Foods With Electrolytes
When you exercise, or your body excretes a lot of sweat, you need to drink plenty of water to rehydrate. This is important because it replenishes some of the lost electrolytes.
Electrolytes are minerals present in the bloodstream, and they help with the optimal function of your body.
If your body loses massive amounts of electrolytes through illness (diarrhea and vomiting), sweat excretion, or workout, you start to feel sick and dehydrated.
So What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are compounds that produce electric currents when dissolved in liquids. They help with hydration, regulation of muscle and nerve function and reconstructing damaged tissue.
The neurons and muscles in the body are sometimes called ‘electric tissues’ because they depend on the movement of these compounds via fluids between, inside or outside body cells.
Examples of electrolytes in the human body include:
For instance, your muscles need calcium and potassium to contract and if these electrolytes are not balanced, which can lead to excessive contraction or weakness.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Electrolytes?
Electrolytes such as phosphorus and potassium are vital to heart health. Low phosphorus levels are linked to comas, heart failure, and seizures.
On the other hand, low potassium levels are linked to arrhythmia, and extremely low potassium levels can be dangerous to the extent of heart failure.
The electrical charges conducted by electrolytes are a crucial element of muscle function. Low electrolyte levels can cause cramps, muscle spasms, and even paralysis.
Electrolyte levels in your body need to be in tandem with the water levels.
Dehydration as a result of diarrhea, sweat excretion, and vomiting can cause an imbalance. So it’s vital that you maintain optimal intakes of both electrolytes and water.
What’s the Recommended Electrolyte Intake Per Day?
The amount of electrolytes your body needs per day varies mainly based on age and gender. That said, here are the recommended electrolyte intake levels:
- Calcium: Age (19-50 years) Men: 1000 mg, Women: 1000 mg
- Chloride: Age (19-50 years) Men: 1500 mg, Women: 1500 mg
- Magnesium: Age (19-50 years) Men: 400-420 mg, Women: 310-320 mg
- Phosphorus: Age (19-50 years) Men: 700 mg, Women: 700 mg
- Potassium: Age (19-50 years) Men: 3400 mg, Women: 2600 mg
- Sodium: Age (19-50 years) Men: 1500 mg, Women: 1500 mg
Drinks Rich in Electrolytes
1. Bone Broth
Sometimes your body needs more electrolytes than your diet can offer, especially if you’re an athlete or you visit the gym frequently.
This is where bone broth comes in because one cup contains between 250 to 600 mg of sodium, depending on the bones used.
2. Coconut Water
Due to climate changes, you might not always have access to coconuts. However, packed coconut water will still do the trick.
Coconut water is rich in sodium and potassium. In fact, one glass of coconut water contains roughly 250 mg of sodium and 600 mg of potassium.
Coconut water is also rich in natural sugar, which helps replenish fuel lost during workouts.
Coconut water fortified with additional sodium can be even more effective than traditional energy drinks during post-workout rehydration therapy.
Virtually everyone knows that milk is rich in calcium which helps keep bones in optimal shape. What you might not know is that milk is also rich in phosphorus and sodium.
One glass of fresh milk contains about 300 mg of calcium, while one glass of fermented milk contains roughly 450 mg of calcium.
Both fresh and fermented milk are exceptional post-workout snacks to help replenish your electrolyte levels.
Also, you can boost the electrolyte levels of fresh or fermented milk by adding them to cereal, and if you don’t like this taste, consider adding milk to smoothies or milkshakes.
4. Pomegranate Juice
Most types of juices, such as apple, orange, and pineapple, are rich in minerals, but the standout among them is pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate juice is rich in minerals such as potassium. In fact, one glass of pomegranate juice contains roughly 530 mg of potassium.
You can have a glass of pomegranate juice in the morning to kick-start your day or in the afternoon to quench your thirst.
If you’re getting pomegranate juice from the store, ensure you get the versions containing 100% pomegranate; otherwise, you’ll be doing more harm than good to your body.
5. Tomato Juice
Tomato juice is rich in minerals like potassium and sodium, and it can help you replenish your electrolytes after a day of heavy exercise.
One glass of tomato juice contains roughly 230mg of potassium and 600mg of sodium.
Foods Rich in Electrolytes
Bananas are rich in magnesium and potassium. One large banana contains roughly 40 mg of magnesium and 420 mg of potassium.
Studies show that eating a banana prior to or during an extensive workout keeps your body energized.
Beetroot contains a lot of electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, but it’s also rich in iron and zinc.
One cup of cooked beetroot contains roughly 30 mg of calcium, 140 mg of magnesium, 450 mg of potassium, and 105 mg of sodium.
Not only that, but beetroot is also rich in nitrates which have been proven to reduce the body’s oxygen need in moderate to intensive workouts.
So incorporating beetroot into your diet helps you have more enjoyable workout sessions. In fact, studies show that one week of consuming beetroot can optimize your workout sessions.
Broccoli is considered a super food, and as such, it’s rich in electrolytes. Broccoli is rich in calcium, handy for lactose intolerant people, as well as phosphorus and potassium.
One cup of broccoli contains roughly 50 mg of calcium, 70 mg of phosphorus, and 315 mg of potassium.
This means broccoli can promote kidney health and muscle function thanks to its massive potassium repositories.
The calcium content in broccoli, albeit not much, is vital for lactose-intolerant people, and it can help prevent excessive bleeding via blood clotting as well as the development of stronger bones and the reestablishment of broken ones.
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and spinach are all rich in calcium. They are also rich in magnesium which makes them perfect for smoothies to replenish electrolytes.
