What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphate, magnesium and chloride. These minerals are present in all foods and even water. These electrically charged minerals and chemical compounds assist the body to perform most of its functions. For instance, they produce energy, repair damaged tissue, and support muscle contraction. Since your heart is a muscle, electrolytes are involved in the regulation of your heartbeat.
You need an adequate amount of body electrolytes before, during, and after workouts. Low electrolytes can disrupt your body's functions like muscle contraction, fluid regulation, and acid balance. Your muscles need potassium, sodium, and calcium to contract, and when these minerals are low, the muscles may contract excessively or become weak.
To prevent your body from shutting down during workouts or regular daily activities, try these methods to ensure that your body gets the right amount of electrolytes at all times.
Electrolytes in drinks
If you are looking for the fastest way to replenish electrolytes, drinking fluids containing electrolytes is a sure way to do it. Many beverages and sports drinks provide your body with electrolytes. If you prefer to get your electrolytes from natural sources, make some fruit and vegetable juice at home. Some people like to put some citrus in your drinking water, which is a perfect alternative. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, bananas and oranges are fantastic for making your electrolyte drinks at home. You can blend them with soy milk and add some spinach or carrots if you like.
Drinks formulated for sportsmen and women are more convenient for people on the go and have little to no time to bring out their juice makers and blenders. As effective as these drinks are in giving you enough electrolytes while working out, you must also drink them in moderation. Having too much electrolytes fluids has a similar effect as having low body electrolytes.
Electrolytes in foods
If you need a quick electrolyte fix in your body during a workout session, then the food may not be the best option. But if you are looking for foods that you can add to your diet to boost your electrolyte, you have many options to choose from. Foods rich in electrolyte minerals are all around us, and you do not need any specialised diet to get them.
Some people only think about fruits and vegetables when making a list of foods rich in electrolytes. But did you know that you can find electrolytes in grains and dairy foods? Cottage cheese, yoghurt, and milk are good sources of calcium. They also contain other minerals such as magnesium, phosphates, and sodium.
Another good source of electrolytes is nuts and seeds. Your favourite peanut butter contains a good amount of magnesium. Cashews are also known to contain phosphorous. Beans and lentils – kidney beans and soybeans contain potassium, calcium, and phosphorous.
There are no rules for how you can get your electrolytes as you have many options to explore. The only considerations when making a choice is your dietary preference and your daily schedule. It is important to note that eating healthy is a sure way of keeping your electrolytes at healthy levels. If your diet is packed with all kinds of ingredients rich in minerals, and you keep your body hydrated, then you have nothing to worry about not getting enough electrolytes.