by Will Grumke November 23, 2020 4 min read
Electrolytes are an important part of living a healthy life. They help your body complete many essential processes.
But, what are electrolytes? Why are they important? How can I make sure I am getting enough electrolytes in my diet?
We will help answer these questions and help get you on track to living a healthier lifestyle.
“Electrolyte” is a broad term that refers to different particles that carry a positive or negative electric charge.
Electrolytes form when minerals are dissolved in liquid. When this happens, it breaks down the structure of the molecules, and then these particles develop a positive or negative charge.
In the health field, electrolytes generally refer to a specific set of these dissolved and electrically charged minerals.
They are known as essential minerals.
This means that these minerals are needed to help your body function properly.
Common electrolytes include potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, bicarbonate, magnesium, and chloride.
As discussed, electrolytes are essential to proper body functions. These charged particles help with a variety of activities in your body.
Here’s what some of them help your body do:
An electrolyte imbalance is when you have too little or too much of a specific electrolyte. Electrolyte deficiencies are actually pretty common.
Many people lose electrolytes through their sweat or urine. It is important to replace them because, over the long-run, electrolyte imbalances are bad for your health and results.
When you don’t have enough electrolytes in your system, you’ll probably experience some degree of fatigue, headache, nausea, change in blood pressure, or muscle cramps.
So if you’re looking to avoid those symptoms, it’s best to keep your electrolyte levels in check.
Although not having enough electrolytes in your system is bad, you don’t want too many either.
It’s pretty uncommon, but if you have too many electrolytes in your system, you can experience irregular heartbeat, weakness, confusion, or twitching.
It’s best to listen to your body and pay attention to the symptoms you are displaying. If you notice any of these specific symptoms, talk with your doctor.
If you want to know how to get electrolytes into your body, try one or more of the following tips.
Eat sodium-rich foods - If you are experiencing muscle cramps, there is a chance you are sodium deficient. Ever hear that if you have a charley horse, you should drink pickle juice?
That is good advice. Pickles, sauerkraut, hot sauce, Intra-Formance and salting your food can help you get more sodium.
Be careful with sports drinks though.
Sports drinks are packed full of sugar, and can lead to over-consuming on calories very quickly.
Get potassium-rich foods into your diet - Potassium helps support cell and heart function, prevents kidney stones, and regulates blood pressure.
Cramps, heart palpitations, and weakness often show up if you don’t have enough potassium in your diet. Bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes are all great sources of potassium.
Consume dairy products - Dairy products are high in calcium and can help you meet your body's calcium requirements. Calcium is often known for helping with bone health... but it does much more!
Calcium has an important role in the body. It is involved in bone health but also the, contraction of muscles, transmission of nerve impulse, blood clotting and even the secretion of some hormones.
Long-term calcium deficiencies can lead to bone and teeth problems. Short-term calcium deficiencies usually result in aches and fatigue.
Get some supplements - Certain kinds of supplements, like Intra-Formance, can help you get the added electrolytes you need.
For those who don’t know what type of electrolytes they’re short on, or just want to make sure that they are getting enough electrolytes in their diet, a high-quality supplement could be beneficial.
Don't forget Magnesium - Many Americans don't get nearly enough magnesium in on a consistent basis.
Magnesium is in higher amounts in foods such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, nuts & seeds, as well as black beans, chickpeas, and more!
Magnesium helps your body’s muscle function, bone development, and protein synthesis.
Magnesium also helps supply oxygen to the body. When you are low on magnesium, you will often feel more tired and not have as much energy.
So if you are feeling tired, weak, or are even having tremors, you might have a magnesium deficiency.
Stay hydrated - Without proper hydration, your body can’t use the minerals efficiently.
Drinking plenty of water helps dissolve the minerals and gives them the electrical charge needed to perform their tasks.
The amount of water a person needs depends on their activity level and body structure.
Generally, the taller and bigger you are, and the more exercise you get, the more water you’ll need.
A good rule of thumb is shooting for 120 ounces or more a day though... Especially as we approach the warmer months!
Electrolytes are essential to your health and provide a variety of benefits.
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products can help you get the necessary electrolytes you need.
Supplements can also help you conveniently get these nutrients into your diet, especially during your long workouts or summer activities!
If you have any questions about electrolytes, supplements to help replenish electrolytes, or anything else ... we can help!
Whether you shop with us or not, we will help you for FREE! So never hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call... send us a live chat ... or kick over an email!
No matter what, we have your back!
Will Grumke is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.