What are electrolytes?
What do sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate all have in common? They are essential minerals that our bodies require for survival and are present in nearly every one of our body’s cells. When dissolved in water, these minerals conduct electricity to create energy and are known as electrolytes.
Involuntary processes in our bodies, such as blood pressure balancing, rely on a small electric current to function, and electrolytes provide this charge. They also regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, and help rebuild damaged tissue.
How do you know if you have an imbalance?
Depending on which mineral is out of balance, either too little or too much, symptoms can vary. You may experience one or more of the following: confusion and irritability, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, headache, heart arrhythmia, muscle cramps, spasms or weakness, nausea and vomiting, and numbness or tingling in fingers, toes, and limbs.
Sweating from exercise or even just those hot summer days can deplete your electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium and the balance of electrolytes in the body need to be restored.
How can I prevent an imbalance from occurring?
Eat well and stay hydrated – that’s the key to maintaining healthy levels of electrolytes.
Recommended daily intake of the more common electrolytes (for healthy adults) and which foods to find them in:
Sodium – 1,500mg – tomato juices, celery, beets, salt
Potassium – 4,700mg – potato with skin, spinach, avocado, yogurt, banana
Magnesium – 350mg – halibut, pumpkin seeds, spinach, avocado
Calcium – 1,000mg – milk, cheese, collard greens, spinach, kale, sardines