Recipe: Organic Sports Drinks

by in Dehydration, Diarrhea, Kitchen Cost Cutters, Pediatrics, Recipes, Sports Nutrition December 5, 2008

sportsdrinks.jpgMost sports drinks are just pollutionfests chock full of Kitchen Table Villains such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, food colorings, additives, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colorings. With just a few simple kitchen ingredients, you can make your own homemade sports drinks.

The two widely available sports drinks I commonly recommend for athletes and those that are at risk of dehydration are Emergen-C and Recharge.

If you do not have these readily on hand, you can also easily make your own sports drinks at home.

Making your own sports drinks is fun, cost effective, and MUCH healthier than most alternatives.

Ingredients for Homemade Organic Sports Drinks:

  • Pure Organic Fruit Juice (No High Fructose Corn Syrup!)
  • Water or Green Tea
  • Organic Sea Salt

Directions: Fill your sports bottle with half juice and half water. Add a pinch of organic sea salt, shake, and enjoy!

Sports Drink Variations and Information:

  • You can use table salt, but organic sea salt is best to use as an electrolyte source as the minerals of the sea are very similar to our own electrolyte composition in our blood. Sea salt contains 84 minerals. Aside from sodium, you are receiving potassium, iodine, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, and more!
  • A small pinch of sea salt is sufficient for most, a larger pinch should be used for endurance athletes, and convalescent care to stave off hyponatremia, the dangerous condition of low sodium levels that can cause muscle weakness, confusion, slurred speech, and more.
  • The RDA for sodium depending on your age, ranges between 1200-1500mg daily.
  • Most athletes lose around 1000mg of sodium per hour, depending on how much they sweat, you do not have to replete all of this at once though, doing so may result in gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Most sports drinks contain around 20-60mg of sodium per 100 mL.
  • One teaspoon of salt contains 2400mg of sodium. For hard core endurance athletes such as Ironman triathletes, that are in need of strict sodium regulation, I would aim for about 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt an hour for starters. If you get cramps or weakness in your muscles then you probably need more sodium and magnesium. If you get an upset stomach, chances are you need less sugar and electrolytes. These are just basic guidelines, the best formula is the one that works for you!
  • Soups like chicken and vegetable broth can also be enjoyed as electrolyte sources.
  • Green tea can be used for athletes wanting a little bit of a fat burning or energetic edge.
  • Honey and sea salt can be added to green tea or your favorite herbal tea if fruit juice is unavailable. Enjoy hot or chilled.
  • Try adding an Emergen-C packet to your room temperature green tea for an energizing, fat burning sports drink! Let the tea cool a bit because vitamin C is heat sensitive.
  • Herbal teas can also be used in this formula as a simple way to deliver herbal medicine to sick children.
  • Hydrating foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, honeydew, cantaloupe, and other such water packed fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of water, sugar, and electrolytes. They are “Nature’s Sports Drinks”! Keep them in your refrigerator and serve them up cold to kids that have been actively playing in the warm summer sun.

Reference: Exercise Associated Hyponatremia, Cape Town, South Africa 2005. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 15(4):208-213, July 2005.

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by my kitchen table!

~Dr. Nicole

Naturopathic Physician

  1. Hi Dr. Nicole,

    Who knew it was that easy to make a healthy sports drink? You’re absolutely awesome for sharing this money saving, ultra healthy recipe.

  2. Erin Happycamper June 24, 2008 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Next shopping trip I’m adding this stuff to my list. As much as I love Gatorade, I do hate the red food coloring, and so. Yep! I’m going to try it!


  3. Heya Nicole
    I’ve recently increased my workout-load significantly. Over the last 9 weeks I’ve been doing heavy weight lifting 4x per week and on the same days riding my bike to work & back (30min each way).

    It’s going great. I’ve increased my calorie intake quite a bit and i’m drinking about a gallon of water per day and managed to gain 9lbs whilst losing a bit around the waist, however…

    I’ve gotten some of the worst charlie horses in the history of mamalian exoskeletal muscle. Seriously. A couple so bad that I had to stop my workout and was limping the next day. It’s always in either my calves or my quads (i squat 2x per week).

    The advice i’ve gotten (from myraid sources) has included deficiencies in: Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, fluids in general, salt, and b-12 (the whole veggie diet thing). I’m thinking maybe salt is the most likely culprit since i don’t add any to my food, but I thought i’d see what you suggested.


  4. Yay! Thanks for sharing this info. I’ve recently started running again and in this heat, I need something more than water. These days my stomach turns at the thought of another sports drink, gel, or those awful jelly beans. It’s great to have a natural alternative to the “space” food/drinks before, after, or during a run.

  5. 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare condition- severe, chronic orthostatic intolerance. Before this turning point in my life, I have always eaten organic, and relied on vitamins and herbs for my ailments.
    Now I find myself taking steroids to retain water and a vasoconstrictor just to be able to get out of bed in the morning without having a severe vagal reaction. I down copious amounts of Gatorade, and put salt on EVERYTHING.
    My cardiologist has me drinking 6 liters of liquids a day-But I am so thirsty I actually probably drink more than that! (My blood sugar is normal, as a matter of fact I am perfectly healthy in every other way – supposedly.)
    There has to be a better, more natural way to retain fluids. I also tend to be deficient in potassium and magnesium and iron.
    Any suggestions regarding the best homemade electrolyte replacement drink for me?
    I am starting to wonder if my skin is going to turn the color of purple gatorade frost! ANY HELP IS SO MUCH APPRECIATED! Thanks!

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  13. I just finished a two hour bike ride with orange juice, water and a touch of salt. I was fully of energy throughout. Last week I just brought water and I was dragging by the end. This drink works for me.

  14. I agree that homemade sports drinks can be better than what we can buy at the stores. My sports drink recipe also dilutes the fruit juice. Dilution 50/50 with water is a good approximation, but I use the sugar content on the fruit juice label to more accurately dilute the sugar to the desired level for a sports drink.

  15. i love your sports drink i have resently started working out mor and lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks

  16. your reecipee was great and it gave mee heaps of elecrolytes and stuff

  17. What a great recipe! This was just what I was looking for! Would this help hydrate you when you have a cold? ( As an addition with water?)

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