Sunshine, sun burn, vacation, lake time, hiking, outdoor activities, and bonfires. This is what summer is all about. Among all the fun, you will find yourself thirsty or sweating at some point. The body cannot live without electrolytes! In this blog I'll be going through what electrolytes are important and some of my favorite things to use.
This is the most common electrolyte to be deficient in most people. Sodium is exchanged with potassium along your cell membranes. It is necessary for cellular function and homeostasis. Deficiency of sodium results from low salt diets, poor soil that our food is grown in, digestive issues, medications, stress, and more. When someone is on a low salt diet, it increases the loss of potassium. You might be wondering, what the risks are of a low salt diet? It increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, potassium deficiency, cause primary Aldosteronism, increase your risk for diabetes, and worsen adrenal fatigue. It's important to learn which salt to buy and use. Hint, it's not table salt!!
When looking at which salt to buy, all salt can be labeled "sea salt". There is also a big difference between unrefined salt and refined salt. Unrefined is sea salt with no harsh chemicals, it contains 80+ trace minerals, and the best kind is Celtic sea salt. Himalayan pink salt is also a good choice.
Refined salt is table salt. All the minerals and impurities have been removed. It usually is bleached with chlorine and contains toxins. It's also known at Morton salt. You will find this most commonly at restaurants on the table or in the grocery store with the girl and the umbrella on the package. Ask instead for sea salt if possible or bring your own with you! Some of the best brands for unrefined salt are Selina naturally, Celtic sea salt, or American BlueGreen (Himalayan crystal salt). Make sure whatever salt you buy that It says "unrefined sea salt". If you need to add more salt into your diet, roughly 5 grams is great. Season your food with it, add it to your water, and get it from your foods. Make sure to add your other crucial minerals so they don't get unbalanced. We will talk about these next.
Potassium is crucial for helping muscles contract, regulate heartbeat, regulate blood glucose and insulin sensitivity, maintaining intracellular fluid volume, and much more. If you are someone that struggles with fatigue, there could be a potassium imbalance. What are some of the causes of deficiencies? Digestive issues like malabsorption and diarrhea can cause potassium deficiency. Even more than that, things like diuretics, chronic laxative use, and low salt diets contribute to this. So how do you get more potassium into your diet? Here are some of the best foods:
Beet Greens- great in powders for smoothies or fresh!
There are other great foods you can add in as well. When it comes to sodium and potassium, there has a be a good ratio. A ratio of 1:6. As an example, if you consume 5,000mg of sodium, then you will need to consume 30,000mg of potassium per day. Most people do not get this in on a daily basis. Keep in mind a lot of the foods you eat will have both! Example: 1 cup of beet greens has 106 mg of sodium and 442 mg of potassium. If you feel that you are not getting enough, then supplementing with potassium (potassium citrate) can be helpful. You will have to look at the amounts to get exactly how much you need.
When you think of calcium what do you think of? Milk, bones? This mineral is important for muscle contraction, blood clotting, controlling blood pH, regulates the release of parathyroid hormone and calcitonin hormone. It's stored in bones, teeth, and the digestive system. Our body pulls it out of our bones and teeth to be used in the blood. When someone has osteoporosis, it's the loss of minerals. Vitamin D is extremely important for absorption for calcium. When someone has a deficiency in calcium, they can get rickets, have a low vitamin D level, low magnesium level, or deal with chronic kidney disease. Some medications lower calcium levels like metformin, H2 blockers, and corticosteroids. When you are looking at how to get more calcium in your diet, don't reach for that milk! We have been conditioned to think that milk is the best source for this. Unfortunately is it not. Salmon, almonds, dark leafy greens, beans, and lentils are amazing getting your calcium in and have much more than dairy!
When I think of magnesium I always think of sleep or relaxing. This one is so important for your body and very common for people to be deficient in. It's a cofactor for over 300 enzyme systems in the body. It's also needed for vitamin D production and needed for neurotransmitter release. It's the 3rd most common element dissolved in sea water and helps prevents chronic issues of the heart, lungs, bones, and diabetes. It lower blood pressure and regulates heartbeat. It also improves sleep. What you may already know is that magnesium is huge in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. This is why it's so great for sleep! If magnesium levels are low, vitamin D can be ineffective. Many times this deficiency happens from cooking and boiling food, refined foods, poor soil that our food is grown in, mediations, chemotherapy, fluoride and chlorine exposure, and high caffeine consumption. The best foods to get magnesium in your diet include: dark leafy greens, raw nuts and seeds, cacao, chlorophyll, and by supplementation. There are also other great foods that have good amounts of magnesium! If you are going to supplement, there are many different types of magnesium so do your research.
Besides, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, there are other minerals that are important. Bicarbonate, chloride, phosphorus are other important electrolytes. Many of these you will get from food. Some of my favorite things to use to get my electrolytes in each day besides food are:
Ultima drink mix (sugar free and delicious)
Celtic sea salt (Selina naturally)
Potassium from Wellness way
Relax (magnesium supplement) from Wellness way. You can also use Calm.
Remember to stay hydrated with your electrolytes in your water. When you start to get the amounts that your body truly needs, you will start to feel more energized!