Electrolyte drinks are mainly meant to help you rehydrate. Although they are mostly water, they contain varying amounts of sugar and electrolytes, depending on their intended purpose.
As mentioned, besides water, the electrolyte drinks also contain other materials that include:
- Sugar: Most electrolyte drinks contain sugar that plays a vital role in increasing water absorption, hence speeding up the rate of rehydration.
- Sodium and other minerals: The most commonly added electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and chloride, which you lose through sweat. Sodium increases your thirst levels, so when you take it, you get thirsty and hence drink more water, which comes in handy in helping you keep your body fully hydrated.
- Protein: Although not traditionally added to electrolyte drinks, it’s sometimes added to help rebuild muscles. Some proteins, such as milk protein, are highly effective at helping the body retain water after exercise.
Now that you know what is in them, let’s take a look over the most common electrolyte drinks you can take.
Which Electrolyte Drinks Can You Take?
Electrolyte drinks come in various forms, including tablets, powders, and liquids. The most common drinks that you can take include:
1. Tap Water
It’s probably the best electrolyte drink you can take as it contains the necessary minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
It also lacks sugar, so you don’t have to worry about putting on extra weight after taking large amounts of it.
While tap water is excellent, it lacks enough sodium, so you might fail to drink enough water, as your thirst levels aren’t heightened.
2. Mineral Water
Mineral water is obtained from underground reservoirs and springs and bottled at the source.
The attractive thing about it is that it contains more electrolytes than tap water, so you get more from it.
Like tap water, it doesn’t have sugar, so while this might work to your advantage as you don’t need to worry about getting fat, the water doesn’t get readily absorbed in the body due to lack of sugar.
3. Maple Water
Maple water claims to have naturally occurring electrolytes and to be naturally hydrating. Studies show that it’s more hydrating than plain water, but it lacks the essential electrolytes. For example, it doesn’t contain any sodium.
It has only 1% of potassium and 4% calcium, which, as you can tell, aren’t high enough.
The beauty is that it doesn’t contain high sugar levels, so you don’t have to worry about your waist enlarging due to consuming a lot of maple water.
4. Coconut Water
Coconut water contains plenty of potassium and will provide you with up to 4% of your daily calcium and magnesium needs.
It also contains low sugar content (only 11 grams), which is enough to provide you with the absorption you need without accumulating in your body and causing bulkiness.
According to research studies, coconut water rehydrates better than plain water and is almost the same as sports drinks, so you get the rehydration you have been craving.
5. Make Your Own
Did you know you can make your electrolyte drink and customize it to your taste? All you need to do is use natural ingredients such as lemon, lime juice, mineral water, ginger, agave syrup, and salt.
You should then find a recipe that fits your needs and mix the different ingredients.
If you don’t want to go through the mixing process, you can buy prepared mixes such as Tailwind Nutrition electrolyte drink mixes.
How Do You Choose An Electrolyte Drink?
If you want already made drinks, you can easily buy them from your local store.
When making the purchase, you should note that not all drinks are created equal, so you should be cautious. To buy the right drinks, you need to consider several factors that include:
1. Sugar Content
As mentioned above, your electrolyte drinks need sugar to increase their absorption rate. Unfortunately, some brands add too much sugar to make the drinks tastier.
Unfortunately, these drinks are problematic, especially if you are looking to maintain a slim figure.
You don’t want to spend a good chunk of your time in the gym trying to burn calories, then take all of them back after consuming a bottle of electrolytes, do you?
To stay on the safe side, be on the lookout for the sugar content in the electrolytes and only buy those with low sugar levels. You will even be better off buying those that contain natural sweeteners.
How does the electrolyte drink taste? You want a drink that you enjoy taking.
Fortunately, the drinks come in various flavors, so you have many to choose from. Before you buy, read the label and confirm that you love the listed flavor.
For the electrolyte drink to give you the benefits you are looking for, it needs to have the right ingredients. The obvious must-haves include potassium, chloride, calcium, sodium, and magnesium.
These ingredients will provide you with different benefits, such as regulating the body fluid volumes, maintaining proper organ functionality, cell balance, etc.
4. Dietary Requirements
We are all different, and some might have different dietary requirements. For example, you might be lactose or dairy intolerant. In such a case, you need to avoid any drink containing gluten.
You also might be on a diet; hence be interested in particular products that will add nutrients to your body. Choose a drink that works best depending on your needs and dietary requirements.
5. Parting Shot
You need to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes if engaged in strenuous exercises. When buying electrolyte drinks, buy those with all the vital ingredients.
As a rule of thumb, the drink should have potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium.
The drink should also have a small amount of sugar to help with absorption.
Always check the ingredients and ensure that the sugar content isn’t too high to slow digestion and put you at the risk of weight gain.
As enticing as the cheap drinks are, stay away from them as they might not be having the vital nutrients.
Many electrolyte drinks are on the market, but not all are right for you.
If you are unsure about the best one you should go for, speak to your doctor about your needs, and the doctor will point you in the right direction.