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The Importance of Electrolytes

Melissa Villamizar August 4, 2011 Fitness, Health, Nutrition 5 Comments

There’s a new commercial out right now that I absolutely can’t stand. You may have seen it, a bunch of kids playing soccer outside, asking their coach why they don’t just drink water if they’re losing water? Well kids, let me tell you why.

You lose more than just water when you sweat. You lose things called electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts with electricity conductive properties. Throughout our body tissue, fluid and blood, electrolytes conduct charges that are essential for muscle contractions, heart beats, fluid regulation and general nerve function. Chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are the chief minerals in electrolytes.

When too much fluid that does not contain electrolytes is consumed (water, for example), it can flush out the body’s remaining electrolytes, causing muscle cramping and heart palpitations. My suggestion for replenishing lost electrolytes is coconut water, since sports drinks contain unwanted sugar and other chemicals that your body doesn’t necessarily need. Other than sweating, if you are ill with diarrhea and/or vomiting, or after excessive alcohol consumption, you will also need to replenish your electrolytes. Other sources of electrolytes are fruits (citrus fruits and avocados), vegetables (including potatoes), milk and seaweed (especially dulse).

 

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  1. [...] runs lasting longer than 1 hour), it is CRUCIAL to replenish lost electrolytes. (Read more about The Importance of Electrolytes here). I say “crucial” because in the Texas heat, it truly can be a matter of life or [...]