Electrolytes are one of the key nutrient components involved in almost every next metabolic function of our body. They are essential minerals regularly required by the human body to carry out major body processes.
While the importance of electrolytes is known to many, how to get electrolytes and from where is still an alien idea. The lack comes from little or no knowledge of the best electrolyte sources and ways to consume them.
This article is your guide as to how you can get electrolytes and how they play an important role in hydration and maintaining electrolyte balance.
What are Electrolytes?
Needless to say, you must have heard about sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc. n number of times. These are minerals that carry an electric charge and readily dissolve in water.
Electrolytes perform many major body functions including-
- Maintaining muscle and nerve function
- Balancing pH levels
- Regulating fluid levels
- Blood clotting
- Help in keeping skin and hair healthy and glowing
Our body requires all the major electrolytes regularly in optimum amounts, failing which it can go into a state of dehydration which can further lead to many severe health problems.
Electrolyte Imbalance and How to Prevent It
Electrolyte balance is required to protect many body functions like cellular function, tissue perfusion, and acid-base balance. (In fact, electrolyte imbalance has been linked to a variety of disorders.).
An electrolyte disorder occurs when your body’s electrolyte levels are either too high or too low, causing hypernatremia or hyponatremia, respectively. If electrolyte equilibrium or balance is not maintained, key physiological systems may be harmed.
The most common and major symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are-
- irregular heartbeat
- hard breathing
- muscle cramps and weakness
Preventing electrolyte imbalance is a crucial aspect as the fluctuation in electrolyte levels also affects the body’s functions.
To avoid any kind of electrolyte imbalance, you must foremostly take care of your diet. Consuming foods rich in minerals like green leafy vegetables, fruits, electrolyte drinks, smoothies, etc., and also consuming optimum amounts of water to maintain hydration are the key starters for effective fluid and electrolyte regulation.
In severe conditions of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, liquids like ORS drinks are a total savior. However, it can also be consumed if you need quick electrolyte replenishment or a sudden immune boost.
How to Get Electrolytes
There are many foods that are great sources of electrolytes. The deal is to know which ones to consume and how much. Here is a list of some great go-to foods and drinks for your electrolyte replenishment.
Milk is indeed a surprise when it comes to replenishing electrolytes. One cup of milk provides approximately 300 mg of calcium, whereas one cup of yogurt contains approximately 450 mg.
Milk has a healthy combination of carbs and protein, as well as electrolytes such as calcium, sodium, and potassium. All these electrolytes are quite critical for refueling and also favor muscle tissue regeneration.
Milk is also claimed to be a great post-workout beverage as it helps in recovering all the lost electrolytes during intense workout sessions.
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable and thus it is a very nutritious and excellent source of calcium and magnesium both of which are very important electrolytes for the body.
A single cup of cooked spinach provides 24% calcium and 73 % magnesium per day for adults. Other micronutrients, including vitamin A and vitamin K, are also abundant in this vegetable making it a healthy choice for many body functions.
Electrolyte infused water
Electrolyte-infused water is a low-calorie, effective approach to replace electrolytes and stay hydrated. They are specifically made to cure dehydration. However, the electrolyte levels and effectiveness of the electrolyte water depend upon the brand.
Keep in mind that these liquids are likely to be high in sugar, as many of them are meant to restore glucose storage after lengthy periods of exercise. So, you can likewise opt for sugar-free options as well.
You all must have had coconut water once in your life while out on a very sunny day. One of the easiest go-to drinks anytime and anywhere, coconut water is naturally sugar-free.
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It’s also a healthier option than sodas, juices, and typical sports drinks, with 46 calories per cup (237 ml).
Banana is known to be one of the biggest sources of potassium. One banana contains about 422 mg of potassium which is literally astonishing!
Potassium aids in muscle function and blood pressure management. Apart from potassium, banana is also a rich source of Vitamin B6, Fibre, Manganese, magnesium, etc. Bananas are also a go-to comfort post-workout snack for many.
Smoothies are a great option if you are looking for a quick electrolyte boost in your body after a workout or a tiring day.
Whole foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy products are good sources of electrolytes, all of which can be mixed and can be made into a healthy, satiating smoothie.
A smoothie may be simpler to digest and more appealing than several other foods if you’re recovering from a stomach ailment and need to replenish electrolytes.
Avocados are a very rich source of potassium. In fact, one avocado can contain up to 975 mg of potassium, which is literally double the potassium in a banana.
Avocados are abundant in healthy fats, fiber, Vitamins B, C, E, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, etc.
Sports drinks are a combination of carbs, liquids, and electrolytes, the key mix needed by endurance athletes and sportspeople to maintain hydration and energy throughout an athletic event or training session.
However, one must know that consuming sports drinks in excess or without any specific reason can bring about severe consequences. They frequently contain artificial colors, tastes, and extra sugar, which aren’t really necessary for anyone.
So make sure if you are consuming sports drinks, you carefully go through the ingredients, especially sugar content before buying them.