The Six Best Electrolyte Drinks You Should Try

Dehydration can leave you feeling depleted, exhausted, and performing less than your best. While making sure you take in plenty of water is important, water alone often isn’t enough to help you look, feel, and perform your best. Our bodies require electrolytes in order to balance the levels of fluid in the body, maintain proper muscle function, and support cognitive function, but it is easy to suffer from an electrolyte imbalance if you are not hydrating properly and restoring lost electrolytes. Whether you need a boost after a workout, a big night out, or a long day spent in the heat, electrolyte drinks can help restore balance to the electrolytes in your body and prevent dehydration in the process. If you aren’t sure where to look when it comes to finding the perfect electrolyte drink, read on for a list of the six best electrolyte drinks you should try. The suggestions might surprise you!

Electrolytes Overview

Electrolytes are positively or negatively charged mineral substances that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and are largely responsible for controlling the balance of fluids in the body. Electrolytes are usually discussed in regards to their impact on nutrition and hydration, since the body needs adequate levels of electrolytes in order to perform many essential functions. Electrolytes are primarily found in the blood, sweat, and urine and are used for the following functions, among others:

  • Balancing internal pH levels
  • Maintaining proper hydration levels
  • Maintaining proper muscle function, including the prevention of cramps and spasms
  • Promoting healthy nervous system function

Sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphate, chloride, calcium, and bicarbonate are the seven naturally occurring electrolytes that are found in the human body. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium are found in the highest concentrations in the body, and while all of the electrolytes are important, these three play the most critical role in the balance of fluids in the body. 

The Six Best Electrolyte Drinks You Should Try

We’re willing to bet that you can name at least one electrolyte drink, but that doesn’t mean that specific drink is the best suited to meet your body’s needs. Electrolytes are vitally important to keep levels of fluids balanced in the body, but you don’t need to add a bunch of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates into an electrolyte drink in order to accomplish this goal. In fact, people once received all the electrolytes they needed from unpurified water, foods, and other beverages, but this is no longer the case. Today, water is usually overpurified, which causes important nutrients, like electrolytes, to be removed from the water.  Therefore, water alone probably won’t be enough to prevent dehydration after a big night out, long workout, or a day spent outdoors under the hot sun. Instead, try one of these six electrolyte drinks:

  • Electrolyte drinks: If you need to replace electrolytes quickly, there’s no better way to do so than by using an electrolyte drink that is specially formulated to meet your body’s needs. Electrolyte supplements and drinks should contain electrolytes from natural sources, and if you want to skip adding extra junk to your diet, steer clear of beverages that contain added sugars, calories, and carbohydrates.
  • Tomato juice: Sodium is found naturally in tomato juice.
  • Orange juice: Potassium is naturally found in orange juice, but some manufacturers also fortify the beverage with calcium. Check the label of your favorite orange juice to be sure. 
  • Milk: Milk is one of the best electrolyte drinks there is, and it’s all natural. Milk contains both calcium and potassium, and because it is also an excellent source of protein, it can help you build muscle and recover faster after a tough workout. 
  • Coconut water: Coconut water has enjoyed significant popularity as a natural electrolyte drink in recent years. The beverage naturally contains sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium while also being low in sugar.
  • Soy milk: Made from soybeans, soy milk naturally contains both magnesium and potassium and may contain calcium if fortified by the manufacturers.

  • Symptoms of Electrolyte Balance

    The body experiences an electrolyte imbalance when levels of any of the seven electrolytes in the body get too low or too high. While we need all of the electrolytes in order to function properly, having too much or too little of any of the electrolytes can create problems. The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are not uniform and depend on which electrolyte is imbalanced, how severe the imbalance is, and whether too much or too little of the electrolyte is the problem. Some people who are experiencing a mild electrolyte imbalance will not have any noticeable symptoms, but it is common for symptoms to become increasingly noticeable and severe as the imbalance becomes more significant. Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance may include:

    • Extreme thirst
    • Confusion or disorientation
    • Change in blood pressure
    • Muscle cramps, twitching, or spasms
    • Fatigue or lethargy
    • Numbness
    • Headache
    • Seizure
    • Irregular or fast heartbeat
    • Muscle weakness

    Preventing an Electrolyte Balance

    Preventing an electrolyte imbalance isn’t complicated. Despite what commercials for popular sports drinks may tell you, you don’t need to chug down extra calories and sugar in order to keep your electrolyte levels where they should be. Any of the six best electrolyte drinks outlined above will help you maintain the proper balance of electrolytes, as will adding foods to your diet that are naturally rich in electrolytes. Additionally, there are some general tips that you can follow in order to keep electrolyte balances at bay and help your body function properly.  Some tips to prevent electrolyte imbalance include:

    • People who sweat profusely should not exercise indoors without air conditioning. 
    • Medications, including those taken over the counter and by prescription, can occasionally  cause an electrolyte imbalance. Therefore, it is important to speak with your doctor when taking medications to confirm that they are not causing or contributing to an electrolyte imbalance.  
    • To prevent an electrolyte imbalance, make sure that you are drinking an appropriate amount of fluid for your activity level. Drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance in which the body has too little sodium. 
    • Although table salt is made up of two electrolytes, sodium and chloride, it should be used in moderation. Eating too much salt can lead to an electrolyte imbalance called hypernatremia. 
    • When exercising, make sure to hydrate regularly using either water or an electrolyte drink to replace fluids that are lost during exercise. You may need to replace electrolytes particularly intense or prolonged workouts. 
    • Over the counter diuretics should not be used for an extended period of time unless your doctor directs you to do so. 
    • When working out outdoors in a hot or humid climate, exercise in the early mornings or in the evenings and avoid the hottest part of the day, particularly if the activity will be strenuous. 

    Natural Sources of Electrolytes

    Although getting electrolytes from beverages is important, drinks are not the only natural sources of electrolytes. It is also possible to boost your electrolyte stores by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Many common nutritious foods are considered excellent sources of electrolytes, including: 


  • Breakfast cereals: The manufacturers of some breakfast cereals fortify their products with calcium, so make sure you check the label on your favorite morning meal. Cereals that are made from wheat or oat may also be a source of magnesium. 
  • Table salt and salty foods: Many people think that salt and sodium are the same thing, but table salt is actually made up of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. Adding a pinch of salt to your meals gives you an additional source of both electrolytes. Olives, pickles, and other foods that are high in salt can also be used as a source of both sodium and chloride.
  • Beans and lentils: Lentils and beans, such as kidney beans and soybeans, contain potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as do foods made with these ingredients. Tofu, which is made from pressed soybeans, can also be a source of calcium if calcium sulfate was used as the coagulant.
  • Dairy products: Yogurt, cheese, and milk are examples of dairy products that contain electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. Calcium is found in dairy products in large amounts, while the other electrolytes are found in smaller amounts. 
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts, nut butters, seeds, and seed butters contain a large amount of magnesium, while cashews also contain moderate amounts of phosphorus.
  • Leafy green vegetables: Kale, collard greens, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables are considered excellent sources of calcium and magnesium.
  • Fruits: Fruits like dried apricots, prunes, and bananas are high in potassium.
  • Other vegetables: Vegetables in general are a great natural source of different electrolytes. Potassium can be found in large amounts in avocado, sweet potato, and squash, while the skin of potatoes is high in potassium and the flesh contains both magnesium and phosphorus.