• Roxie Daggett

4 Easy Homemade Electrolyte Drinks (No Food Dyes or Plastic!)

Updated: May 10

Keep your brain and body hydrated with these simple, homemade electrolyte drinks! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, these recipes will refuel your cells with the nutrients they need. Best of all they are free of refined sugar, food dyes and plastic!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through any of these links, at no extra cost to you. CLICK HERE to learn more.


JUMP TO ALL RECIPES

JUMP TO GRAPEFRUIT LIMEADE ELECTROLYTE DRINK

JUMP TO STRAWBERRY LEMONADE VITAMIN WATER

JUMP TO GREEN APPLE DETOX CIDER

JUMP TO ORANGE GINGER SPORTS DRINK


Hydration Is a Big Deal!


As the weather warms up and the outdoors are calling you and the kiddos into the sunshine, it's time to get serious about hydrating! Dehydration can happen fast, so planning ahead with some nutritious, natural electrolyte drinks can keep everyone healthy and smiling.


Why is hydration such a big deal?


Did you know that every year in the U.S. hundreds of thousands of people end up in the emergency room from dehydration and a good number are even admitted to the hospital adding up to costly medical bills?


Mild dehydration is extremely common and can affect our moods and memories as I wrote about in this post on water and brain function. Severe dehydration can lead to more serious outcomes, like seizures.


It's nothing to take lightly, but thankfully there are many ways to stay hydrated as we'll discuss below followed by some easy, yummy electrolyte recipes.


Anyone is susceptible to extreme fluid loss, but it can be especially risky for:

  • Those who exercise heavily/athletes

  • Those who work long hours outdoors or in the heat

  • Those who lose fluid from a virus or food poisoning (diarrhea and vomiting)

  • Those with poor access to clean water and nutrition

  • Those with a long term, chronic illness (especially diabetes, alcoholism or kidney disease)

  • Those with eating disorders

  • Those with a poor diet (especially low in fresh fruits and veggies which contain vitamins and minerals -- including electrolytes)

  • Elders and children-- two commonly dehydrated populations

  • Babies and infants


When we lose fluid, we lose electrolytes which are critical for body and brain function.


Electrolytes = Energy = Life


Electrolytes are a special class of minerals that actually conduct an electric current in our bodies.


That's right. We are all electric! How cool is that?!


The electric energy in our body regulates:

  • Our nervous system function-- brain and nerve cell communication

  • Our muscle function-- running, jumping and pumping (even the heart is made of muscle)

  • Our blood pressure and plasma levels

  • Our pH and fluid levels

Electrolytes also support our immune system in repairing tissue damage. Yep, they help fix boo boos. They exist inside and outside every cell in our body doing their magic.


It's safe to say they are essential for life!


The top three electrolytes we need everyday are:

  • Sodium

  • Potassium

  • Chloride

Sodium and chloride, a.k.a. salt, are the main minerals/electrolytes in our extracellular body fluid -- the liquid OUTSIDE our cells. Potassium dominates our intracellular fluid meaning it is vital INSIDE each and every cell of our bodies. We need plenty of all of three!


The other electrolytes we need are:

  • Bicarbonate

  • Calcium

  • Magnesium

  • Phosphate

The Seeking Health Optimal Electrolytes have a great mineral profile and I have used them often over the years. I even put them in my electrolyte drinks below instead of salt at times, or just have them in plain water when I need a quick boost.


Isn't Gatorade Good Enough?!


You may want to think twice about downing those colorful bottles of sports drinks.


While they may seem refreshing in the heat of the moment 😅, the electrolytes in sports drinks are often buried under heavy amounts of sugar. These sugars are often hidden with fancy names like dextrose, maltose and high fructose corn syrup.


These drinks also contain mass produced chemical preservatives, flavor stabilizers, and food dyes that have been proven to be carcinogenic such as Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40.

"Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions. Numerous microbiological and rodent studies of Yellow 5 were positive for genotoxicity."

