5 Foods To Replenish and Restore Your Electrolyte Imbalance

by Jori Geck September 04, 2020

Electrolytes are particles in our bodies that carry a positive or negative charge. Electrolytes can determine the essential minerals that are found in our blood, sweat, and urine and are necessary for our body to perform properly. Electrolytes are needed for nerve function, muscle function, maintaining acid-base balance, sustain athletic performance, and keeping you hydrated (1). Therefore, we must keep these essential electrolytes balanced so our body can work as it's supposed to. 

Below are the electrolytes that are present in our bodies, along with the roles they perform:

  • Sodium: Sodium controls the amount of water in the body and is essential for cell-to-cell signaling
  • Potassium: Potassium is also essential for cell-to-cell signaling, and important for skeletalmuscle contraction
  • Chloride: Chloride works to keep the correct amount of fluid inside and outside the cell, maintains blood volume, pH levels, andblood pressure
  • Calcium: Calcium is the key tomuscle contraction, cell division, and bone density. 
  • Magnesium: Magnesium works to improvemuscle contraction, cardiovascular function, digestion, and maintain a healthyfluid balance
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus works with calcium to maintain bone density, muscular contraction, and is vital for energy production 
  • Bicarbonate: Bicarbonate maintains the correctpH levels in the fluids in our bodily fluids 

What are the symptoms of electrolyte deficiency?

Anelectrolyte imbalance can present itself through numerous different symptoms, and in severe cases even cause seizures, cardiac arrest, and coma (6). We are going to cover what other symptoms can be an indicator of an imbalance, which can cause an imbalance, and natural remedies toreplenish your electrolytes. 

Below are signs that could indicate you have anelectrolyte imbalance: (3)

  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness or muscle cramps
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Mental Confusion 
  • Twitching 
  • Kidney Disease
  • Highblood pressure

How to test for electrolyte imbalances

You can test your electrolyte levels by doing a blood test or a metabolic panel. Blood will be taken from your vein with a small need and that the blood taken can help determine what electrolytes are imbalanced in your body (4). Below are the levels that each important electrolyte should be at the ensure they are balanced, and properly working in your body:

  • Sodium: 135-146 mmol/L
  • Potassium: 3.5-5.5 mmol/L
  • Chloride: 98-110 mmol/L
  • Calcium: 4.5-5.5 mg/dL
  • Magnesium: 1.5- 2.5 mg/dL 
  • Phosphate: 2.5-4.5 mg/dL
  • Bicarbonate: 23-29 mmol/L

What can cause an electrolyte imbalance?

There are many different reasons we could be experiencing anelectrolyte imbalance, whether its lifestyler factors, disease, or medications. Let's dive into how these factors can affect our electrolytes.

Exercising

As important as exercising is, it can be a contributing factor to anelectrolyte imbalance. If you are doing long-distance cardio, or heavy weight lifting and finding it difficult to maintain energy and endurance, you could be depleting your electrolytes. When we sweat during exercise, we are sweating out water and electrolytes, and this is why you might find yourself struggling during workouts. Not only is endurance impacted, but you could be experiencing frequentcramping, muscle twitching, and weakness. Keeping your electrolytes balanced and maintaining hydration during physical activity is important. 

Low Carb/Ketogenic Diet

During a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you are drastically reducing or eliminating your carbohydrate intake. This can have an impact on your electrolytes because our body will begin to process our electrolytes differently. When we lower our carbohydrate intake, our body will release less insulin, which will naturally cause the kidneys to excrete more sodium. When more sodium is excreted in our urine or sweat, this can cause a severe electrolyte deficiency. This leads to symptoms that you might have heard characterized as the “Keto Flu” such as, fatigue, low muscle endurance, arrhythmia, and diarrhea (7). These all stem from lowelectrolyte levels. It is important to supplement electrolytes if you are following a low-carb/ketogenic diet to keep your body performing as it needs to and reduce electrolyte deficiency symptoms.  

Sickness

If you find yourself sick and experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and sweating, you are excreting a great amount of water and electrolytes causing severe dehydration. That is why it is always emphasized to keep your water and electrolyte intake high during sickness, this way you can avoid more symptoms caused by anelectrolyte imbalance

 Poor Diet

A poor diet can be a large factor if you are experiencing anelectrolyte imbalance. If you are not consuming nutrient-dense foods to nourish your body with the right minerals you can experience symptoms of an electrolyte deficiency. Your diet must be filled with electrolyte-rich foods to ensure you are maintaining thiselectrolyte balance. We will dive into what foods are best when we discuss the natural ways toreplenish electrolytes. 

Medications:

Certain medications like antibiotics, diuretics, and corticosteroids can have a serious effect on yourelectrolyte levels (5). Medications like these can impact the absorption of electrolytes in our body, and impact our hormones that directly impactelectrolyte levels. Hormone imbalances can have a large effect on the metabolic hormone insulin, which as mentioned before, interferes with our ability to properly absorb electrolytes and increase secretion of said electrolytes. 

