What are electrolytes? Electrolytes are chemicals that create electrically charged ions in bodily fluids and are super important for regulation of several bodily functions from nerve and muscle function, hydration of the body, balancing blood acidity and pressure and helping in rebuilding damaged tissue. We constantly need to be fueling our bodies with electrolytes because they are a main part of normal muscle contraction and help prevent cramps during exercise. There are different kinds of common electrolytes that are in the form of chemical compounds such as sodium chloride, nitric acid, calcium chloride and many others that all work towards regulation of specific functions in the body and it’s imperative to give your body the right amount to maintain homeostasis.
You can find electrolytes in a ton of natural, healthy foods such as sea salt, coconut water, lemons, green vegetables, fruits (especially bananas), avocados and more. Another main source of electrolytes, however, are all those sports drinks like Gatorade. As many athletes already know, preventing cramps and fluid muscle movement is an important part of any game, so you can always count on drinks like Bodyarmor, Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Powerade, Propel, etc. to have higher levels of electrolytes. However, you can also count on some of those having higher levels of processed sugar. While you need energy during exercise, processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup are short-lived and can actually hurt your bodily functions.
For those of you worried about the sugar rush, there are still ways in which you can get those electrolytes without chugging that Gatorade. Alongside all of the organic options, there are also “drops,” capsules, or powders such as DayLyte, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator or Saltstick that are filled with electrolytes but have little to no sugar added. Many argue these types of products are a better way to get your electrolytes so as to avoid the intake of so much processed sugar and unnecessary calories.
Places to find these different sources of electrolytes vary from stores like Walmart, Target or your local grocery store to supplement stores such as GNC that specialize in selling health and nutrition related products. Regardless, no matter where you get your electrolytes from, it’s important to always replenish and stay hydrated — your body will thank you for it. The body has a number of way in which it uses the chemicals and nutrients you put in it but the important thing to remember is to always keep a balance, especially when it comes to those electrolytes.