This quote comes from an abstract of a 2012 review titled "Toxicology of Food Dyes" published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.


Several popular Gatorade flavors (like Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, Citrus Cooler and Grape) contain at least one or two of these carcinogenic and/or genotoxic food dyes.


This is in addition to many of these drinks containing over 30 grams of sugar which will certainly give you plenty of energy... and then likely a heavy crash.


Blood sugar spikes and drops over time are clearly linked to chronic inflammation and dreaded metabolic and neurological diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Commercial sports drinks are notorious for their high sugar content.


Furthermore, these drinks always come in plastic made with BPA shown in numerous studies to mess with our hormones -- ranging from reproductive issues to children's behavioral problems.


Not something we want drink up on a regular basis!


Drink More Water... Are You Sure?


Water is the optimal choice for daily hydration.


However, when you have too much water without electrolytes you can actually risk dehydration by diluting your minerals. This is especially true if you have a reverse osmosis filter or other heavy duty water filtration system that removes toxins, heavy metals... and minerals.


This can often be remedied by adding a pinch of sea salt to purified water. This practice can help somewhat to provide for your daily electrolyte needs and help keep fluid in your body. But sometimes you need more support, like the beverages listed below.


As a rule, I aim for at least half my body weight in ounces daily of pure water (but I usually drink more especially during summer since I live in a very hot climate☀️).


I often use natural electrolyte drinks like these to help me reach this goal since they are made with pure water as a base.


Other mineral rich foods/drinks include:

  • Bone broth

  • Coconut milk/water

  • Dairy milk (Yep! It's loaded with calcium, sodium and potassium)

  • Fresh or frozen fruit

  • Fresh veggies

  • Certain teas like Nettle or Dandelion that are rich in vitamins and minerals

  • Seafood

I don't include store-bought juices on this list because they are often full of sugar which can spike blood sugar (causing inflammation, hormone imbalance etc.) since the fiber is removed. Many store-bought juices have also been found to be contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. The recipes below include the fiber from the fresh fruit which helps slow down the body's absorption of glucose. Adding collagen or eating a fat and protein rich snack like nuts, seeds, cheese, or Greek yogurt can also help prevent blood sugar spikes.


You most likely need electrolytes if you have been:

  • Exercising heavily

  • Spending time outdoors, especially in hot weather

  • Extra stressed (stress eats up your vitamins and minerals like crazy!)

  • Ill or feel run down

If you are feeling the need to replenish, bust out one of these EASY all-natural, homemade electrolyte drinks!


Non-Toxic Salt


Each of these homemade electrolyte drinks calls for salt. Unprocessed salt (sea salt, Himalayan salt) is loaded with minerals in their natural forms making them easy for your body to absorb and use.


However...


Since writing this post back in 2020, I've come to learn about the dangers of heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury) and microplastics in salt. Ugh. This is even a problem with the Himalayan salt I was using and recommending (this one, but I no longer recommend it). You can learn more on Lead Safe Mama's salt post if you want a deep dive on this topic.


And, yes, I know-- what isn't polluted these days?! Since we use salt on everything and we have a child with special needs, I have to pick and choose my ingredient battles. Salt is one I choose to be picky about.


To be clear, the contamination is worse in refined or processed table salt -- the white kind in most stores and restaurants. Additionally, it usually contains other processed additives like anti-caking agents and sugar (cutely called dextrose on your Morton's container). I would not recommend this processed salt for cooking or beverages. It has tested very high in lead.


After hours of searching for clean salt, I decided to try these two salts that are 3rd party lab tested and found to be extremely low in heavy metals and microplastics:

  1. Jacobsen's Hand-Harvested Pure Sea Salt (harvested in Oregon, USA)

  2. Saltwerk Hand-Harvested Flaky Sea Salt (harvested in Iceland)


Yes, they are pricey, but are extremely delicious and nourishing. You can look at Tamara Rubin's salt post for cheaper options.


