Updated: Jul 11, 2018
Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals in your body that are essential for many critical processes. In order to perform your best athletically, and to preserve your optimal health, you must maintain the right balance of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus, and magnesium. Because electrolytes exit the body when you sweat, you must proactive about maintaining optimal electrolyte balance when engaging in any sort of rigorous activity.
Follow a Balanced Diet to Maintain Electrolyte Levels
Eating a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, nuts, and whole grains is the easiest way to ensure that you are consuming ample electrolytes. There are some exceptional foods that have electrolytes, if you feel the need to supercharge your diet. Here are ten of the best foods for boosting your electrolyte levels.
Bananas are a great snack option for many reasons. They are portable, affordable, and loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and electrolytes. They are also available year-round. Bananas are most popular as an excellent source of potassium, with one 126-gram serving containing a whopping 450 milligrams of potassium. Additionally, bananas are an excellent source of magnesium, with one serving containing approximately 35 milligrams. Bananas also provide vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, fiber, protein, vitamin A, iron, and much more.
The potassium in bananas helps to prevent stroke, protect muscle mass, maintain bone density, and prevent kidney stones from forming. Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, keeps blood pressure levels regulated, and treats diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, migraines, and insomnia. Eating bananas lowers your risk of developing certain types of cancer, asthma, and diabetes. Bananas may improve your memory and overall mood, and they can be used to treat diarrhea and replenish lost electrolytes. Bananas are one of the best foods containing electrolytes, and they make the perfect pre- or postworkout snack.
2. Brown Rice
Rice is a staple food in many cultures, and it is one of the most versatile foods containing electrolytes. Brown rice, in particular, is especially healthy because its processing leaves most of the nutrients intact. Brown rice is low in calories, but it contains plenty of phosphorus and magnesium, as well as manganese, selenium, copper, and vitamin B3. Brown rice is also rich in fiber, and the oils in whole brown rice can even lower your cholesterol levels. It’s no wonder brown rice is one of the most popular foods on the planet.
The manganese in brown rice helps the body to process carbohydrates and proteins, turning them into energy. It also helps to keep the nervous system healthy by synthesizing fatty acids. The magnesium in brown rice can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and can also help regulate your blood pressure. Brown rice also helps to keep your bones strong, promotes a healthy colon, and reduces your chances of developing some types of cancer. Brown rice is also a very filling food that is low in calories while stilloffering the nutritional value you require.
Although some types of yogurt can be fatty, it is still an excellent source of calcium. Yogurt also contains probiotics, which are “good” bacteria that are essential for your body’s health. Other electrolytes found in yogurt include potassium and magnesium, and yogurt is also an excellent source of vitamins D, B2, and B12. When shopping for yogurt, seek out the natural, low-fat or non-fat options whenever possible, and seek out the brands that contain active cultures and probiotics. Low-fat yogurt can make an excellent breakfast, especially when topped with fruit.
The calcium in yogurt is essential for keeping your bones and teeth strong, and yogurt helps to prevent osteoporosis for this reason. Studies have shown that eating yogurt regularly helps to keep blood pressure levels down. Yogurt is also excellent for treating gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, lactose intolerance, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. Yogurt also makes you feel fuller than many other snacks, making it an excellent option for a quick snack on the go.
Eggs are sometimes controversial, particularly in regard to their health benefits. This is mainly due to their high cholesterol levels. However, eggs do offer some excellent health benefits, as they contain phosphorus, riboflavin, choline, vitamin B12, and high-quality protein. Eggs also contain minerals such as selenium and iodine that are not often found in other foods. When you consider the amount of nutrients that eggs provide, they are actually not unreasonably high in calories, either. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods with electrolytes, as they can be made in many different ways and incorporated into a myriad of different dishes.
Studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of people do not get enough choline in their diet. A single egg contains more than 100 milligrams of choline, which is essential for building cell membranes and signaling molecules in the brain. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, they also help the body to process “bad” cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Eggs also rank high on the Satiety Index, which measures the level of fullness a person feels after consuming a food, when compared to the number of calories.
