Electrolytes – What It Is and Why We Need, Food Sources

Electrolytes are essential minerals, which are necessary for body functions. They help to control pH levels and muscles health, keep hydrated, and more. Therefore, consuming sufficient electrolytes from the diet is necessary for health.

Some electrolytes present in the body are:

  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Each of these minerals holds an electric charge when dissolved in the human body, providing them their name as an electrolyte. Additionally, every mineral provides a different value for every day. A percentage of a nutrient every serving and some are more common in the diet than others.

Energy drinks are often linked with electrolytes.

However, they commonly have a high amount of sugar and colored dyes that may not be helpful for health. Instead, consider eating electrolytes from healthier sources when possible for you.

Electrolytes Explained

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Electrolytes are chemicals that create ions in body fluids. They help to assure particular bodily functions run at normal levels. Too few electrolytes will lead the body to cramp. A serious sports person know, cramping can differ. So how do we stop cramping and keep the body running at its high level? We keep it supplied with the required electrolytes. Right fuelling during a workout needs extra fluids and calories, as it involves enough and consistent electrolyte support also.

Electrolyte requires to vary much more than either hydration or caloric needs, so you will have to feel quite a bit in training until you get this aspect of fuelling tailored to particular needs under different conditions.

 

Why You Need Electrolytes

Getting enough electrolytes is important for healthy body maintenance. Managing a healthy electrolyte level can be possible from a balanced and healthy diet.

Since there are different electrolytes, the daily recommended value for every electrolyte depends on gender, age, activity level, and health status.

 

What is an imbalance of electrolytes?

Electrolytes require to present in the body within a particular range. If levels become more high or low, an electrolyte imbalance can happen.

An imbalance may lead to:

Dehydration

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A rapid loss of body fluids leads to burns, illness, or excessive sweating can cause imbalance electrolytes if they are not changed.

 

Kidney function

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Some conditions, like chronic kidney problems or Addison’s disease, can lead to high levels of potassium. It can cause a potentially dangerous condition named hyperkalemia.

 

Other conditions

People with type-1 diabetes, older people, and those with eating disorders, like bulimia, may also be more likely to get an imbalance of electrolytes.

 

Medications

Certain medications may also affect the normal level of electrolytes, including:

chemotherapy drugs

laxatives

diuretics

beta-blockers

corticosteroids

Symptoms

If you are experiencing imbalance, you may feel some or all of these signs:

  • muscle weakness
  • headache
  • extreme thirst
  • numbness
  • change in blood pressure
  • fatigue or lethargy
  • confusion or disorientation
  • irregular or fast heartbeat
  • spasms
  • muscle cramps
  • twitching
  • seizure

Signs may also show up slowly according to which electrolyte level is too low or too high.

For example, too little calcium may cause bone weakening and osteoporosis.

 

How to stay in balance

Many strategies can help to manage your electrolytes in balance:

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet, which adds foods, which consist of electrolytes.
  • Consume more water, but do not overdo it. Consuming high fluid can remove electrolytes from the system.
  • Do not overuse medicine diuretics or consume them for more time without your physician’s approval.
  • Avoid using more salt. Even though sodium is an electrolyte, consuming more can imbalance the system.
  • Try to stop strenuous outdoor workouts during hot days.
  • Avoid workout indoors without air conditioning, especially if you begin to sweat profusely.
  • Refresh yourself with fluids like sports drinks or water after more hours of strenuous activity or after very intense exercise for a short time.
  • Talk to your physician about the medications you are consuming. Ask to replace if you are getting an imbalance.
  • Ensure to ask about both prescription and over-the-counter medication.

 

The Best Food Sources Of Electrolytes

Nuts

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Most types of nuts, particularly brazil nuts, almonds, and cashews consist of high magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Magnesium is essential for managing blood sugar levels and, blood pressure with magnesium deficiency has been related to high blood pressure and diabetes.

Overall, these nutrient-packed superfoods are the best addition to diets, as a snack with nut butter or dairy substitute milk. They also consist of heaps of healthy fats, and veggies-protein, and the best meat replacements for vegans and vegetarians.