You can also use some electrolyte powder if you want to be sure you are getting the right amount and balance of e-lytes. There are lots of electrolyte powders on the market now, but I always prefer ones without sweeteners. I like this one by Seeking Health when I'm exercising, run down or spend time in the heat. It has other co-factors like creatine, taurine and D-ribose which support brain and muscle health along with cellular energy. They also have some flavored options, but I always like plain ole seltzer for DIY electrolyte drinks like the ones below.


One Last Thing: Plastic Straw Alternatives


I don't know why drinking beverages out of a straw makes them seem more thirst-quenching, but it does!


I have avoided straws for years because they are a single use cheap plastic (an easy throw away adding to environmental pollution) and they are made with hormone disrupting chemicals that are possibly carcinogenic.


Enter some terrific solutions for non-toxic and reusable straws that will save you money in the long run!

  1. My absolute favorite are these glass straws! They come with a cleaning brush, but I never use it as they are so easy to rinse off. They look pretty when served and are fun to drink from! We've had them for years with no signs of breaking.

  2. Stainless steel straws are another sturdy option for kids, families, parties and events. They have a more industrial/modern look, hold up for years and travel well. They are very easy to clean and you don't have to worry about breaking!

  3. Silicon straws are another kid friendly, colorful and fun resusable option!

Now onto those drinks, already.



4 Easy Homemade Electrolyte Drinks


The links in the recipes below are affiliate links chosen for product quality and purity.


1. Grapefruit Limeade Electrolyte Drink

This simple beverage is a thirst quenching powerhouse! Grapefruit is loaded with immune and brain-boosting vitamins like C, A, B1 and folate along with hydrating electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. Lime has a hefty dose of vitamin A making it great for immunity, eyes, skin and lungs. Perfect for cold and flu season as well as hot days!


Prep: 5 minutes Serves: 1-2


Ingredients:

Optional Extras

  • 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey (if you need some sweetness)

  • 3-4 mint sprigs (to support digestion and brain function)

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger (if you like some spice and extra anti-inflammatories)

  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (to provide amino acid and blood sugar support)

Instructions

Juice both citrus fruits and pour into a 32 ounce glass bottle or Ball/Mason jar. Add sea salt and any optional ingredients. Fill the rest of the bottle or jar with filtered water. Stir vigorously or cover and shake it up. Taste and adjust sweetness with extra honey if needed. Enjoy!


2. Strawberry Lemonade Vitamin Water

This beautifully colored vitamin water is delicious on hot days and a refreshing afternoon pick-me up! Strawberries are loaded with some heavy-hitting electrolytes like potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous along with DNA supportive folate and immune-boosting vitamin A. The whole lemon provides a powerful dose of your daily vitamin C along with energizing B6 and potassium. Full of cleansing fiber from whole fruit. Drink up!

Prep: 4 minutes Blend: 1 minute Total: 5 minutes Serves: 1-2


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries (chopped, halved or quartered)

  • 1 whole lemon, peeled

  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of clean sea salt like this one or this one, or 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar-free electrolyte powder

  • filtered water


Optional Extras

  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey (if you need a bit of sweetness)

  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (to provide amino acid and blood sugar support)

Instructions:

Place strawberries and whole peeled lemon in a blender with sea salt and 1 cup of filtered water. Add your optional honey. Blend until smooth and pour into a 32 ounce glass bottle or Ball/Mason jar. Fill the rest of the bottle or jar with filtered water. Stir in optional collagen peptides.Taste and adjust sweetness with extra honey if needed. Enjoy!



3. Green Apple Detox Cider

This tasty detox electrolyte drink takes a touch of planning the night before for best results, but comes together quickly the next day. Green apples are rich in cancer fighting anti-oxidants as well as an excellent source of potassium and even helpful for binding toxins like aluminum. Apple cider vinegar supports gut and skin health as well as enhance weight loss and cholesterol balance. Cinnamon supports blood sugar regulation and also has antiviral properties. This power-packed drink will wake up your cells for a gentle and yummy detox!


