People often drink electrolytes when they have been exercising to replenish water and energy, but they are good for other people too. In case you struggle to wake up in the morning or if you have been sick, an electrolyte drink is a great method to rehydrate quickly. We’ll give you a rundown on why electrolytes are important and some of the drinks that contain them.

What are electrolytes?

When mixed with water, an electrolyte will conduct electricity. Minerals, such as bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, phosphate, and sodium, are electrolytes. These substances can be obtained from our diet and help muscles to contract and carry electrical impulses to the cells.

Who needs electrolytes?

We all need electrolytes to function, as many of our automatic processes require a small electrical charge to work. People who are active, tired, elderly, or sick can benefit from an electrolyte drink to boost their levels.

Active people

Muscles are not able to contract without electrolytes, and the nervous system is not able to stimulate the sweat glands. This is why athletes need electrolyte drinks to help them to perform and to cool down.

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Sleepy people

We lose about 200ml of water during an average of eight hours of sleep through sweat, breathing, and snoring. This means that we awaken dehydrated and low in electrolytes, which can make us feel lethargic. Therefore, keeping an electrolyte drink on your bedside table to glug with your caffeine pills to wake up is a good idea.

Older people

Older people also benefit from taking electrolytes as kidney function and muscle mass tend to diminish with age, leaving them dehydrated. These are both vital for storing water, so electrolyte drinks can help them to function better.

Sick people

If you have recently suffered from sickness and/or diarrhea, it’s a good idea to replenish any fluids lost by drinking electrolyte drinks.

Try to avoid drink with artificial sweeteners, like how electrolytes cure diarrhea, to as aspartame-headache can be caused when consumed.

How can I tell if I need more electrolytes?

The water level in our body can affect electrolyte levels, and some of our hormones, along with our kidneys, regulate the concentration of electrolytes in our blood. A deficiency of electrolytes can cause headaches, fatigue, confusion, irritability, constipation, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, a fast or irregular heart rate, muscle weakness, cramps or spasms, and numbness in the extremities.

Which drinks contain electrolytes?

You can easily make your own electrolyte drink by adding electrolyte powder or tablets to a glass of water. These preparations often have different flavors but tend to taste quite chalky, so it’s good to know that there are a variety of sources, such as fruit juice, milk, and sports drinks, that can give you a boost of electrolytes too.

Fruit juice

Fruit juice, such as orange and cherry juice, is a great source of several electrolytes. For example, 237ml or one cup of watermelon juice provides 6% of the recommended intake for magnesium and potassium and contributes a small amount of calcium and phosphorus. An added bonus is that fruit juice provides a hit of antioxidants and vitamins. However, it tends to be low in the electrolyte sodium and high in sugar.


As well as being a perfect source of carbohydrates and protein, milk contains electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and sodium. Whole, skimmed, semi-skimmed, lactose-free, and soy milk are all suitable electrolyte drinks, depending on your dietary requirements.

Coconut water

Low in sugar but rich in magnesium and potassium, coconut milk is a popular source of electrolytes. It also contains calcium and sodium and can be added to mocktails and smoothies.


Smoothies are a great way to obtain electrolytes alongside protein, as you can blend fruit with coconut water and add some nuts and seeds. This type of electrolyte drink is a favorite of gym goers as it can be drunk before or after working out.

Sports drinks

Sports drinks are a popular source of electrolytes that have been available since the 80s. They can be helpful for athletes who endure intense exercise as they contain carbohydrates that are easy to digest, providing a quick source of energy while helping to maintain hydration. However, they tend to contain an excess of artificial colors and added sugar. Sugar-free alternatives are available but may cause bloating and wind.

The takeaway

Electrolytes are minerals that help us all to function by conducting an electric charge when dissolved in water. When we are lacking in electrolytes, we may experience several symptoms, including fatigue and muscle cramps. While we can find electrolytes in fruit and vegetables, some drinks contain them, too, providing a tasty way to rehydrate while replenishing electrolyte levels.