After a sweaty workout or long night of dancing, electrolytes replenishment is a requirement. What exactly does the term “electrolyte” mean? Many people toss around the word with little knowledge of the meaning. In this blog, you’ll understand what they are, why they’re essential, sources of electrolytes to add to your diet, and why imbalance is dangerous.
Electrolytes: What They Are
Do you want the scientific term? Chemists describe an electrolyte as a compound that produces ions when dissolved in a solution of H20 (water). Those ions have a negative or positive charge, why they’re known as “ELECTRO-lytes.” If you prefer the ‘geeky’ version, check out this Q&A Electrolyte Podcast by Dr. Paine.
Nutritionally speaking, the word “electrolyte” more specifically refers to the minerals dissolved in your body’s fluids (which creates an electrically charged ion). They are essential for human survival, helping our organizations properly function.
Responsibility of the electrolytes include (why they’re essential):
- Hormonal release
- Maintenance and regulation of the blood’s pH levels
- Help with blood clotting and tissue repair
- Communication of nerve cells to other cells
- Regulate fluid levels (including blood)
- Conduct bodily electricity (THINK: beating heart and muscle contraction)
Sources of electrolytes:
On the contrary to popular belief, you do not need to chug a Gatorade for your source of electrolytes. Look for foods with proper does of these for a steady take of electrolytes:
- Sodium – carrots, celery, spinach, beets, and chards
- Potassium – bananas, broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, and peas
- Phosphate – nuts, fish, beans, and dairy products
- Magnesium – black-eyed peas (cooked), tempeh (cooked), tofu, almonds, cashews, and flax seeds.
Of course, you can chug an electrolyte-based sports drink or pop a tablet to quickly replenish your electrolytes. However, keep in mind that these drinks contain gobs of sugar and sugar substitutes. They’re not ideal for the average joe. Visit our Nutrition and Meal Planning for fabulous, local help!
Imbalance of Electrolytes:
When there are too many or too few electrolytes in the body, it’s known as an Electrolyte Imbalance. Danger happens when you do not take care of your body correctly (mainly not eating right). We’re all guilty of a little imbalance in our life, right?
Your body will be the first to let you in on it with these symptoms of imbalance:
- Exhaustion, fatigue, and lethargy
- Muscle spasms and cramping
- Heartbeat irregularity
- Vomiting and nausea
- Diarrhea and constipation
All kidding aside, electrolyte imbalance is severe and can be
Please make sure to visit with your physician and nutritionist during your annual check-up to discuss electrolyte levels. He or she will be able to suggest tips to get you back on track customized to your person.
Electrolytes are significant in your diet. If you choose to go the sports-drink route, make sure you need it. Many foods contain electrolytes already. Maintain a well-rounded diet, get plenty of water, and rest. Connect with locals in the area to discuss.