One cup of cooked spinach comprises roughly 240 mg of calcium and 160 mg of magnesium. Spinach is also rich in vitamins A and K.
Most types of nuts, particularly almonds and cashews, contain moderate amounts of magnesium and extremely high amounts of calcium and potassium
100g of almonds contain roughly 245 mg of calcium, 80 mg of magnesium, and 200mg of potassium.
On the other hand, Cashews contain roughly 40 mg of calcium, 290 mg of magnesium, and 660 mg of potassium.
Magnesium is vital for regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels; this means lacking adequate magnesium levels in the body can cause diabetes and hypertension.
Overall, nuts are a great addition to any regimen, either as dairy milk alternatives, food additives, nut butter, or snacks.
Nuts are also rich in healthy fats and vegetable protein, so they can be great meat alternatives for people following plant-based diets.
Potatoes aren’t exactly considered healthy food by many people because they are mainly consumed as chips and fries.
However, you might be surprised to learn that these tasty tubers have the highest potassium content of any raw vegetable.
100 grams of potatoes contain roughly 420 mg of potassium and 25 mg of sodium.
This makes them vital in our diets because studies have shown that most people don’t get the daily recommended amount of sodium.
Potassium is a mineral that plays a part in virtually all body functions but mainly kidney health as well as muscle and neural function.
So if you’re a workout junkie and have eliminated potatoes from your diet, you can have them from time to time to get that required boost of electrolytes.
Some of the seeds rich in electrolytes include chia seeds, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. They are all rich in magnesium and phosphorus.
Chia seeds contain roughly 600 mg of calcium, 420 mg of magnesium, 900 mg of phosphorus, and 700 mg of potassium per 100g.
Pumpkin seeds contain roughly 60 mg of calcium, 260 mg of magnesium, 95 mg of phosphorus, and 900 mg of potassium per 100g.
On the other hand, sunflower seeds contain roughly 80 mg of calcium, 325 mg of magnesium, 650 mg of phosphorus, and 650 mg of potassium per 100g.
Sprinkling a handful of chia, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds to your oatmeal or salads, adding them to your blender for smoothies, or enjoying them alone as a snack can help your body attain the recommended daily electrolyte intake.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are tasty tubers that can spice up virtually all meals and contain a lot of minerals required by the body.
One sweet potato tuber comprises roughly 485 mg of potassium and 70mg of natural sodium.
9. Table Salt
Table salt comprises 97% to 99% sodium chloride meaning it’s very rich in two electrolytes, sodium, and chloride, which are used by the body to promote muscle and nerve contraction.
Keep in mind that excessive sodium consumption can cause a spike in blood pressure as well as heart problems.
So it’s crucial that you consume salt in moderation and avoid foods containing a lot of salt, such as chips and fried foods.
Tofu isn’t typical in many places apart from Asia, where it originated from.
However, if you don’t eat tofu, you should start because it’s rich in calcium and magnesium, which leads to stronger bones in your body, reducing the probability of significant injuries.
A quarter block of tofu contains roughly 350 mg of calcium, 50 mg of magnesium, 150 mg of phosphorus, and 190 mg of potassium.
Watermelons aren’t just summer fruits; you can snack on them throughout the year to hydrate your body and replenish electrolyte levels.
Watermelon is naturally rich in potassium and water. A medium-sized slice of watermelon contains roughly 320 mg of potassium.
Watermelon is over 90% water, so it’s incredibly hydrating, making it a fantastic post-workout snack.
1. Energy Drinks
Energy drinks such as Body Armor, Gatorade, and Pedialyte are recommended for people who partake in activities such as athletics, ball games, and workouts for long durations.
One significant benefit of energy drinks is that they don’t cause bloating or flatulence compared to other electrolyte-rich drinks such as dairy milk.
Energy drinks are also excellent sources of water and carbs, comprising roughly the same or less amount of sodium as dairy milk.
With their higher price tag, they’re not value-for-money if you don’t participate in intensive activities such as athletics or exercise.
In fact, consuming too many energy drinks can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. So it’s vital that you limit your energy drink consumption if you love them.
2. ORS (Oral Rehydration Solutions)
ORSs have been recommended as powerful electrolyte sources for over five decades. There are suitable alternatives to energy drinks because they don’t comprise a lot of sugar.
You can find oral rehydration solutions in powder form in virtually all pharmacy outlets.
Oral rehydration solutions are especially handy for people who have lost a lot of electrolytes as a result of diarrhea or vomiting.
You can also replenish your electrolyte levels by taking certain pills which contain various minerals such as calcium, chloride, and magnesium.
Note that these pills aren’t substitutes for electrolyte-rich beverages and whole foods.
Still, you can take them if you’re an athlete or gym brat who wants to replenish electrolyte levels without carbs in beverages and whole foods.
Furthermore, you don’t need to carry a large bottle or dish of electrolyte-rich drinks or foods, making them easier to move around.
So if you’re experiencing electrolyte loss and have muscle cramps, you can pop a pill or two and replenish your electrolytes.
To sum it all up, electrolytes are vital for upholding optimal hydration levels in the body as well as muscle and nerve function.
You can boost your electrolyte levels by consuming the foods and beverages listed above. Keep track of your electrolyte levels if you’re sick or work out often.
Printable Foods with Electrolytes (PDF)
|Vegetarian Protein Sources|
|Drinks Rich in Electrolytes|
|Foods Rich in Electrolytes|
|ORS (Oral Rehydration Solutions)|