Electrolytes are minerals that conduct an electrical charge when mixed with water. They help regulate a variety of your body’s most essential functions, including nerve signaling, pH balance, muscle contraction, and hydration.
The primary electrolytes that your body uses to carry out these vital functions are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, chloride, and bicarbonate.
The concentration of electrolytes in your blood and other bodily fluids is maintained within a very tight range. If your electrolyte levels become too high or too low, serious health complications can arise.
Here are 4 electrolyte-rich beverages you may want to add to your health and wellness tool kit.
- Coconut water
Coconut water or coconut juice, is the clear liquid found inside of a coconut.
Over the past several years, it has become one of the most popular beverages on the market, and it’s now bottled and sold worldwide.
Coconut water is naturally low in sugar and contains a variety of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
At 46 calories per cup (237 ml), it’s also a healthier alternative to sodas, juices, and traditional sports drinks. Coconut water is naturally low in calories and sugar yet rich in electrolytes like potassium and magnesium.
When it comes to electrolyte drinks, cow’s milk is somewhat of an unsung hero. Contrary to popular belief, milk can be used for a lot more than breakfast cereal or coffee.
In addition to its rich supply of electrolytes like calcium, sodium, and potassium, milk provides a healthy combination of carbs and protein. These two macronutrients can help you refuel and promote muscle tissue repair after a workout.
Some research suggests that these characteristics could make milk a better post-workout beverage.
- Watermelon water (and other fruit juices)
Though the name may suggest otherwise, watermelon water is simply the juice that comes from a watermelon.
One cup (237 ml) of 100% watermelon juice provides almost 6% of the Daily Value (DV) for potassium and magnesium while offering small amounts of other electrolytes like calcium and phosphorus.
Watermelon juice also contains L-citrulline. When used at supplemental doses, this amino acid may enhance oxygen transport and athletic performance.
However, current research suggests that the amount of L-citrulline in regular watermelon juice probably isn’t enough to have any measurable effect on exercise performance.
Other types of fruit juice can be a good source of electrolytes, too. For example, orange and tart cherry juice also contain potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Plus, 100% fruit juice doubles as a great source of vitamins and antioxidants.
contain several electrolytes but are typically low in sodium and high in sugar.
- Electrolyte-infused waters
Electrolyte-infused water can be a great, low-calorie way to replenish electrolytes and keep you well hydrated.
Still, not all electrolyte waters are created equal.
In the United States, most standard tap water contains about 2–3% of your daily needs for certain electrolytes, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium (17).
Interestingly, certain brands of electrolyte-enhanced bottled water can be very costly and don’t contain significantly more electrolytes — and in some cases even less.
That said, some brands are specifically designed to assist with hydration and mineral replacement and contain higher quantities of electrolytes. These are more likely to be worth your money, depending on why you’re drinking an electrolyte beverage in the first place.
Keep in mind that these kinds of waters are also likely to be packed with sugar, as many of them are designed to replenish carb stores during prolonged exercise. If you’re not in the market for those extra sugar calories, opt for brands with little or no added sugar.
You may also try adding freshly cut or muddled fruit and herbs to your water bottle to create your own flavored, electrolyte-infused water.