Without a doubt, spinach is one of the healthiest foods available. Low in calories and high in nutrients, a handful of spinach is an incredibly effective way to fuel your body. Most of the calories in spinach come from protein, and this leafy green is an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, and potassium, as well as vitamin A, folate, and iron. In fact, spinach even surpasses the banana’s potassium content, with one cup of spinach containing 839 milligrams, as opposed to the banana’s 539 milligrams.
It is important to include plenty of iron in your diet, especially if you are an athlete, as iron directly affects how your body uses energy. Doctors often tell people with high blood pressure to eat more spinach because the potassium effectively reduces blood pressure levels. Spinach also contains vitamin K and calcium, which are both essential for maintaining bone density. The fiber in spinach promotes a healthy digestive tract, and the vitamin A helps to keep your skin and hair healthy. The chlorophyll in spinach and other leafy greens may also help to reduce your cancer risk.
Peanuts are the perfect grab-and-go snack. You can munch on them on the way to the gym, during a game, or any other time that you need a quick and nutritious snack. Peanuts are rich in biotin, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and many vitamins. The amount of antioxidants in peanuts is comparable to many fruits. These irresistible legumes are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
When compared to the average American diet, a diet rich in peanut products reduced cardiovascular disease by 21 percent. Studies also suggest that peanuts reduce a person’s chance of developing gallstones. Peanuts help to reduce the cognitive effects associated with aging, and they may reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Clearly peanuts are one of the best foods containing electrolytes, and it doesn't hurt that they’re also delicious.
Salmon is a delicious fish that is packed with nutrients and electrolytes such as phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. Salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, iron, and zinc. It is a high-quality protein that contains vitamins A, D, B6, B, and E. Many experts recommend eating salmon and other fish at least twice per week. Salmon also goes great with other foods that have electrolytes such as brown rice and spinach, so enjoy a delicious and healthy meal tonight.
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon provide numerous health benefits, including promoting a healthy heart, improving blood lipid patterns and blood vessel function, and even reducing depression and other mental disorders. While the omega-3 fatty acids are the most well-known benefits, salmon also packs a lot of nutrients into one high-quality protein without the cholesterol content you would find in other meats.
Kale is widely regarded as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and for good reason. Kale contains plenty of potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, as well as a huge variety of other nutrients and vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and K. You would be hard-pressed to find better electrolyte sources than kale, especially when you consider how many other minerals, vitamins, and nutrients it also contains.
Kale is an excellent source of fiber, which help to keep the digestive tract healthy and promote regularity. Like spinach, kale contains chlorophyll, which helps to prevent cancer. Kale also has plenty of calcium and vitamin K, which are both crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth. The vitamin A in kale keeps your skin and hair healthy, and the iron contained in kale can even reduce the chances of balding. A handful of kale thrown into a salad is a fantastic way to enjoy some serious health benefits.
Unlike the grapes from which they came, raisins are a wonderful, concentrated source of electrolytes, vitamins, energy, and minerals. Although some vitamins are lost when turning fresh grapes into raisins, the increased health benefits are undeniable. Raisins are packed with electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, fluoride, and many others. Like peanuts, raisins are a quick grab-and-go snack, perfect for working out or competing. As you can imagine, a healthy trail mix is one of the best sources of electrolytes, especially with a cold, refreshing Vitalyte beverage to wash it down.
Like fresh grapes, raisins contain significant amounts of antioxidants. Like the other foods on this list, raisins promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of stroke. The fiber contained in raisins helps to lower bad cholesterol levels, lower body weight, and reduce your chances of contracting some types of cancers. Raisins are also an excellent source of B vitamins, which help to boost your energy and overall mood.
The humble potato is a fantastic addition to any meal. Potatoes contain significant amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, not to mention zinc, niacin, folate, and choline. Potatoes are also packed with vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B-6. Regularly consuming potatoes along with other fruits and vegetables has been proven to reduce obesity and promote a healthy weight in general. If you’re looking to add some electrolytes to a meal, potatoes are easily one of the most versatile choices available.
Potatoes contain choline, which is an essential mineral for reducing inflammation. They also contain folate, which helps with DNA repair and synthesis, which helps to reduce the risk of cancer. The fiber in potatoes help to keep the digestive tract healthy, and the vitamin B6 helps to process proteins and carbohydrates and turn them into energy. Potatoes also help to reduce blood pressure levels, promoting cardiovascular health.