Replenish your electrolytes with these foods
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
The weather is warming up, the sun is shining and your sweat glands are more active. When your body gets too hot, the sweat glands under your skin produce sweat in order to cool your body down. When you sweat you not only lose water, but you also lose electrolytes which can lead to dehydration, particularly when you are sweating a lot; like during exercise. Electrolytes are minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium) that have important roles in the body including stabilising blood pressure, nerve signalling, muscle contractions, regulating heart rhythm and maintaining fluid balance. When you’re dehydrated and low in electrolytes, you may experience fatigue, light-headedness, headaches, palpitations, extreme thirst and numbness. Eating foods rich in electrolytes and water help to rehydrate you and to support these vital functions. Most people only recognise sports drinks as a source of electrolytes and reach for these when exercising, however they are also packed with artificial colours, flavours and sugar.
Coconut is rich in potassium and is also a good source of magnesium, calcium and sodium. Coconut water (the liquid inside a young coconut) is essentially nature’s sports drink, as it can replenish your electrolytes and hydrate you without all the nasty chemicals. Fresh coconut water is best but if you need to buy the bottled version, ensure that it doesn’t contain added sugar. Ultimate Superfood Powder contains coconut water.
Watermelon is the perfect warm weather food as it is cooling and refreshing. Watermelon contains a large percentage of water so it’s a perfect hydrating food. This delicious fruit is rich in electrolytes and will help to replenish your stores if you’ve been sweating, vomiting or have had diarrhoea.
Dates are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and calcium and provide a great energy boost due to their carbohydrate content. When you blend dates with water, you get a beverage referred to as ‘Datorade’ and it could be just what you need for your workout to boost your energy and endurance whilst replenishing your electrolytes.
Cucumbers contain a high percentage of water and are very hydrating. They are also great sources of sodium, potassium and magnesium. You can eat them raw or add them to a juice or smoothie. Eating cucumbers regularly is beneficial for maintaining overall electrolyte and fluid balance.
Don’t go overboard on the salt as it can be dehydrating but adding a tiny pinch of sea salt to your water bottle can help to maintain hydration and replenish sodium. If you feel like you can’t quench your thirst or that you are frequently urinating, adding salt to your water can help you to retain it better.
Bone broth is a rich source of calcium and other nourishing minerals. Drinking bone broth will flood your body with minerals and will also help to support healthy joints, bones and digestive tract, due to the collagen and gelatine content. You can make this yourself by boiling up chicken or beef bones. If you want to support your joints but don’t like the idea of bone broth, Collagen Food Powder contains the nutrients the body needs to produce its own collagen.
Deliciously sweet and high in magnesium and potassium, bananas are the perfect sweet treat to boost your electrolytes. Due to their high energy content, they act as a great pre-workout snack to fuel your exercise regime.
Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, bok choy, beet greens, kale, silver beet and other leafy greens are rich in wonderful minerals. Eating a big leafy green salad or making a green juice is fantastically hydrating and electrolyte replenishing. Eating greens every day is beneficial for your health.