One of the most overlooked aspects of starting the keto diet is the change in electrolyte requirements.
Why do you need more electrolytes on keto?
When you’re on a low-carb diet, the body doesn’t retain salt and water, which is why some people lose 5 pounds per week (they lose water weight). There is a downside to not being able to hold water and salts to the same extent and you will need to add different minerals to make up for those lost electrolytes..
There is still some debate among experts, but the consensus is that the body needs about 5 grams of sodium in a keto diet for optimal performance, along with 500-600 mg of magnesium, and the same amount of calcium.
In a low-sodium environment, blood flow is affected and can have an effect on the kidneys, where they will begin to get rid of potassium to maintain homeostasis. Low sodium can also cause you to feel very thirsty, which increases fluid intake and helps get rid of more electrolytes.
It’s a vicious cycle, and this is where the dreaded keto flu comes in, where you might feel faint or have a headache, brain fog, or even lose muscle mass.
How do you fight the keto flu?
There are two ways to deal with the keto flu. One of them might be to start buying mineral-rich water, sodium capsules, or even keto-friendly electrolyte drinks. Sports drinks also contain a good balance of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, and are a good on-the-go option. Just be sure to choose the sugar-free version.
Although most of these supplements can be found on Amazon, unfortunately, some of them may be too expensive or not available in certain regions. Fortunately, there are some home recipes that are easy to prepare, low in calories, and low on cost.
But first, what are the benefits of electrolyte drinks?
Technically, electrolytes are salts that help conduct electricity when mixed with water. This property allows them to help with important bodily functions.
Drinking an electrolyte drink daily may also help:
- Fluid balance control.
- Regulating blood pressure.
- Helping muscles contract – including your heart.
- Maintaining the correct acidity of the blood.
Some common electrolytes are sodium, chloride, and potassium. magnesium and calcium. It can also be found in supplement form at the pharmacy.
What are some easy electrolyte drink recipes at home?
If you don’t want to spend money on expensive supplements, here are some easy-to-make electrolyte drinks with homemade food.
The easiest keto electrolyte drink
The easiest recipe is to use lemon juice and salt (preferably Himalayan because it has a higher content of minerals than regular table salt):
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 8 ounce water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed or make sure it’s sugar-free if pre-packed)
Stir everything together until the salt dissolves. Try to drink it after eating or with food as the drink is very acidic and can cause stomach problems.
If you prefer, you can substitute lemon juice for lemon juice (lime is a good source of magnesium and potassium).
Lemonade-style keto electrolyte drink
If you prefer to eat something light and refreshing throughout the day, try this recipe:
- 4 or 5 glasses of water
- 2 squeezed lemons
- Half a teaspoon of Himalayan salt
- A few drops of liquid stevia
This keeps well in the fridge and is something you can drink throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and keep keto flu symptoms at bay.
Add these ingredients to your keto electrolyte drink
Mint and/or ginger: If you feel the need to add more flavor to your drink, try adding mint or ginger. Both ingredients have antiviral and antibacterial properties, plus they are antioxidants as well, and they give the drink a new flavor. Its carbohydrate content is minimal, so there will be no effect on ketosis.
Orange juice: If lemons and limes are too acidic for you, you can replace them with orange juice, but if you’re close to your daily carb limit, be aware that orange juice (because it’s high in sugar) will add two grams of carbs to your drink.
Magnesium or potassium powder: If available in your area, you can also add 1 teaspoon of magnesium or potassium powder to the drink.
Unsweetened tea or sparkling water: If you want more flavor, replace the water with unsweetened tea or sparkling water.
Pickled juice: And if you want to be a bit eccentric and shock those around you, pickle juice is another good option.