Potatoes

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Potato is not much recommended as healthy food, but it can be surprising to know they provide high potassium. It is especially essential because research has shown that most of us do not get the suggested amount of potassium in our diet. This critical electrolyte is essential for the body system, but especially for healthy kidneys and the functions of muscles.

Broccoli

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It is a well-known superfood and it provides loads of electrolytes. It also provides potassium and magnesium. The human body needs calcium to build new bone, which is important throughout life as bone cells are regularly being broken down and changed by new cells. If you don’t get sufficient calcium, then you may develop weak bones that may have more risk of break, a condition named osteoporosis. Calcium is also important for normal blood clotting to stop extra bleeding and regular heart function.

Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds

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These seeds provide rich phosphorus and magnesium. Getting sufficient phosphorus is necessary for bone health and managing a healthy immune system. You can sprinkle these seeds in snacks or salad enjoy and feel good.

Cow’s milk

Milk is a common source of calcium and benefits bones for good shape, but you may not know that it provides more sodium and phosphorus.

If you don’t like plain milk, then try flavored milkshakes or even hot chocolate to receive a liquid electrolyte fix.

Alternative Milk

With both lactose and veganism intolerance levels elevating, many of you may be assuming how you can still get sufficient of these essential nutrients if you cannot eat dairy products. You will be pleased to understand that in fact, different milk alternatives do consist of more calcium, specifically, rice, soy, hemp milk, and coconut. Additionally, different brands of dairy alternatives are fortified with extra calcium to benefit you have enough. Almond and soy milk are also the best source of phosphorus, so you do not need to miss them because you do not like cow’s milk.

Coconut water

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We may not get access to coconuts straight above the trees in every climate, but supermarket cases of coconut water provide more famous in recent years for good reason. Coconut water is a good source of sodium, chloride, and potassium. Sodium enriched coconut drink maybe even extra than an old sport drink as before workout rehydration therapy.

 

Other Sources Of Electrolytes:

Pickle juice

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It may sound strange, but pickle juice has got a lot of attention from sports and exercise nutrition experts because of its excellent electrolyte qualities. It consists of 8 times more potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium than standard sports drinks. Drinking pickle juice might be an extra effective way to stop working out produced muscle cramps than eating these regular sports drinks.

Table salt and its options

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Table salt is common around 99% sodium chloride. Bothe chloride and sodium are essential electrolytes. Sodium is important for bodies for nerve and muscle contraction. However, Western diets commonly consist of more sodium than most people require, while not offering enough potassium. Extra sodium can manage high blood pressure and cause heart complications. It may be good to balance electrolytes consumption by changing table salt for substitutes prepared from potassium chloride.

 

Electrolyte Replacement Products

Sports drinks

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Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are used to change fluid, electrolytes, carbohydrates, especially sodium that lost is in sweat.

One major benefit of sports drinks is that they lead to low bloating than different electrolyte-rich drinks, like milk. However, although they are the best source of carbohydrates and fluid, they often consist of low sodium than the same milk volume. With their larger price tag, they may not be worthy of shopping bills.

Powders

You can purchase electrolyte-rich rehydration powder from a local pharmacy, these can be best if you have lost a large amount of fluid like diarrhea. If you do not need a medical cure, but do need a quick electrolyte fix that does not taste awful, hydration mixed might be best to start.

Tablets

You can also substitute lost electrolytes from tablets, which consist of various electrolytes such as chloride, magnesium, and calcium. Again, these do not allow extra electrolytes than whole food or alcohol, but they provide several benefits of drink replacement. For example, they often have no or very fewer calories, which may be especially valuable if you are sweating while exercising for weight loss.

Furthermore, you do not have to carry heavy water or food product, they can go as they are consumed during long endurance like a marathon. It may help to prevent electrolyte loss during the performance, which can cause muscle cramps and fatigue.

Chia Seeds

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Electrolyte-rich chia seeds provide 12 times their weight in water, making them both a nutritious source of powerful hydrator and minerals. You can combine them in oatmeal, toast, or make hydrating gel drink.

Beans

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Beans such as black beans, soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, white beans are nutritious to add in salad, dip, and dish.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a cooked and fermented cereal, beans, and food processing byproducts, and grasped and mixed by the mycelium of a living mold.

