Everyone knows that when you work up a sweat, you have to drink water to rehydrate your body. What you may not know, however, is that you also need to replenish lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride that conduct an electrical charge when mixed with water. Your heart, brain and muscles need those sparks of electricity to function — literally. They are vital to a variety of bodily functions including nerve and muscle function, pH balance, energy production, blood pressure regulation and hydration.
Electrolytes aren’t just important for athletes either. Everyone loses electrolytes through urine and sweat every day, so you need a steady supply to replenish them. While sports drinks like Gatorade are well-known for providing plentiful electrolytes, they’re also full of sugar and are not typically the healthiest of choices. Thankfully, the following natural, nutritious and delicious foods (and drink options) can provide the minerals your body needs — without the added sugar.
Bananas are not only a great grab-and-go snack, but they’re also hydrating, easily digestible and chock-full of replenishing electrolytes like potassium. There’s even research to show that eating bananas before or after a big workout can help keep you energized and fueled.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Snack on a small handful of nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, cashews and sunflower seeds for a good dose of magnesium and phosphorus. As a bonus, you’ll be getting some protein to feed your muscles and boost your energy.
3. Coconut Water
If you’re looking for a quick, delicious energy and electrolyte boost during or after a workout, reach for coconut water. Also known as “nature’s Gatorade,” this sweet beverage contains five key electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Watermelon lovers rejoice! This summer staple contains natural sugars, potassium, magnesium, water and small amounts of calcium and phosphorus, making it the perfect pre- and/or post-workout snack. You could even sprinkle a little natural sea salt to get in some sodium before a workout.
As if you needed another reason to love avocados, this creamy fruit is packed with potassium and magnesium, two vital minerals and electrolytes that athletes often deplete due to stress on the body. If you’ve been craving avocado toast, go make yourself a piece and enjoy!
6. DIY Electrolyte Water
Instead of grabbing a sugar-laden sports drink, mix up this homemade electrolyte-packed beverage instead:
The Bottom Line
Just as you need to fill up your car’s gas tank for it to continue to run, you also need to supply your body with electrolytes for it to function optimally and reach your fitness goals. To avoid an electrolyte imbalance, be sure to drink enough water, eat a healthy diet and reach for the above foods and drinks when you need an electrolyte boost!
About the Author
Stephanie Thomas is a certified personal trainer, health coach and bridal fitness specialist living in Annapolis, Maryland. As the founder of Stephanie Thomas Fitness and creator of The Ultimate Home Workout Guide, she helps women develop healthy habits and a well-rounded workout routine they’re obsessed with. Her fitness philosophy is “You don’t have to work out, you get to work out. Take care of your body so it can take care of you!” When she’s not creating workouts for her clients, you can find Stephanie reading the latest health book, spending time in nature or taking a walk with her two cavalier pups. You can grab her free Tight Core Mini Guide and sign up for her free wellness newsletter at her website, www.stephaniethomasfitness.com.