Tips to finally get on top of your hydration.
The average electrolyte intake can often not be enough to keep the body properly hydrated. This can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, which in turn can lead to symptoms like muscle cramps, brain fog and fatigue. Some electrolytes are found naturally in foods that we eat every day, but there are also some other ways to get electrolytes without taking supplements or drinking sports drinks. Here are some ways to get more electrolytes into your day.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals in our blood and other bodily fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes help regulate the amount of water in our bodies, control muscle contractions and transmit nerve impulses. Some electrolytes are more important to our bodies than others, but the primary electrolytes include magnesium, potassium, sodium chloride (salt), calcium and phosphate.
These are minerals that carry a positive or negative electric charge. They're found in all bodily fluids, including sweat, urine and blood. These minerals help your body regulate heart rate and maintain muscle contractions throughout the day so you have more energy when needed. When you sweat heavily or exercise for long periods of time, your electrolyte levels can become depleted. You can also lose them through urine or from illness. This is partly why drinking lots of water is so crucial after a workout, and replenishing your body with fluids if you are sick is essential. Even mild dehydration can actually lead to an electrolyte imbalance, which is why it's so important that you replace those electrolytes frequently.
The most popular types of electrolytes are:
Sodium helps your cells maintain the right amount of fluid. Too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke (Harvard.edu), while not enough sodium can cause confusion, weaker reflexes, nausea and vomiting, and potentially seizures.
Magnesium is an essential part of our body. We need a certain amount of magnesium every day. Too much or too little magnesium can contribute to problems like high blood pressure and heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches (Health Direct).
Calcium is an important mineral in your body. It helps you maintain muscle tone, regulate heartbeat and prevent bone fractures. Too much calcium in your blood can lead to kidney stones, while too little can potentially result in diseases such as osteoporosis. A lack of calcium has also been known to contribute to muscle spasms (NCBI).
Sodium ions enter your cells along with potassium ions. Your body uses potassium ions to regulate your heartbeat, and you need potassium ions to maintain your heart function. If you have too much potassium inside your cells, your heart can start to beat irregularly. You may feel weak, confused and unable to stand up. If you have too little potassium, you may get dizzy easily. The heart needs potassium to beat and regulate blood pressure (MedicinePlus).
How Can I Get Electrolytes?
There are a few different ways to get more electrolytes into your body! The most common way is to eat foods that contain electrolytes. Another way is to take electrolyte supplements or drink electrolyte drinks. You can also get electrolytes through IV therapy (typically administered in hospital). Before consuming anything with electrolytes or supplementation of any type, you should always consult with your doctor.
Symptoms of Electrolyte Deficiency
If you're not getting enough electrolytes, you might start to experience some negative symptoms. These can include:
• Muscle Weakness
• Muscle Contractions
• Heart and Kidney Health
• High Blood Pressure
• Brain Fog
• Blood clotting
It's important to listen to your body and pay attention if you think electrolytes are affecting you. You can help avoid an imbalance by simply drinking more water every day. Electrolytes regulate neurotransmitters in your brain that control how you think, feel, and act. When they are imbalanced, it can cause you to feel fatigue or become confused easily! If you are concerned electrolytes are affecting you, call your doctor to discuss electrolyte testing.
What Causes An Electrolyte Deficiency?
There are many things that could lead to an electrolyte imbalance, including excessive sweating (from over-exercising), eating an imbalanced diet with not enough minerals from whole fruits and vegetables, proteins, and legumes, heavy alcohol consumption, having trouble absorbing nutrients, or being sick.
How Can I Prevent Electrolyte Deficiency?
There are a few ways that you can prevent electrolyte deficiencies. The easiest way is to make sure that you are eating foods that contain electrolytes and drinking plenty of fluids (especially water). Your doctor can also do an electrolyte panel and your blood PH levels to pinpoint your exact deficiencies and how to treat them.
One of the most common causes of a lack of electrolytes is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly, which can lead to an electrolyte deficiency. This is why it’s so important to drink lots of fluids (especially water) when you are sick or exercising.
How much water do I need to drink?
