Electrolytes contract muscles, generate electricity, and move fluids and water within the body. Some examples of electrolytes are Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Bicarbonate, Calcium, and Magnesium. Electrolytes are found in fruit juices, milk, and many fruits and vegetables (e.g. avocados, potatoes, bananas).
It is possible to get electrolytes from many healthy foods.
How much does anybody really know about Electrolytes? The word, Electrolytes, has become a household word lately because a lot of people are familiar with all the currently popular sports drinks. You’ve probably read that electrolytes are good for you and they are important to have when you’re dehydrated or sick. But the thing is, when you are sick, sugary sports drinks are the very last thing your body really needs. Did you know that you also can get electrolytes from many healthy foods?
The Real Facts About Electrolytes:
Electrolytes are liquids, solids, or gases that contain electrically conducting ions and can be measured by laboratory studies of blood serum. The general public wasn’t really aware of electrolytes until some sports drinks started making claims that they contained more electrolytes than water. People who work out or are physically active lose electrolytes when through sweat and need to replenish their electrolytes to regain their energy. Sweat is usually made up of 99 percent water and one percent electrolytes.
Types of Electrolytes:
What you probably have not been told is that the best source of electrolytes is from food, not from sugary drinks. Lots of vegetables, either canned, fresh or frozen vegetables, are high in electrolytes, as are fruits, bread and milk. Potatoes (mashed with salt added is best), avacados, dried fruit, soy products, coconut milk, red and white wine, bread and most meats are all sufficient options for replenishing your body’s electrolyte needs. However, excessive intake of inorganic sulfates can result in diarrhea.
Salted foods can also be used for sodium electrolyte replacement. Salted meats, peanuts, butter — all of these sources are also effective for replacing chloride which is another electrolyte that can be lost along with sodium through sweating. Excessive intake of sodium chloride can result in hypertension which can cause heart concerns so watch how much you consume.
Potassium is an electrolyte which can also be lost through sweat. It can be replaced with fruits like bananas, dairy products, vegetables, nuts and meats. When replaced through food alone, there have been no documented or reported side effects, but potassium replacement through supplementation can result in hyperkalemia. An overload of potassium can result in sudden death in individuals with kidney health issues or renal failure.
Spring water or tap water does not contain electrolytes. But water with a pinch of salt, sugar and flour added to it will provide your body with lots of electrolytes.
Misconceptions About Electrolytes:
You shouldn’t drink large amounts of water to re-hydrate yourself when you have been exercising. Rather, you should drink small amounts of water while at the same time eating an energy bar to replenish your electrolytes. Sports drinks are loaded with sugar but there are somne sugar-free brands out there if you look for them. When your body is still active during workouts, it will have a hard time absorbing the electrolytes until you have stopped for a small period of rest. So while you are engaging in a strenuous physical workout, just take in small amounts of water until you can get to the point of resting for a short while.
The Benefits of Electrolytes:
If your electrolytes are right, you will experience fewer muscle cramps and spasms, increased stamina and less soreness after a workout. If you wake up at night with muscle spasms or cramps, just put a pinch of salt into a glass of water and drink a few sips. Overnight your body will replenish its electrolytes and you won’t experience the same severity of cramps the next day.
A Warning About Electrolytes:
Beef jerky is high in electrolytes but it should not be eaten very regularly. Carcinogens are found in smoked foods, and even though most beef jerky eaters do not eat enough jerky to become sick, it is still important to eat small amounts of it if you are working out but not more than a couple times a week. Beef jerky is very salty so it is a wonderful source of electrolytes but it is not a great source of any other nutrients.
Some Homeopathic Remedies for Replenishing Electrolytes:
Epsom Salt Soak —
To instantly replenish needed electrolytes, create an epsom salts (Magnesium sulfates) bath which allows the minerals to soak directly into the body’s pores. Put 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm bath every week.
Hydration is Important —
Everyone should drink plenty of water every day and you can add a teaspoon of salt to every 8 ounces of water you drink as an added bonus, contributing to a proper electrolyte balance. It is especially important to stay hydrated if you regularly work out. Sweating and exercise depletes your electrolytes so you need to take these precautions before beginning any strenuous activities.