'Electrolytes' you've probably heard that word before but do you know what they are, why they are important and where to get them?
Electrolytes are generally associated with dehydration, any time your body loses fluids you'll also lose electrolytes, which is why restoring them is very important! Many energy and sports drinks promise to deliver big doses of electrolytes but knowing the natural sources of them is much more beneficial and a lot better for you.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are a type of mineral that carries an electric charge through the body and are essential in order for us to survive! Electrolytes regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body's hydration, blood pH and blood pressure. In our bodies, electrolytes include calcium, sodium, magnesium and chloride. Wrong electrolyte levels can lead to either weak muscles, or muscles that contract too severely. The level of an electrolyte in the blood can become too high or too low, and this tends to happen when water levels in the body change. When we exercise we sweat and lose electrolytes, mainly sodium and potassium and these need to be replenished to restore electrolyte balance.
Symptoms Of Low Electrolytes
An electrolyte imbalance can have various different symptoms, depending on which electrolyte is out of balance and whether that level is too high or too low. But some symptoms include -
• Frequent headaches
• Joint pain
• Muscle spasms
• Confusion or brain fog
Natural Sources Of Electrolytes
While many sports/energy drinks promise a big dose of electrolytes they are also often loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives so it's better to go with natural options!
• Bananas - this delicious fruit is loaded with potassium; just a single banana can replenish as much as 600 milligrams of potassium so they're the perfect post workout snack.
• Beans - kidney beans, black beans and cannellini beans are all great options as they provide high levels of both calcium and potassium which will help replenish electrolytes and your energy levels. Why not make a delicious chilli?
• Avocado - there's nothing better than avocado on toast, it's just so yummy AND will boost your potassium levels!
• Nuts & Seeds (including nut butter!) - nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium and calcium, hey if that's an excuse to eat more almond butter I'm all for it!
• Pure Coconut Water - this is great for rehydration, it actually hydrates you faster than water! Plus, pure coconut water combines all the essential minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium.
• Leafy Greens - chomp on that kale for some added potassium and magnesium in the body, plus leafy greens are an all-round superfood and will make you feel amazing!
Everyone needs electrolytes in their body, whether you're a sedentary person or an active person but it's particularly important to both prepare your body with electrolytes and refuel your body with electrolytes when you're participating in high-intensity exercise.