Have you ever felt acute pain in your side or a leg cramp when you are doing exercise? Electrolytes could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Have you ever felt unusual muscle aches, headaches or even nauseous after a workout? This could be due to your electrolyte levels.
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals in our body that contain an electric charge and help cells function. Sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate are all electrolytes and they all are paramount in keeping a healthy heart, muscles, brain and nerves. Electrolytes are found in blood, urine and other fluids are in charge of balancing the amount of water in your body and regulating its pH level. They move nutrients into cells and get rid of the waste to stay hydrated and nourished.
For your body to have energy and feel good, it is paramount to maintain healthy electrolyte levels. When you sweat a lot you might a higher amount of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium than your body can handle. Apart from sweat, fasting, taking certain medicines, vomiting or diarrhea can affect our body’s water levels and lead to an electrolyte imbalance.
The symptoms are usually headaches, dizziness, nausea and even irregular heartbeat, cramps and extreme fatigue.
How to fix it
Keeping yourself well hydrated is key, and though there exist several sports drinks, they are often full of refined sugars or artificial sweeteners, which can be detrimental to your health. Instead, go for foods that are rich in water and nutrients to replenish your electrolytes.
As mentioned above, there are foods and drinks that will recharge and balance your electrolyte levels so your muscles stay active and improve your performance.
Foods to replenish your electrolytes
Our bodies do need some salt to function well, of course, excess sodium is not good for you, so stay away from highly processed foods and added sodium in general. But you can eat some foods that contain sodium but are still natural and healthy.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great snack especially if you are planning on doing exercise. They contain magnesium and phosphorus and they are super tasty!
3. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are rich in electrolytes and they absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, so they are both nutritious and hydrating. Have some chia seeds with your yogurt or smoothie to create your own hydrating gel drink.
Kidney beans, black beans, white beans, soybeans and so on, are nutritious to eat, super versatile and packed with electrolytes.
If you are a vegetarian, this is a really good source of protein, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Try some baked tempeh treats!
Packed with potassium they come in their own natural wrapping and are super easy to have on the go, and they will keep you fueled for exercise.
7. Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, and more are part of a healthy diet and they are rich in electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium. Plus, they provide healthy carbohydrates to help you better absorb those minerals.
8. Vegetable smoothies
Any fruit and vegetable mixed before a workout session will replenish all the electrolytes you need –just make sure to avoid adding sugar to it.
9. Sweet potatoes
They are delicious, nutritious, packed with electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and vitamins! You can bake your own healthy sweet potato chips!
10. Coconut water
Hydrating, tasty and full of minerals –an easy way to gulp all the electrolytes you need!