very similar to lemon juice.
Good quality salt. Why? Well, your everyday, refined table salt is just that, refined. It has been stripped and lots of times an anticaking chemical is added to it. But, what about the iodine? The truth about iodized salt is that you actually would have to consume an unhealthy amount of salt to get any benefit of the added iodine. You are better off using a good quality salt such as Himalayan or sea salt and eating your kale, eggs, dairy and other iodine containing foods to get your iodine. I like Himalayan salt. It contains over 80 trace elements and is unrefined.
Raw honey. Because processed, refined sugars are really bad for your body. Like, really bad. Raw honey contains enzymes and is antibacterial. Applied topically, raw honey can help to heal wounds. If making this for young ones, molasses can be substituted for the honey. (I have to say-check with your healthcare professional).
Homemade electrolytes are so easy to make. First dissolve the salt and honey into warm-NOT HOT- water. Then add your juices and top off with water. Stir all together and adjust amounts of juice as needed to taste. Voila! Label and place in the fridge for up to a week for best results. To take electrolytes, simply drink as needed/desired. Listen to your body, you know best!
Yield: 1 Quart
DIY Electrolytes are easy to make and much better for you than your typical Gatorade or Pedialyte! All natural and only 4 to 5 ingredients!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
- About 1/4 cup Raw Honey (or molasses)
- 4 Tablespoons of Cherry concentrate (or other pure juice concentrate)
- Lemon, Lime or other pure juice to taste (roughly 1/4 cup)
- About 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt per quart of electrolytes
- Gently warm a cup or so of water just enough to dissolve the honey or molasses.
- Add the salt. Stir 'till dissolved.
- Add juices and stir.
- Top off with cold water, leaving a little headspace to mix and add more juices to taste if necessary.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. Drink as needed/desired to support your body during excessive heat or illness or simply as you wish! Stay healthy friends!
*SHOP THIS POST*
Montmorency Cherry Concentrate
Pure Lemon Juice
Pure Lime Juice
Aprox how much water should be added to “top off”?
Danielle Osgood says
Hello! Thank you for stopping by the blog! This recipe is for 1 quart of electrolytes. So mix up the other ingredients in a quart size container, then add enough cold water to fill the container/jar all the way. You may want to start with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and taste it before adding more. Hope this helps!