Monday, June 23, 2014

Homemade electrolyte solution

An electrolyte solution, yeaaa!  I have never been able to find an electrolyte solution free from my allergens, so this is the result of a little research on nutrients needed in electrolyte solutions and some taste testing.

As this is an electrolyte solution of my own design, I would be wary of using this in an emergency situation where you need a more precise and verified balance of electrolytes, but I'll put in the specifics of what I've found, so you can see if it works for you, eh? If I'm really dehydrated, I have it as is, but more often, I dilute it more and have it instead of water. It seems to help me a little better than plain water does.

Melon Electrolyte Solution (makes around 4 cups) 
EDIT: 9/18/14  The original recipe is a little short on potassium. An updated version, with higher potassium levels, can be found at the bottom of this post.

--3 cups chopped watermelon
--1 cup water
--juice from 1-2 lemons (2-5 Tb. Somewhat optional. It is an extra source of potassium and improves flavor. I notice that sometimes, I will crave more, and some I want much less.)
--1 Tb chia (or any substitute that adds about 60-70 mg calcium and little to no magnesium. I have a calcium powdered supplement I use sometimes, for example. Or a liquid high in calcium could be substituted for some of the water AND the chia).
--1/2 teaspoon salt (this is to provide about 250 mg of sodium per cup of fluid: 1000 mg total. Check your salt to make sure it is giving the same amount of sodium per teaspoon for you)

1. Put everything into a blender, blend it up well, and you're done.  If the chia sits a bits, it will thicken it some.
2. Before serving, put in the freezer and cool until ice cold. If you need it very quick, just put in some crushed ice and mix it up. It's kind of blech warm and tastes much better when very cold. Or keep in freezer until it's a slushie consistency, or even freeze completely and thaw partially for later use or make into popsicles.

-- This recipe is 'added sugar free,' but not actually free from sugars such as fructose and such, so not so great for diabetics, I'd assume.
-- Chia texture is one you like or hate, really. If you've never had chia in a liquid before, I'd recommend trying a small batch first. Or make them into popsicles, where there's not really an issue.

Nutritional Information:
Leaving out the nutrients from the lemon juice (so those who can't tolerate it will know how much they need to add), this is approximately what this electrolyte drink will provide in terms of electrolytes. It's short a little potassium (see edit below for version with higher potassium).

Per pitcher (about 4 cups)
Calcium - 100 mg
Magnesium - 45 mg (trying for about a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium)
Sodium - 1000 mg
Potassium - 535 mg (593 mg with 1 lemon's juice, 651 mg with 2 lemon's juice)
Plus fiber, sugars, and other nutrients, of course.

Per serving (if serving size is 1 cup)
Calcium - 25 mg
Magnesium - 11.25 mg (trying for about a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium)
Sodium - 250 mg
Potassium - 133.75 mg (148 mg with 1 lemon's juice added to pitcher, 162 mg with 2 lemons)

References and comments: provided the information on nutrients available in the watermelon, lemons, and chia. They use the USDA's nutrition data on their site.
-- Nutrition data is always an estimation only. Fruits, for example, can have different nutrients depending on variety, ripeness, and other factors. I tend to go with my gut as well as the recipe. Sometimes I will crave more or less of some of the ingredients, and I'll follow that. I can't say why it happens, but I assume that my body is craving what I need. So far, I have never felt poorly from doing this.
-- The reason I recommend checking your own salt is that grain size can alter the amount of sodium per teaspoon.
--Sodium requirements were approximated from the amount of sodium added to pedialyte electrolyte solution, which is 253 mg per cup of fluid. According to, in 1 cup of pedialyte drink, there is also 25 mg calcium, 2.5 mg magnesium, 192 mg potassium.
-- My electrolyte solution seems pretty good aside from being a little lower in potassium than pedialyte. So, there's room for improvement, but in personal experience, this drink has helped me immeasurably when I'm getting dehydrated after a reaction. Blueberries are a good potassium source, so they might be something to consider adding, if you can tolerate it.
-- I have heard that electrolytes tend to taste sweeter when you really need hydrating, and the sweet taste will fade as you get more hydrated, until the drink no longer tastes as appealing. I have no idea if this is true, but I will say that when I'm thirstier, I tend to want to add even more lemon, and it still tastes very sweet. I can try the same drink when I'm not dehydrated, and the taste can be too sour - so it might be true. If I can find the original link where I found this information, I'll put it up.

Trying to add in some potassium to match pedialyte (which would require 30 mg more per serving than I have, or 110 mg potassium more added per pitcher), I started looking at blueberries.
1 cup of blueberries has 114 mg of potassium, which works if I change serving sizes to 1 1/2 cups of electrolyte drink. Still not perfect, but better. There was an increase in sweetness, but when chilled, I honestly didn't notice much difference in flavor with the addition of the blueberries. If I can get enough blueberries, I'm definitely going to be trying this one.

3 cups chopped watermelon
1 cup water
juice from 2 lemons
1 Tb chia (or any substitute that adds about 60-70 mg calcium and little to no magnesium.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries

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