There is no one specific answer to this question. It really depends on a variety of factors including your age, activity level and climate. However, the general guideline is that you should aim to drink around 11 cups of water per day (MayoClinic). You can also receive hydration from liquids such as soup, juice or tea. And contrary to what some may think, coffee isn't considered dehydrating, so you can safely drink your morning coffee without fear of further dehydration (PubMed).
Sports drinks can replenish electrolytes after a hard workout, during an emergency or if you're sick or injured. But if you're worried about having to drink sports drinks in excess, you should know that a balanced diet that includes electrolyte-rich foods should, for the most part, be sufficient. Your body's natural ability to regulate electrolytes properly and maintain correct levels is generally enough to keep you from experiencing bad side effects or imbalances.
However, in some cases, such as when vomiting or diarrhoea are frequent, adding a rehydration solution that has electrolytes may be beneficial, and a sports drink is a great way to deliver these nutrients fast.
How Many Electrolytes Do We Need Each Day?
For the average human, we need around approximately 1,600 to 2,000 mg of electrolytes each day. This can vary depending on your activity level and a wide range of other factors.
How can we get more electrolytes into our diet?
• Drink water
• Use coconut water in smoothies or drink by itself
• Practice proper hydration
• Make sure to balance your sodium intake
• Eat foods that are rich in potassium
• Eat celery, apple and lemon, which can be found in cold-pressed juices
• Enjoy banana, almond milk and kale smoothies
Foods That Contain Electrolytes
There are a few different ways to get more electrolytes into your routine. One is by eating foods that contain electrolytes. Some common electrolyte-rich foods include fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains (WebMD).
Natural Ways to Get Electrolytes:
Here are also some ways to get electrolytes naturally:
• Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, bananas and avocados
• Drink lots of fluids, especially water, herbal teas and even juices that are rich in fresh fruits and veggies
• Take a magnesium supplement
• Eat more potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, and bananas
• Try electrolyte supplements if you are experiencing symptoms of a mineral imbalance or have a really intense workout plan
How to Balance Your Electrolyte Levels After Sickness
If you've been sick and lost electrolytes through vomiting or diarrhoea, it's important to restore these electrolytes as soon as possible. This can be done by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes, like Hydralyte. You can also eat electrolyte-rich foods like fruits and vegetables once your stomach feels able to digest them.
It's also important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when you're trying to restore your electrolyte levels. Staying hydrated can help your body absorb and use the electrolytes properly.
If you're feeling tired, sore or just not yourself, it might be time to get some electrolytes. Be sure to include electrolytes in your diet every day, but also make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy balanced diet. A balance of fluids, the right diet and intentional hydration can support a healthier lifestyle.
How to Get More Electrolytes into Your Day? ›
Recovery from dehydration involves replenishing the fluid and electrolytes your body has lost. How long it takes to recover from dehydration depends on how dehydrated you are. Research shows that you can relieve mild dehydration in about 45 minutes.How can I increase my electrolytes quickly? ›
- Dairy. Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of the electrolyte calcium. ...
- Bananas. Bananas are known to be the king of all potassium containing fruits and veggies. ...
- Coconut Water. For a quick energy and electrolyte boost during or after a workout, try coconut water. ...
- Watermelon. ...
- Brain swelling.
- A fast or abnormal heart rate.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Recovery from dehydration involves replenishing the fluid and electrolytes your body has lost. How long it takes to recover from dehydration depends on how dehydrated you are. Research shows that you can relieve mild dehydration in about 45 minutes.Is Gatorade good for electrolytes? ›
Yes. Gatorade is an electrolyte-rich drink that helps replace electrolytes that are lost in the body during exercise. Electrolytes can be lost through sweat and urine, and are used in daily bodily functions such as regulation of the nervous system.What food has most electrolytes? ›
- Nuts. Most types of nuts, especially almonds, brazil nuts and cashews, contain large amounts of magnesium, as well as significant amounts of calcium and potassium. ...
- Potatoes. ...
- Broccoli. ...
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds. ...
- Cow's milk. ...
- Alternative milks. ...
- Coconut water. ...
- Pickle juice.