It also provides magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.

Bananas

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Bananas are very hydrating, packed with electrolytes such as potassium, portable and easy on the gut during a workout. There is even research to indicate that consuming bananas before or during a big exercise can help to keep you fueled.

Watermelon

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Watermelon is another well-known hydrating fruit. It provides rich potassium. Try to sprinkle some salt over to enhance the natural flavor and get some sodium before exercise.

Oranges

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Oranges are the best fruit to get electrolytes. It also provides magnesium, calcium, water, and potassium.

Avocados

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Avocados are another source of electrolytes. It can be consumed as delicious toast for brunch and healthy for the heart. It can be added to salad. They consist of rich magnesium and potassium.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens like kale, spinach, beet greens, chard are good sources of electrolytes. They are the best source of magnesium, potassium, and healthy carbohydrates to help the absorption of minerals. Add all greens to a salad or cook them.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious and provide high nutrients like sodium, potassium, and vitamins. Dress them with a salt sprinkle or other electrolyte-packed ingredients like nuts and cheese for a snack or meal.

Fresh Smoothies

You can also get electrolytes from smoothies by blending fresh drinks with fruits. Skip things with added sugars.

Organic Pressed Juices from Raw Veggie

If cooked veggies are not your thing, then add more nutrient-dense produce with a fresh-pressed juice. Get a drink with fruit and vegetable to rehydrate your body.

 

Food vs. drink

The number of electrolytes you need every day differs and is based on different factors, including:

  • age
  • water consumption
  • activity level
  • climate

Most people get sufficient electrolytes from the everyday foods and drinks they take in. For example, electrolyte drinks such as sports drinks may be the best way to quickly change the fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates that you lose during extreme activity.

Electrolytes leave the body from urine and sweat. If you get more sweat, work out in hot weather, or work out vigorously for more than one or two hours, you may benefit from consuming electrolyte drinks before, during, or after exercise.

People with dehydration risk, like diarrhea, high fever, or vomiting may also help from electrolyte beverages.

Benefits of Electrolytes

Rehydrate During Illness

The short term of diarrhea and vomiting are not many serious conditions. However, persistent and severe symptoms can quickly cause dehydration if electrolytes and fluids are not changed. Children and infants are more likely to get dehydration from server diarrhea and vomiting. The American-Academy-of-Pediatrics suggest using an oral rehydration solution when see first illness signs to stop dehydration. Oral rehydration solution consists of water, electrolytes, and carbs in specific proportions, which is easy to digest. A famous example is Pedialyte. Sports drinks are the same but consist of high sugar. They are not suggested for young children or infants, as they may increase diarrhea conditions. Note: Electrolyte drinks may not be enough for treating the severe condition of dehydration. If diarrhea remains for more than 24 hours or if you are not able to keep fluids, seek doctor help.

 

Prevent Heat Stroke

Hot weather keeps you at risk of different heat-linked illnesses, which range from mild heat to severe rashes risking life. Commonly, your body controls heat by releasing it from the skin by sweating. However, this cooling system may start to fail in a hot environment, leading to body temperature increasing at harmful levels.

The key to stopping heat problems is to reduce your time in the heat. However, having more fluid and electrolytes is also essential for body cooling.

During hot weather, sports drinks and water are not suggested for hydration on other drinks. Drinks consisting of caffeine like coffee, soda, and tea may worsen dehydration like alcohol.

 

Electrolyte vs Normal Water

Enough hydration is important for complete health. Water is important for all body functions, including regular body temperature, transporting nutrients, and removing waste and toxins. Both electrolyte and normal water count towards everyday fluid needs as do other drinks like tea, coffee, fruit juices, and milk.

It is a general misperception that electrolyte water is superior to normal water in hydration. It can be more beneficial if you are suffering from mineral losses. 

 

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals, which help the body to manage optimal function. An electrolyte imbalance may happen for a wide range of reasons and is often connected to excessive sweating or dehydration. You can skip electrolyte imbalance by consuming a healthy diet and enough water. If you are a sports person, sports drinks may be the best way to get a quick boost to electrolyte level.

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