Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Electrolytes are vital minerals needed for regulating the balance of water and pH in the body, along with many other important functions that keep you alive and kicking.
A good balance of each of these nutrients supports healthy muscles, brain function, hydration, blood flow, and more.
While there are quite a few electrolytes, sodium (Na) and potassium (K) are two of the most prominent electrolytes that play the largest role in helping our bodies stay hydrated.
Other key electrolytes include:
- Calcium (Ca)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Chloride (Cl)
However, you may develop an imbalance of electrolytes—particularly sodium—if you’ve just performed an intensive workout or are unwell with bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance:
- Muscle spasms, twitching,
- Irregular or pounding heartbeat
- Extreme thirst
- Dry skin
- Blood pressure changes
- Dark coloured urine
Fortunately, there are certain foods and drinks that can help you refuel, keep your muscles active, and possibly even boost your performance.
If you’re an endurance athlete who works out for hours, you may need to replenish electrolytes more frequently.
In this article, we will list foods high in sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
How to get optimal electrolyte levels
If you’re looking to replenish your electrolytes, there are plenty of delicious foods that are high in electrolytes.
Read on to know more about foods and beverages to help you recharge your electrolyte reserves.
Consume unsweetened coconut water
Coconut water is a phenomenal source of electrolytes calcium and magnesium. It is not only super hydrating, it’s also a healthier alternative to sodas, juices, and traditional sports drinks.
One cup of coconut water contains around 350 milligrammes of potassium or approximately 13% of your daily value (DV).
Fortunately, coconut water is a popular substitute for bottled water and is widely available at grocery and convenience stores.
Because of their high potassium content, bananas are a rich dietary source of electrolytes.
An average banana has 422 mg (16% DV) of potassium. Put some peanut butter over your banana for a protein boost, or mix it into your porridge for added fibre.
Consume dairy products
When it comes to electrolyte drinks, dairy products like oat milk, coconut milk, and other plant-based milk alternatives are good sources of electrolytes.
They are packed with calcium, magnesium and potassium. There is approximately 199 mg (20% DV) of calcium and 281 mg (10% DV) of potassium in 100 ml of milk.
Cook white meat and poultry
You can hydrate and replenish electrolytes by eating white meat and poultry; there is 349 mg (12% DV) of potassium and 1200 mg (52% DV) of sodium in 100g of white turkey meat, meaning you’re getting multiple electrolytes with every bite.
Avocados are an incredible source of potassium and magnesium, which are the two minerals athletes often deplete. One regular avocado contains 660 mg (22 per cent DV) potassium.
For an electrolyte-rich snack or breakfast, try avocados on toast with a sprinkle of cheese.
Drink pomegranate juice
While fresh-squeezed juices like orange, lemonade, and banana all contain electrolytes, one fruit sticks out: pomegranate juice.
One cup of this fruit juice includes 533 mg (18% DV) of potassium, making it an excellent source of electrolytes.
Serve with breakfast or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. If you’re increasing your electrolyte consumption, stick to a cup of 100% fruit juice to avoid options heavy in added sugar.
Snack on watermelon
Some of the best sources of electrolytes come from watermelon. The fruit is high in electrolytes and water, making it an excellent source of hydration.
A medium-sized wedge of watermelon has 320 milligrammes of potassium (11 per cent DV). Watermelon, as the name implies, is also extremely hydrating due to its 92 per cent water content, making it an excellent post-workout snack.
Watermelons are a great source of electrolytes all year, and they don’t have to be limited to the summer.
Eat leafy greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, and beet greens are rich in potassium, magnesium, and healthy carbohydrates to help you better absorb those minerals.
These vegetables are also a wonderful source of other micronutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Electrolytes are minerals that help your body need in order to function properly. When it comes to electrolytes, there is no single ‘best’ option.
There are numerous electrolyte alternatives available. It all depends on your food preferences and availability of time.
You can maintain electrolyte levels by eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.
However, in some cases, electrolyte drinks may be necessary, especially if you’re suffering high fluid losses due to perspiration or illness.
Moreover, it is always a good idea to get a regular health checkup done as it gives you complete health insight.