Electrolytes: What They Are and Why They Matter
If you’ve been around Greater Life Chiropractic for a while, you know that we’re passionate about whole-body health. Yes, we are chiropractors who focus primarily on the spine, but we also want our practice members and neighbors to be as healthy as they can be when it comes to diet, exercise, nutrition, and more. We’ve talked a bit about hydration and dehydration in the past, but we’ve realized that a lot of people aren’t aware of the importance of electrolytes when it comes to your hydration levels and how your body functions, so here we are to drop some knowledge on you.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are not one specific thing, but rather several essential minerals that your body needs to function well. They assist your body in regulating chemical responses, and they help maintain the appropriate balance of fluid inside and outside of every cell in your body. They also help remove waste from cells and move nutrients into cells. Electrolytes include the following minerals:
Different electrolytes play different roles, but they are all essential to your overall health. For example, calcium, sodium, and potassium help your muscles contract. Chloride helps balance acids and bases in the body. Calcium helps with nerve impulse transmission and blood clotting. Magnesium promotes quality sleep, improved mood, regular bowel movements, and healthy blood sugar levels.
A lack of any one of these electrolytes can impact your overall health, leading to low energy levels, muscle weakness, poor sleep, and dehydration.
Getting Enough Electrolytes
We lose electrolytes when we sweat, when we lose fluids quickly such as during bouts of diarrhea or vomiting, when we’re not eating or drinking enough, and sometimes due to chronic respiratory problems. It’s important that we replenish our electrolytes daily, especially when we are sweating excessively.
The traditional way of getting more electrolytes is through drinking sports drinks, but these are often packed with sugar and may not have as many beneficial qualities as you would hope. But there are some other great and easy ways to ensure you’re getting enough electrolytes in your diet.
Electrolytes in Food
Eating raw, whole fruits and vegetables will give you a lot of electrolytes. Here are some of the best foods to up your electrolyte intake:
- Spinach, Kale, & Other Leafy Green Vegetables
- Oranges, Lemons, & Other Citrus Fruits
- Wild Caught Salmon
- Sea Salt – on food or in a beverage
Electrolytes in Drinks
Probably the most common way to get more electrolytes is through what you’re drinking. While many beverages claim to have electrolytes, it’s best to read the labels and check the ingredients before purchasing. Look for drinks with no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and no artificial flavors or dyes. Here are some of the best options:
- Natural Coconut Water
- Cactus Water
- Lemon Water
- GoodOnYa Electrolyte Drink Mix in Water
- Nuun Tablets in Water
- Laird Hydrate Powder in Water
- LMNT Electrolyte Powder in Water
- Trace Mineral Drops Added to Water
You have a lot of natural options when it comes to adding electrolytes into your diet. Because they are so important, you should do your best to get some every day to improve hydration levels and to help your body function better. Chiropractic care can help you maximize your efforts to improve your health due to its all-natural, safe, and effective approach to healing and health. Contact Dr. Grant Lisetor and his team at Greater Life Chiropractic to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care and to schedule your consultation.