If you are like me, I had to look up “why” I need electrolytes. I remember when Belinda or I was sick, we were told to drink things like Gatorade to replenish them. If you are dehydrated, due to vomiting, diarrhea, extreme exercise, or heat exposure, it’s important to replenish your body with electrolytes to maintain optimal health. So, why are they important?
Here is reason: “When your body becomes low on electrolytes, it can impair your body’s functions, such as blood clotting, muscle contractions, acid balance, and fluid regulation. Your heart is a muscle, so electrolytes help regulate your heartbeat.”
I’m not a huge fan of energy drinks, many electrolyte beverages may contain added sugar and may not be the best option. So I was excited to learn there are some great every day foods filled with electrolytes. Chances are, if you regularly consume veggies, fruits, and legumes, you’ve got your electrolyte balance covered.
There are a variety of plant foods which are wonderful for providing electrolytes. Again, unless you’re an athlete or experiencing dehydration due to illness, eating whole foods rich in these minerals is a great way to replenish. Eating a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods supports health in a number of ways including providing antioxidants, polyphenols, an array of vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
Potassium-rich foods include:
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
Calcium-rich foods include:
- dairy foods
- leafy green vegetables
Try to get your sodium from high-quality salts, such as:
- Himalayan pink salt
- sea salt
Electrolyte-rich foods include
- Sunflower Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sea Salt
Note: Avoid processed foods which can be extremely high in sodium and other inflammation-causing ingredients. Most of us consume enough sodium throughout the day. Many people consume more than the daily recommended amount (less than 2,300 mg). The only time it really makes sense to supplement with sodium is if you are trying to replenish electrolytes following intense exercise or a dehydrating illness.
This summer, how will you replenish your electrolytes – with a quick gatorade or daily with some yummy FRESH fruits and veggies? As we head to the community farm every week to pick up our order this summer, I will definitely be doing the “fresh” thing.
Which will be your pick this summer?