Drinking too much water, can cause the electrolyte levels in the body to get out of whack and cause sodium levels plummet. The nerve and heart issues that occur with over-hydration can be deadly.Is it OK to drink electrolytes everyday? ›
Is it OK to drink electrolytes every day? You can drink electrolytes every day (or choose to consume a supplement instead). This is especially necessary if you exercise and/or sweat often. Electrolytes will help replace minerals, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium, that are lost when you sweat or get sick.How can I check my electrolyte levels? ›
Your electrolytes can be checked with either a blood or urine test. The blood test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. For a urine test, you provide a urine sample in a specimen container.How can I fix my electrolyte imbalance at home? ›
Staying hydrated is key to maintaining a balance of electrolytes. Water is the most natural choice for hydration. It is less expensive and more available than any other drink. Coconut water is another alternative for replenishing electrolytes.
Does salt replenish electrolytes? ›
Sodium is one of the electrolytes that we're quickest to lose through sweat. Luckily, ingesting salt is a quick and easy way to replace what we lose. Salt also contains the electrolytes magnesium, calcium, and potassium; so it's good for more than just sodium replenishment.Can I add electrolytes to my water everyday? ›
Drinking electrolyte water is not a requirement in everyday life, but it can boost health in certain instances. "Trace minerals in regular water, combined with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can be enough to meet the daily requirements in healthy population," Jones says.Can I overdo electrolytes? ›
But just like anything, too many electrolytes can be unhealthy: Too much sodium, formally referred to as hypernatremia, can cause dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Too much potassium, known as hyperkalemia, can impact your kidney function and cause heart arrhythmia, nausea, and an irregular pulse.What is the quickest way to rehydrate your body? ›
- Water. ...
- Coffee and tea. ...
- Skim and low fat milk. ...
- Fruits and vegetables. ...
- Oral hydration solutions.
An electrolyte imbalance can be caused by: Losing fluids as a result of persistent vomiting or diarrhea, sweating or fever. Not drinking or eating enough. Chronic respiratory problems, such as emphysema.Which is better Pedialyte or Gatorade? ›
Pedialyte products generally provide fewer calories and sugar and a significantly higher electrolyte content than Gatorade. Pedialyte may help people of all ages recover from viruses, while Gatorade is specifically designed for adult athletes.Is it OK to drink Pedialyte everyday? ›
"It is not designed for everyday use or hydration needs where water is adequate — so it's always a good idea to check with your doctor first to see if daily use is recommended," Williams says. In other words, you should definitely not replace all the water you drink with Pedialyte.What is naturally high in electrolytes? ›
Share on Pinterest Leafy green vegetables are a rich source of electrolytes. Many foods and drinks contain electrolytes, including: Leafy green vegetables: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are good sources of calcium and magnesium. Other vegetables: Avocado, sweet potato, and squash are rich in potassium.When I drink water I pee every 5 minutes? ›
As fluid intake increases, the amount of urine made will increase along with it. Because the bladder can only hold so much fluid volume, increasing water intake will increase the frequency of urination, and may make people with an overactive bladder more likely to leak.Why do I pee immediately after drinking water? ›
Urge incontinence occurs when an overactive bladder spasms or contracts at the wrong times. You may leak urine when you sleep or feel the need to pee after drinking a little water, even though you know your bladder isn't full.
How many cups of electrolyte water per day? ›
What's the Magic Number? A good rule of thumb is to start with one serving and see how you feel. If you're fatigued, cramping, or experiencing discomfort, increase your intake to two or three daily servings.Do eggs have electrolytes? ›
Try these electrolyte-boosting recipes
We've hand-picked a selection of recipes which include useful ingredients to support your electrolyte levels. Helpful foods include spinach, kale, avocado, strawberries, eggs, soya and lean meats.
