Electrolytes are ions that the human body requires to perform various functions. The most popular sources are sports drinks that include artificial ingredients, but electrolytes are naturally occurring elements that come from natural sources. Here are some major electrolytes and where to find them:
Sodium- Possibly the most abundant electrolyte in the average diet, sodium helps our bodies retain water. We need balanced amounts of sodium to keep from sweating too much and/or getting dehydrated. We get sodium from most salty foods, but it can also be found in celery, peanut butter, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, just to name a few things.
Chloride- Another abundant electrolyte, chloride balances acidity and the various fluids in the body. We typically get chloride along with sodium in the form of sodium chloride (also known as salt), but it can also be found in tomatoes, lettuce and rye.
Potassium- Potassium helps regulate heartbeat and is required for muscle contraction. It can be found in potatoes, leafy green vegetables and bananas.
Calcium- Popular for strengthening our bones, calcium also aids in muscle contraction and transmission of nerve signals. It can be found in milk products, beans and nuts.
Magnesium- Possibly one of the less-popular electrolytes, magnesium maintains a stable heart rate, nerve and muscle function and boosts the immune system. It can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts and spices.
It is vital to maintain balanced levels of electrolytes in the body; too much or too little can cause health problems. A diet full of plenty of fruits and vegetables should be enough to meet our electrolyte requirements.