If you aren’t sure what electrolytes are, read on!
Electrolytes are generally found in items of food and drink and are essential minerals to keep your body in balance. Many foods and beverages can correct any imbalances in your body, which can cause little or quite serious effects on your day-to-day living. Equally so, too much supply of them can also affect your body. The main organs that can be affected by imbalance are your kidneys and your liver, but many other bodily functions can go awry, should you need to adjust your intake.
So why do you need electrolytes?
The main reasons are:
- Maintaining the water level in your blood and cells
- Removal of waste products from your system i.e. urine (and the unmentionables from your rear end!)
- Moving nutrients from your blood to your cells
- Muscle contraction and relaxation
- Nerve function i.e. signaling
- Brain and heart health (did you know your brain is 70%?)
One of the common reasons for imbalance is dehydration, so this is why both food and beverages (non-alcoholic as alcohol is a dehydration agent!) can help, particularly in hot conditions, dry atmospheres (offices, etc.), and just generally ‘not getting your 2 liters a day’ of fluids. Even excess coffee is the fast way to dehydrate, so watch out for those office breaks!
Another relatively common cause is that of excess salty foods, so in particular avoid as many ready-made meals and salty snacks as possible – but do still treat yourself in moderation!
The foods that help
At Simply Souperlicious, we have no problem with anyone tucking into steak and chips, or similar – but to easily maintain your electrolyte balance, you do have to eat the correct amount of fruit and vegetables, which contain high levels of water. Soups, of course, are a perfect way to get fluids into your body, particularly during and after an illness. This is probably one of the best methods of rehydrating and restoring that healthy electrolyte balance and is extremely nutritious if vegetable based.
Listed below are some of the best food drinks to quickly restore your body, and also significant foods.
- Milk, including soy milk and nut milk
- Orange juice
- Coconut water
- Tomato juice
If you have been quite ill with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, excess sweating due to fever, or over-strenuous physical activity, you will need to rebalance the dehydrating effect of these and top up your electrolytes.
Leafy greens (always a winner in the health stakes) – Spinach, kale, and collard greens are the best, but of course, any cabbages are also good.
Other vegetables: Avocado, sweet potato, and squash (rich in essential minerals containing electrolytes)
Fruits: Bananas, dried apricots, prunes, and other fruits (contain potassium – good for balancing)
Dairy products: Cheese, yogurt, and other forms of dairy are good sources of calcium. They also contain other electrolytes, such as magnesium, sodium, and phosphorous. Dairy is essential in a balanced diet, along with all the other food groups. If dairy is cut out of someone’s diet completely, this causes other health problems.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts, seeds, and nut or seed butter are good sources of magnesium, and some, such as cashews, contain moderate amounts of phosphorus (magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus all count towards the electrolyte count).
Beans and lentils: Lentils, kidney beans, and soybeans contain magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Tofu can be a source, but only if it contains calcium.
Table salt and salt. Salty foods, such as olives and pickles, and fermented foods are also a source of electrolytes but don’t eat too many.
Breakfast cereals: Some cereals are fortified with calcium, while many wheat- and oat-based cereals contain magnesium.
That’s about it folks – trying to keep us all in good health during 2023!
Important note: Children and older adults are much more susceptible to electrolyte deficiency, as well as those with serious illnesses that may prevent them from eating certain food groups including some of the ‘good’ minerals, i.e., cancer sufferers, or those with existing liver and kidney problems.
Take care you guys, and next time you see a watermelon, suck down on it!