Prep: 12 hours or overnight + 5 minutes Total: 8-12 hours and 5 minutes Serves: 1-2


Ingredients:


Optional Extras:

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger (if you like some spice and extra anti-inflammatories)

  • 2-3 clove buds (if you want some extra anti-viral, anti-parasitic detox)


Instructions:

  1. The night before fill a 32 ounce glass bottle or jar with filtered water. Add your cinnamon stick (and optional clove buds) and let sit overnight on the counter (or refrigerator if you prefer) to infuse the water with flavor and spice benefits.

  2. The next day add the rest of the ingredients (except apples) to your bottle or jar. Stir vigorously or cover or cover and shake it up. Add apples and adjust sweetness with extra honey if needed.

  3. Sip this detoxifying drink all day long or split with a friend or family member! Munch on the fiber-rich apples throughout the day or when you are finished. You can also heat this up in the colder months if you prefer a warm drink.


4. Orange Ginger Sports Drink

This simple and tasty natural sports drink is perfect after sweating or feeling depleted from sports or outdoor time. Oranges are rich in immune-boosting vitamins C, A, B1 and folate along with powerful naturally occurring electrolytes like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Ginger helps improve circulation and digestion which assists all these helpful nutrients to get absorbed. I do not recommend adding any honey or natural sweetener to this drink as the oranges have plenty!


Prep: 5 minutes Serves: 1-2


Ingredients:

  • 2-3 oranges, juiced

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated or finely chopped ginger

  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of clean sea salt like this one or this one, or 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar-free electrolyte powder

  • filtered water

Optional Extras:

  • 1/2 lemon juiced (if you want more vitamin C for an extra immune boost)

  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (to provide amino acid and blood sugar support)

Instructions:

Juice oranges and pour into a 32 ounce glass bottle or Ball/Mason jar. Add sea salt and any optional ingredients (except collagen). Fill the rest of the bottle or jar with filtered water. Stir vigorously or cover and shake it up. Add in optional collagen peptides and stir until dissolved. If you need more sweetness, just add more fresh squeezed OJ-- they have plenty of natural sugar. Enjoy!



Let me know if you try any of these and what you think in the comments below! You can tag me @nourishandcherish.ntp if you want to share any photos!


References:

  1. Dehydration symptoms and treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration#causes-of-dehydration

  2. Domingo, J. L., Gómez, M., Llobet, J. M., & Corbella, J. (1988, May). Comparative effects of several chelating agents on the toxicity, distribution and excretion of aluminium. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3391623

  3. Harvard Health Publishing. “The Sweet Danger of Sugar.”Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar.

  4. Khazan, Olga. “The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's.”The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 20 July 2018, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-startling-link-between-sugar-and-alzheimers/551528/.

  5. Kim, S. (2007, August 22). Preventable Hospitalizations of Dehydration: Implications of Inadequate Primary Health Care in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1047279707003080

  6. Kobylewski, S. & Jacobson, M.F. (2012) Toxicology of food dyes, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,18:3,220-246,DOI:10.1179/1077352512Z.00000000034

  7. “Plastics: Danger Where We Least Expect It.”News, 19 Feb. 2014, www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/winter10plastics/.

  8. Seachrist, D.D., et al. (2015). “A Review of the Carcinogenic Potential of Bisphenol A.”Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26493093/.

  9. Terry, J. (1994). The major electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and chloride. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7965369

  10. https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/arsenic-and-lead-are-in-your-fruit-juice-what-you-need-to-know/

 

About the Author

Roxie Daggett is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) with a virtual holistic nutrition practice in Sedona, Arizona. Her passions include studying nutritional research pertaining to brain health, gut health, genetics and longevity. When she is not geeking out on nutrition she enjoys cooking, hiking, organic gardening and hanging out with her wonderful husband, and her adorable, energetic son who happens to have Down syndrome. Learn more on her About page and stay in touch by grabbing your FREE BRAIN HEALTH BREAKFAST GUIDE above or below!