healthy electrolyte drink

Put Down the Pedialyte. Here’s 7 Healthy Electrolyte Drinks

There are many options for healthy electrolyte drinks. Pedialyte and Gatorade are two of my pet peeves.  The purpose of both of these drinks is to replenish electrolytes in the body. First off, does everyone know what electrolytes are and why we need them?  

What are Electrolytes?

The word electrolyte has become a term thrown around a lot in marketing but most people are unclear on what they actually are. In the human body, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate, and hydrogen carbonate, or in other words they are minerals.

Minerals are very important for good health. Yes pedialyte and gatorade both contain (synthetic) electrolytes but they come along with a handful of unnecessary artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and colors – none of which are going to help you or your child recover from an illness, and could even cause other problems.

Unfortunately, pedialyte is the go-to product recommended by pediatricians for children who have a stomach virus or an illness that causes repeated vomiting to replenish lost minerals. The real truth is that it's possibly the worst option and there are far better choices that can be made easily with ingredients you likely already have at home.

Let's take a look at what is actually in this product. Here are the ingredients in Pedialyte Strawberry: 

Water, dextrose, citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, natural flavor, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, zinc gluconate, RED 40, BLUE 1

After water you'll see dextrose, likely GMO, then you'll see the minerals, followed by natural flavor…I have to stop and talk about natural flavor for a moment.

What is Natural Flavor?

Natural flavor seems pretty harmless when you read it but, it might not. Natural flavor can be a derivative of anything that was once part of a “natural” ingredient. It's the food companies way of throwing things in there without having to put them on the label. If you have ANY type of food allergy or sensitivity, avoid natural flavors, because you'll never know exactly what it contains. Companies with integrity will disclose what is in the natural flavors if you reach out and ask.

Artificial Sweetener & Red 40

After natural flavors you'll see sucralose which is Splenda, a toxic artificial sweetener, and lastly you'll see red 40 and blue 1, artificial colors that have been linked to behavioral problems in children. From Cleveland Clinic… (link)

Red dye 40, made from petroleum, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in foods and drinks. But some studies have linked artificial food dyes like red dye 40 to hyperactivity, including ADHD. Some studies show a link between dyes and increased ADHD or hyperactivity in children.

Cleveland Clinic

Yikes. Now you can see why this product bothers me.

Synthetic Minerals

Lastly, it does contain minerals… the point of this drink in the first place. All of the minerals in pedialyte and gatorade can be found in foods and there are plenty of ways to get them in without using these artificial products. On the label for strawberry pedialyte, it contains the following minerals in a 12 oz serving:

  • Sodium 370mg
  • Total Sugars 9g
  • Potassium 280mg
  • Calcium 0
  • Phosphorus 0
  • Zinc 2.8mg
  • Chloride 440mg

Healthy Electrolyte Drinks

I've pulled together a list of healthy, natural, drinks that can be made easily at home to use as an electrolyte replacement drink. These are all great for illness recovery and also as a sports drink. They will help to re-hydrate the body in a pure and healthy way without any added artificial ingredients. 

Coconut Water

Coconut water contains electrolyte all on its own in its natural state. It is not as high in sodium and chloride but an easy way to increase that is to add a pinch of salt.

Minerals in Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

  • Sodium 40mg
  • Total Sugars 14g
  • Potassium 541mg
  • Calcium 46mg
  • Phosphorus 162mg
  • Magnesium 19mg
  • Zinc 0
  • Chloride 0

LMNT Electrolyte Powder

The main minerals in this powder are sodium, potassium, and magnesium. The packets are easy to take along with you and add to a water bottle.

  • Sodium 1000mg
  • Total Sugars 0
  • Potassium 200mg
  • Calcium 0
  • Phosphorus 0
  • Magnesium 60mg
  • Zinc 0
  • Chloride 0

Electrolyte Drink Recipes

  • Homemade Healthy Electrolyte Drink This is a recipe I make for my children with honey and lemon
  • Natural Pedialyte Alternative for Babies & Adults by Mama Natural. This recipe is only 2 ingredients which makes it really nice and simple. Coconut water has lots of natural minerals in it which makes it the perfect natural base for an electrolyte replacement drink.
  • Homemade Pedialyte and Freezer Pops by The Easy Homestead. This recipe has ingredients in it that most everyone will have in the house so there is no excuse not to make it.
  • Electrolyte Vanilla Cream Soda by Nourishing Simplicity. This one sounds delicious, we love the flavor of vanilla. Also, since this one uses stevia there is really no sugar in this at all. This is a great choice for anyone on a sugar-free or low-sugar diet.
  • Tumeric-Lime Electrolyte Drink by Modern Alternative Mama. Turmeric has so many health benefits its great to get it in any way that you can. In this case, it also colors the drink to make it look a bit more like actual yellow gatorade too.
  • Sole Water which is a simple salt solution you can make with Himalayan sea salt

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