One of the most overlooked aspects when starting the keto diet is the change in electrolyte requirements.
Why do you need more electrolytes on keto?
When you go on a low carb diet, the body no longer retains salt and water, and that is the reason why some people can drop 5 pounds in a week (they’re losing water weight). There is a downside to not being able to retain water and salts as much and you’ll need to supplement with various minerals to replace those lost electrolytes..
There is still some debate among experts, but the consensus is that the body needs around 5 grams of sodium on the keto diet for optimal functioning, together with 500-600mg of magnesium, and the same amount for calcium.
In a low sodium environment, blood flow is affected and it can have an impact on the kidneys, as they will start eliminating potassium to maintain balance. Low sodium can also cause excessive thirst, which will increase fluid intake and contribute to the elimination of more electrolytes.
It’s a vicious circle, and this is where the dreaded keto flu sets in, where you might feel faint or experience headaches, brain fog, or even lose muscle mass.
How should you fight keto flu?
There are two ways to approach fighting the keto flu. One would be to start buying mineral enriched water, sodium capsules, or even keto-friendly electrolyte drinks. Sports drinks also contain a good balance of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, and they’re a good option when you’re on the go. Just make sure you pick up the sugar free version.
Although most of these supplements can be found on Amazon, unfortunately, some of them can be expensive or not available in certain regions. Fortunately there are some at home recipes that are easy to make, low calorie, and easily affordable.
But first, what are the benefits of electrolyte drinks?
Technically, electrolytes are salts that help conduct electricity when they are mixed with water. This property allows them to help with important bodily functions.
Having a daily electrolyte drink may also help with:
- Controlling fluid balance.
- Regulating blood pressure.
- Helping muscles contract — including your heart.
- Maintaining the correct acidity of the blood (pH).
Some common electrolytes are sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium. These can also be found in the form of supplements at the pharmacy.
What are some easy electrolyte drinks recipes to make at home?
If you don’t want to spend money on expensive supplements, here are some easy-to-make electrolyte drinks using household staples.
The Easiest Keto Electrolyte Drink
The easiest recipe involves lemon juice and salt (preferably Himalayan as it has a higher mineral content than regular table salt):
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 8oz water
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed or else check it’s sugar-free if it’s prepackaged)
Just stir everything together until the salt is dissolved. Try to drink it after a meal or with food as the drink is pretty acidic and could cause stomach issues.
If you prefer, you can replace the lemon juice with lime juice (limes are a good source of magnesium and potassium).
Lemonade-Style Keto Electrolyte Drink
If you prefer something light and refreshing to drink throughout the day, then give this recipe a try:
- 4 or 5 cups of water
- 2 limes, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon of Himalayan salt
- A few drops of liquid stevia
This keeps well in the fridge and it’s something you can drink throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and keep Keto flu symptoms at bay. Ketorecipes
Jazz Up Your Keto Electrolyte Drink With These Ingredients
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 also antioxidants, and they give a fresh flavor to the drink. Their carb content is insignificant, so there will be no impact on ketosis.
Orange Juice: If lemons and limes are too acidic for you, you can replace them with orange juice, but if you are close to your daily carb limit, be aware that orange juice (because it has higher sugar content) will add two grams of carbs to the 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.
Pickle Juice: And, if you want to be a bit eccentric and shock those around you, pickle juice is another good option.