Electrolyte Alternatives

January 28, 2017

in Food

An electrolyte is a substance dissolved in water creating a solution that conducts electricity. Salts that contain sodium, chlorine, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium are examples. In the human body, electrolytes carry signals that activate neurons and muscles. Without the correct balance, the signals can be diminished and nerves and muscles may not work as intended and medical emergencies can result. Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance may include: irregular heartbeat, weakness/fatigue, spasms/convulsions/seizures, blood pressure disorders, and mental confusion.

Saline solutions composed of sugar, salt, and water are often used to re-hydrate and re-balance electrolytes after being diminished. We also get replacement electrolytes from some fruits and vegetables and from sports drinks designed for that specific purpose. Imbalances can be caused simply by dehydration, but also by kidney disorders, heart failure, and other causes.

When solutions designed to restore the balance of electrolytes are not available, the key elements can often be supplied by natural food sources. These include:

  • Table salt is composed of sodium and chlorine and salt can be found in many salted and pickled foods. Sodium is also found in beets, milk, and celery. Chlorides are found in tomatoes, olives, and celery.
  • Potassium is found in most meat, chicken, and fish. Tomatoes, broccoli, beans and peas, bananas, kiwis, and cantaloupe also offer potassium content.
  • Calcium if found in yogurt, milk, and cheese as well as black-eye peas and some leafy greens.
  • Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds, grains, and many leafy greens.
  • Phosphorus is found mostly in milk products and meats.

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