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Have you ever wondered why sports drink brands place so much emphasis on replenishing electrolytes after training? This is because electrolytes (minerals with electrical charge) are the fuel for many processes in your body.
Your heart, brain, and muscles need this spark of electricity to function. Electrolytes also help regulate hydration and pH.
Electrolytes are not only intended for professional athletes – everyone has to replace electrolytes that are lost through sweating, illness or dehydration. You constantly lose electrolytes through urine and sweat and need a constant supply to replenish them.
The good news is that you can get plenty of electrolytes from a varied diet.
Your electrolyte requirements depend on your age, your activity level, the amount of water you drink and the climate in which you live.
Most moderately active people can get all the necessary electrolytes from food and beverages. However, if you sweat buckets, a sports drink may be the best way to quickly charge electrolytes.
The important electrically charged minerals we call electrolytes include:
- sodium phosphate
your body without Electrolytes would be like a house without electricity – not very lively.
To ensure that everything runs smoothly, your body needs enough electrolytes, but not too many. The key is to keep the electrolyte level in the ideal range.
If you have any of the factors listed above, or are dehydrated due to an illness, do not drink enough, or sweat more than usual, your electrolytes may not be able to provide you with proper electricity.
Follow these seven tips to keep your body's electrolytes in the zone:
- Eat a balanced diet. Choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins for a good selection of minerals. Do your best to include some of the electrolyte foods listed above.
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough fluid – according to the Institute of Medicine, this is 2.2 liters (approx. 9 cups) per day for women and 3 liters (approx. 13 cups) per day for men. But keep in mind that drinking too much water (like gallons a day) can cause you to lose more electrolytes through your urine.
- Use diuretics with caution. And always keep your doctor up to date on all over-the-counter medications that you are taking.
- Salt sparingly. Yes, you need sodium, but too much can upset the balance.
- Stay cool while you exercise. Avoid exercising indoors without air conditioning or outdoors during the hottest times of the day.
- Talk to your doctor. Find out if your current medication or health problems can affect your electrolytes.
- Improve your beverage game. If you are active, sick or sweating a lot, drink plenty of water or choose one of the electrolyte-rich drinks listed below. If you are intensely active for more than an hour, use a sports drink to quickly replace electrolytes and fluids.
Even tap water contains small amounts of electrolyte minerals. However, if you need a boost, these drinks can help.  Electrically charged minerals, so-called electrolytes, are essential for nerve signals, fluid balance and muscle function. Your electrolyte balance may be affected by dehydration, excessive sweating, fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
Some health conditions and medications can also affect the electrolyte level. A varied diet and a smart selection of drinks are usually enough to keep these loaded minerals in balance.