It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you to get rid of the cramps. It's a healthy drink that replenishes the nutrients that your body has lost during a moderate workout.What are the 3 main electrolytes? ›
Sodium, potassium, and chloride are the significant electrolytes along with magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates.What does electrolyte imbalance feel like? ›
Common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include irregular heartbeat, confusion, fatigue, lightheadedness, blood pressure changes, muscle weakness or twitching, numbness and seizures. In general, a person with an electrolyte imbalance does not feel very well or want to be involved in much activity.Can I test my electrolytes at home? ›
Are there at-home electrolyte blood test kits? No. Only trained medical professionals can do a blood draw for an electrolyte blood test. An electrolyte panel provides important information about body fluids, including your blood's acid-base balance.How long does it take to fix low electrolytes? ›
Some people have an electrolyte imbalance due to a health condition, such as kidney or heart disease. In this case, a person may be able to correct the imbalance at home over a period of days or weeks.Can low electrolytes cause anxiety? ›
If you have really high or low levels of electrolytes like sodium or potassium, it can cause anxiety or panic-like symptoms. These include shortness of breath, confusion, and rapid heartbeat. You might also be irritable, lightheaded, fatigued, or have headaches or nausea.
Salt can be added to water in small amounts to increase electrolyte levels. Most people know that salt contains sodium, but it actually also contains the minerals potassium, calcium, and magnesium.Does adding lemon to water add electrolytes? ›
Yes, lemon water naturally contains more electrolytes. Usually, they are a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Is Himalayan pink salt an electrolyte? ›
Mineral-rich Himalayan salt contains lots of electrolytes. They're great for detoxing the body and help your kidneys do just that. Electrolytes carry a charge that ionizes when dissolved in water.How do you know if you need electrolytes or water? ›
You may have muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, or feel nauseous which are all signs of dehydration. If you are drinking a decent amount of water after a workout and during your workout, and you still don't feel like you're being hydrated enough, you may need to increase your electrolyte intake.Do electrolytes help with fatigue? ›
You need electrolytes to move your muscles, send neurotransmitter signals from your brain to various organs, and retain and regulate healthy fluid volume levels. Sodium in particular plays an important role in hydration and thus keeps you from feeling fatigued as the result of dehydration.How do I make my own electrolyte water? ›
- 1/4 tsp. salt.
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice.
- 1/4 cup lemon juice.
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut water.
- 2 cups cold water.
- Additional options: sweetener, powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs.
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 that means electrolytes help regulate your heartbeat.Can electrolytes cause weight gain? ›
Electrolytes, like magnesium, help manage the amount of water that your body stores. And when your electrolyte levels are out of balance, you may gain water weight.What are the symptoms of too much electrolytes? ›
- Weak muscles.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat.
- feeling thirsty and lightheaded.
- a dry mouth.
- having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine.
- passing urine less often than usual.
Research shows that milk is one of the best beverages for hydration, even better than water or sports drinks. Researchers credit milk's natural electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein for its effectiveness.Is Gatorade good for hydration? ›
Gatorade, because of its electrolyte content, helps to restore the lost electrolytes and keep a person hydrated, during intense activity. It can also replace electrolytes, during times of illness, such as stomach viruses.
What are the signs of low electrolytes? ›
- Brain swelling.
- A fast or abnormal heart rate.
- Nausea and vomiting.
“Some of the common symptoms of electrolyte imbalances include muscle twitching and muscle cramps, increased thirst, poor endurance, salt craving and irritability,” says Zachary Sprague, DO, a family medicine physician with expertise in sports medicine at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Carlsbad.How do you recover from low electrolytes? ›
- IV fluids like sodium chloride to rehydrate your body.
- IV medicines to restore a healthy electrolyte balance.
- Medications or supplements to replace lost electrolytes.
- Hemodialysis to correct electrolyte imbalances caused by kidney failure or severe kidney damage.
Does simply adding salt do the trick to replenish electrolytes? The short answer is yes, but there are some considerations to keep in mind. Natalie Allen, registered dietitian and clinical assistant professor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University, explains to Nike why and how much sodium is helpful.How do you check electrolyte levels? ›
Your electrolytes can be checked with either a blood or urine test. The blood test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. For a urine test, you provide a urine sample in a specimen container.How much salt do you put in water for electrolytes? ›
According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, an expert on hydration, as a general rule you need at least 1.5g of sea-salt for every quart of water (950ml) that you drink.