If you're feeling a little woozy or experiencing muscles cramps after a sweaty workout, your electrolyte levels may be out of whack. Electrolytes are essential nutrients that help maintain fluid balance. They also conduct electrical activity in your body and are responsible for muscle contractions and neural activity. Electrolyte imbalance occurs when you lose an excessive amount of body fluids through sweat, vomiting, diarrhea or a high fever. You can easily get your body back in balance by eating or drinking foods that contain these essential nutrients.
Eat a banana to replace potassium levels. One medium banana has more than 400 milligrams of potassium. Potatoes and yogurt are also good sources of potassium.
Add a pinch of salt to a glass of water to replace sodium and chloride. Sodium holds water so it also helps with rehydration. Salty foods, such as broth or vegetable juice, are also good for replenishing sodium levels. Fresh tomatoes and lettuce help replenish chloride.
Replenish calcium stores with milk or yogurt. One cup of plain yogurt has 415 milligrams of calcium, while the same serving of nonfat milk has 299 milligrams.
Snack on pumpkin seeds to replenish magnesium stores. Almonds, cashews, peanut butter, spinach and beans are also good sources of magnesium.
Drink an electrolyte replacement beverage. You can purchase ready-made electrolyte drinks, but keep in mind that these contain refined sugar and additives such as food dyes. A better option is to make your own electrolyte drink: Try mixing 12 ounces of water with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 1/2 cups of 100 percent fruit juice and 1/4 cup of lemon juice, suggests the University of Arizona website.
Look for coconut water at your local grocery store. Coconut water is not only a good source of electrolytes, including potassium, sodium and magnesium, but it also contains fiber.
- American Council on Exercise: Electrolytes: Understanding Replacement Options
- Texas Oncology: Electrolyte Imbalance
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard ReferenceNational Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Bananas, Raw
- Ultracycling: Electrolytes and Fluid Replacement: Any Debate?
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Is Coconut Water a Good Choice for a Sports Drink?
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- The University of Arizona: Make Your Own Sport Drink & Energy Bar