By Chelsea Blissett
All Bodies Intern, nutrition student & professional football player
Electrolytes play such a huge role in our body system, electrolytes are vital minerals that our body needs to be able to regulate muscle activity (contraction and movement) , keep our cells hydrated, balance blood acidity and pressure , re-build damage tissue, maintain blood pressure and heart health, boost muscle recovery and function and support bone health.
There are 5 key electrolytes in our bodies: sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride and phosphate. We get these minerals from the foods we eat and the fluids we consume. Our bodies don’t replenish these minerals naturally therefore we have to replace them ourselves when we lose them. Electrolyte loss occurs mostly through sweat but electrolytes can also be lost through not eating or drinking enough, vomiting and chronic respiratory conditions such as emphysema.
So what happens to our bodies when we don’t properly replenish our electrolytes? When we don’t replenish our electrolytes our bodies begin to have mineral deficiencies which can severely affect the way our bodies function. Milder symptoms of electrolyte loss such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue and vomiting , when the body is severely undernourished and lacking electrolytes it can lead to muscle cramps, muscle weakness, abnormal eye movement, lack of breath and in the most severe of cases seizures, hallucinations and heart beats can start becoming irregular. This information can seem a bit daunting however electrolytes play a massive role in our bodies and keeping a good balance can prevent a lot of serious health conditions.
All foods will replenish our electrolytes one way or another however there are certain foods that are higher in the 5 minerals that we need than others. Foods such as bananas’, berries, oranges, watermelon, milk, yogurt, avocado, coconut water, spinach, kale, nut butters, broccoli and lean protein sources are great for refueling the body after a hard workout, prolonged day in the sun, illness and even just a relaxing day and just eating to nourish our bodies.
To get started on replenishing those electrolytes,below are some recipes for post workout smoothies and electrolyte replenishing icy poles
1 cup coconut water
3 mint leaves
1 cup chopped watermelon (frozen)
COCONUT BERRY BLISS
1 cup of coconut water
½ cup of mixed berries
1 cup of high protein yogurt
1 Handful of spinach
1 cup of skim milk
1 tbsp of nut butter
½ cup of coconut water
½ cup of orange juice
1 cup of watermelon
Blend all together and pour into ice block trays and freeze overnight
CREAMY BERRY QUENCHER
1 cup of coconut water or skim milk
½ cup of berries
1 cup of vanilla yogurt
Blend all together and pour into ice block molds and freeze overnight