The Ingredient Duo For Hydration-Boosting Electrolyte Water At Home

You've probably been told that you should try to drink eight glasses of water a day. But did you know that somewhere between 11 and 16 cups — from a combination of drinking water, food, and other beverages — is closer to what you should be aiming for?

We get it — the number sounds daunting. How are you supposed to stay hydrated while also exercising (and sweating) and getting your daily dose of vitamin D outdoors (sometimes in extreme heat)? The key is to drink smarter, not harder. While carrying around a massive Stanley water bottle may make you feel like you're accomplishing something, there's actually more you can do to ensure that the water you're consuming is as nourishing as possible. 

If hydrating fruits and nutrient-packed veggies combined with ample water still aren't doing the trick, you might want to consider electrolyte water. But there's no need to stock up on Pedialyte or Gatorade. In fact, you can make electrolyte water at home with just water, sugar, and salt.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that help your body function by keeping you hydrated, balancing your body's pH, and regulating your nervous system and muscles. Some of the most important electrolytes include potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium. An electrolyte deficiency can occur due to sweating, urination, vomiting, or diarrhea.

For years, beverage companies have promoted the benefits of electrolyte-infused sports drinks like Gatorade or Body Armor. These come either as pre-bottled drinks or as powders, with brands like Nuun and Hydrant offering flavored packets that can be mixed into tap water for the same effect. Pedialyte, originally designed to treat  acute gastroenteritis — which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea — has also been culturally co-opted as a popular hangover cure.

However, there have been numerous controversies surrounding energy drinks, particularly regarding their high sugar content. While these drinks may contain beneficial electrolytes, most are also high in unnecessary calories and filled with highly processed ingredients.

Make your own electrolyte water

Luckily, making your own homemade electrolyte water is a breeze. All you need is table salt and granulated sugar. Salt naturally contains the electrolytes sodium and chloride, while sugar, although not an electrolyte, contains glucose. This glucose helps accelerate the hydration process when paired with salt or other electrolytes.

To make your own electrolyte water, simply add eight teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt to one liter of water. Some people recommend using specialty salts like pink Himalayan salt, which contains additional electrolytes beyond sodium, or substituting honey or agave nectar for sugar. If you want to further enhance your beverage, you can replace tap water with mineral water or coconut water, which naturally contain the electrolytes magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus. Many homemade electrolyte drink recipes also include freshly juiced ginger or lemon, which add extra immune-boosting elements to this hydrating concoction.