Electrolytes...heard of them?
We hope so.
Your body needs electrolytes to function, especially after tough training sessions.
When you sweat, you lose electrolytes and they need to be replenished. When your body loses fluid equivalent to just 2% of your body weight, it can lead to electrolyte imbalances.
These fluids lost through sweat are primarily composed of water, but it also contains important electrolytes that are essential to your bodily functions, training, and athletic performance.
Naturally, you'll need to replenish those lost electrolytes with new electrolytes.
In this article, we'll dive deeper into the purpose of electrolytes, why you need them, and how to get them.
WHAT ARE ELECTROLYTES?
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge.
These minerals dissolve in fluids to form positive or negative ions that the body uses in metabolic processes.
Electrolytes are present in tissue, blood, urine, and other bodily fluids.
They include the following minerals: sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate, and magnesium that are vital to a number of key functions in the body.
THE PURPOSE OF ELECTROLYTES:
- Regulate your body's fluid balance.
- Generates new tissue.
- Regulates nerve, brain, heart, and muscle function.
- Regulate your blood pH—maintaining slight alkalinity
- Aid in blood clotting
WHAT CAUSES ELECTROLYTE IMBALANCE?
Electrolyte imbalances are primarily caused by the loss of bodily fluids.
Excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting can cause electrolyte imbalances.
Other causes of electrolyte imbalance include certain medications, severe burns, and eating disorders.
The fluid inside your cells accounts for roughly 40% of your weight, while 20% of your weight comes from fluid outside your cells. This balance of fluids should be fairly consistent for proper functioning of the body.
Electrolytes are crucial in maintaining this balance. Electrolyte imbalance comes from having too much or too little of any one electrolyte.
The table below shows the standard daily electrolyte needs for most adults (individual needs may vary):
|MAGNESIUM||420 mg (men), 320 mg (women)|
While it's normal for electrolyte levels in your body to fluctuate, they can become imbalanced when you lose a lot of fluid.
COMMON SIGNS OF ELECTROLYTE IMBALANCE:
- Frequent urination
- Irregular heartbeat
- Body aches
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle contractions
- Muscle cramps
Avoid these symptoms by listening to your body. One of the most common signs of electrolyte imbalance is thirst, followed by cramping.
Make sure to get enough electrolytes into your diet by eating and drinking electrolyte-rich foods.
HOW TO NATURALLY REPLENISH ELECTROLYTES?
Fortunately, there are many foods and drinks that you can incorporate into your diet or that you are already enjoying.
Incorporate these 7 natural electrolytes sources into your diet:
- Coconut Water
- Fresh Fruits and Fruit Juice
- Leafy Green Veggies
- Soybeans and Tofu
- Fish and Seafood
- Bone Broth
Coconut water contains the key electrolytes; sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
A great source of electrolytes, coconut water from organic coconuts, are naturally low in sugar and calories and high in potassium.
Coconut water has grown in popularity in recent years—and it's easy to see why.
One cup (237 ml) of coconut water contains only 45 to 60 calories and is packed with these electrolytes:
Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte drink to have on hand to replenish your electrolytes.
Cow’s milk is another unsung hero when it comes to replenishing lost electrolytes.
Another natural electrolyte drink, milk contains calcium, sodium, and potassium.
According to the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS), a cup of whole milk contains the following electrolytes:
In addition to natural electrolytes, milk is a rich source of protein and carbs which will help you to refuel and repair muscle tissue after a workout.
FRESH FRUITS AND FRUIT JUICE
- Orange Juice
- Pomegranate Juice
In general, fruits are excellent sources of electrolytes.
For example, a banana contains about 422 mg of potassium, while an average-sized avocado contains 660 mg of potassium, and a medium-sized watermelon slice contains 320 mg of potassium.
Just like whole fruits, fresh fruit juices are full of vitamins and minerals.
Juices from fruits, such as watermelon, orange, and cherry, are great sources of potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Just 124 grams of 100% orange juice contains these electrolytes:
Pomegranate juice is particularly high in electrolytes. One cup of pomegranate juice can provide as much as 533 mg (18% DV) of potassium.
LEAFY GREEN VEGGIES
- Collard Greens
Leafy greens are another must-have for electrolyte balance.
Green vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, bok choy, and okra, are packed with vitamins and minerals.
They’re especially high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
A cup of cooked and drained spinach (unsalted) provides the following minerals:
Incorporating leafy greens into your diet will replenish the electrolytes you lose in the gym.
An easy way to get in a lot of greens at once is to make a green power smoothie after your workout.
SOYBEANS AND TOFU
Soybeans should also be on top of your list of electrolyte-rich foods.
Soybeans are usually processed into fermented and unfermented foods. Unfermented soybean foods include tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy nuts, and sprouts.
Fermented soy products include miso, tempeh, natto, and soy sauce.
If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might also want to load up on soybeans—in whole or processed form—as a protein source.
A cup of raw soybeans provides:
However, while soybeans are a great source of electrolytes, they’re surrounded by nutritional controversy, mainly due to their high isoflavone content.
Isoflavones are compounds that act like estrogen, which can fuel the growth of some types of breast cancer.
FISH AND OTHER SEAFOOD
Seafood owes its superfood status to its omega-3 content.
Now you have another reason to add fish and other seafood to your diet: it will help balance your electrolytes.
Fish, such as tuna, trout, salmon, mackerel, snapper, and cod, are high in potassium.
Let’s look at how much potassium is in some common fish species:
|SALMON||370 mg per 3-ounce serving|
|TUNA, MACKEREL, SNAPPER, & COD||350 mg per 3-ounce serving|
|MAHIMAHI||400 to 500 milligram per 3-ounce serving|
|CANNED ANCHOVIES||100 mg (5 anchovies)|
|KIPPERED HERRING||100 mg|
|DUNGENESS CRAB||350 mg per 3-ounce serving|
However, while fish and other seafood are nutritious, there are some concerns that they contain mercury, which can have harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and other organs.
The FDA and EPA recommend that adults and older children eat only 2–3 servings of fish and shellfish per week.
Women who are of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding, and young children should opt for fish that’s lower in mercury. Low-mercury fish include shrimp, salmon, light tuna, pollock, and catfish.
Bone broth is another excellent source of electrolytes.
Slow-simmered bone broth from beef, mutton, or chicken bones is hydrating and rich in electrolytes.
A serving of bone broth can have as much as 400 mg of potassium and 50 mg of phosphorus.
The levels of electrolytes in your soup will depend on the ingredients you’ve used.
HOW TO REPLENISH ELECTROLYTES ON THE GO...
Electrolyte beverages, electrolyte drinks, sports drinks, they're everywhere!
But do they really contain the electrolytes they say they do? Or are they just a bunch of crap and sugar?
Most likely, the latter.
Avoid electrolyte drinks that...
- Are packed with sugar!
- Use artificial ingredients.
- Don't contain enough electrolytes.
Instead, look for an electrolyte supplement that is full of the essential minerals, with minimal processing, to keep you hydrated and in balance.
Use electrolyte supplements that:
- Are minimally processed.
- Use natural ingredients.
- And contain adequate amounts of electrolytes.
Hence, our LYTES—electrolyte sticks.
LYTES are packed with the electrolytes your body needs to support endurance, regulate muscle contractions, and delay fatigue.
LYTES’ electrolyte content:
Zero Sugar. Zero Carbohydrates. Zero Artificial Ingredients. And a shitload of salt.