Malabsorption:

If you suffer from gut-related issues such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's, your small intestine's ability to absorb important nutrients and minerals becomes hindered. These problems make it difficult for our body to absorb electrolytes, and cause them to be excessively excreted through urine or sweat. Therefore, can cause anelectrolyte imbalance and add to your symptoms.

Kidney Disease: 

Chronic kidney disease can lead to severeelectrolyte imbalances, specifically potassium. Our kidney's job is to remove excess potassium from our blood by excreting it through the urine. Kidney disease can drastically reduce the kidney's ability to eliminate all the extra potassium in our blood, this can lead to dangerously high levels of potassium (8). High levels of potassium will lead to numerous medical symptoms and ailments that are listed below:

  • Muscle weakness 
  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Nausea 
  • Numbness 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Chest pains 
  • Vomiting 

To reduce the risk of high potassium levels, it is recommended to limit high potassium fruits and vegetables. While it is still important to incorporate these healthy foods, a medical doctor will be able to help you find the right balance. 

Ways to naturally replenish your electrolytes

Now that we have gone over the different factors that can contribute toelectrolyte imbalances, we are going to look at the natural remedies that can help you stabilize yourelectrolyte levels. The most important areas in replenishing electrolytes are supplementation and diet. 

Supplementation: Electrolyte + Powder 

Staying hydrated can make or break athletic performance as a multitude of physiological processes rely onfluid balance and electrolyte availability. Supplementation is a great way toreplenish your electrolytes and avoid deficiency. Our Electrolyte + Powder contains an evidence-based blend of essential minerals and electrolytes that work to support optimal bodily health and function. This powder contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chromium,hydrating vitamin complex, taurine, and L- carnosine. These ingredients work together to ultimately improve numerous areas of your life and health.

Here are the key benefits of the Electrolyte + Formula:

  • Provides powerfulhydrating nutrients 
  • Supports optimal athletic performance 
  • Promotes healthy cell function andmuscle contraction
  • Boosts antioxidant capacity 
  • Naturally sweetened, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and vegetarian 
  • Electrolyte drink without preservatives,added sugars, caffeine, stimulants, orartificial ingredients

Foods That Restore Electrolytes 

Incorporating nutrient-dense foods that are high in electrolytes is vital to naturally improvingelectrolyte balance. Let’s dive into the foods that contain natural electrolytes that you can add to your diet (9):

  • Leafy Green Vegetables: vegetables like spinach,kale, and collard greens are filled with calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Fruits: Bananas and prunes are a good source of potassium
  • Dairy products: Yogurt and cheese contain high amounts of calcium
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium and some even have small amounts of phosphorus.
  • Coconut water:Coconut water is nature'ssports drink. Instead of grabbingGatorade orPowerade after your athletic event, try coconut water as it is low in sugar, and filled with sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
  • Avocado: Avocados are a healthy fat, and loaded with potassium. Using avocado as a post-workout snack can help refuel and rehydrate. 
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, and magnesium.
  • Table Salt:Table salt contains high amounts of sodium and chloride. Salty foods such as pickles and olives are high in sodium (10)
  • Sea salt: Sea salt is less processed than regular table salt, and is filled with sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Another viable substitution for table salt which is abundant in electrolytes is Himalayan salt. 
  • Lemon: Lemons are packed with potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 

These foods are a great source of natural electrolytes. Convenient ways you can add them to your diet by making smoothies, sides to meals, and post-workout snacks. 

Conclusion

As previously mentioned,electrolyte imbalance can occur during exercise, diet, kidney disease, sickness, and while on medication. This makes it vital that we properlyreplenish these electrolytes naturally through supplementation with ourElectrolyte + powder and a nutrient-dense diet. Keeping our electrolytes balanced can not only decrease uncomfortable symptoms and disease, but amplify your athletic performance, overall health, and quality of life. 

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/electrolytes#imbalance 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4129840/
  3. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/signs-you-have-an-electrolyte-imbalance 
  4. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/electrolyte-panel/ 
  5. http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/side-effects/electrolyte-imbalance.aspx
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/electrolyte-disorders#types
  7. https://hvmn.com/blogs/blog/ketosis-keto-electrolytes-tips-and-concerns#:~:text=Once%20you%20start%20drastically%20reducing,key%20electrolytes%20in%20your%20body. 
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-potassium/chronic-kidney-disease-and-high-potassium#signs-of-hyperkalemia 
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-nutrition/electrolytes-food#food-vs-drink 
  10.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/electrolytes-food#foods 
Jori Geck
Jori Geck

Jori Geck has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Central Michigan University. Jori is a full-time Nutritionist at NuVision Health Center and has a desire to share her passion of healing the body with food, and improving overall health in natural, sustainable ways.



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