What are electrolytes and why are they so important?
Electrolytes are defined as the minerals in blood and other fluids that carry an electrical charge. The body needs electrolytes for the electrical properties used to control fluid balance between various systems in the body, including tissues, nerves and muscles. In short, electrolytes are needed for a healthy functioning body!
Some electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium and phosphate.
Sodium is one electrolyte that is lost in high concentrations in sweat. The other electrolytes are lost in lower concentrations in other various ways. Dehydration and heat stroke can be made worse when these minerals are depleted. It is important to replenish electrolytes, especially after an intense workout session.
One of the most common ways to do so is to consume sport drinks that contain these essential minerals. However, it is not recommended to consume these drinks if you are not actively exercising on that day. Beware, some sport drink products may contain harmful chemicals and colored dyes. Also, these do contain a lot of sodium which can become harmful for anyone not performing intense activities, or anyone who already consumes a lot of sodium.
The best way to obtain electrolytes are by consuming healthy foods that contain these minerals. For example, bananas and spinach contain potassium, avocados and nuts contain magnesium, and almost all canned goods, breads, and meats contain sodium. Just be careful of how much you indulge!