When you think of electrolytes, you probably think of your favorite sports drink and not much more. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a science major to understand the role of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are minerals including potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, among others. These electrolytes are crucial for bodily functions and are necessary to survive. If you’d like to improve your fitness level and overall well-being, here are five benefits of increasing your electrolyte intake starting today.
1. Improved Hydration
For people that exercise regularly or work out in hot weather, heavy perspiration is common. The problem is you lose valuable minerals along with water through sweat. Then, before you even realize you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Dehydration often leads to headaches, nausea and heatstroke, but plain water isn’t enough. A beverage blended with the best electrolyte powder available will quickly replenish lost minerals and keep your performance strong.
Electrolytes are also beneficial if you’ve got the flu or have stomach troubles. Losing excess fluids through diarrhea, vomiting or a high temperature is another situation that will leave you dehydrated. Sipping a beverage prepared with electrolytes will restore your mineral levels and also feel refreshing.
2. Better Quality of Sleep
There are many reasons why people experience poor sleep, and lack of electrolytes is one to add to the list. As you sleep, you lose water through sweating, snoring, mouth breathing and through your skin, also known as transepidermal water loss.
While drinking a glass of water before bed is helpful, too much liquid will wake you up and send you to the bathroom, preventing a good night’s sleep. When you boost your electrolytes, it’s another story altogether. Calcium, for example, can take the amino acid tryptophan and convert it into melatonin, making for a blissful night of sleep.
3. A Happy Heart
Another area where electrolytes provide a vital function is the heart. However, the electrolytes you take in must be in balance to not negatively affect cardiac function. For example, sodium should be consumed in moderation, as it lends itself to high blood pressure.
Other electrolytes, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, help regulate the electrical signals to your heart. If you don’t consume enough of them, it could result in an irregular heartbeat called arrhythmia. Instead, keep your heart happy and healthy through a mineral-rich diet and an electrolyte supplement.
4. Fewer Illnesses
No one likes getting sick, but what if there were a natural way to prevent illnesses starting right now? Fortunately, increasing your electrolytes is an easy way to do just that! Your immune system fights off a variety of illnesses, but can only do so when it’s already built up. You probably know that vitamin C strengthens your immune system, but electrolytes also help by keeping you hydrated, which fends off colds.
Increase your potassium levels with bananas, avocados and potatoes. Eat nuts and spinach for extra magnesium and dairy products, broccoli and greens for added calcium. Sodium is probably the easiest electrolyte to consume, as it’s abundant in most foods and of course, in ordinary table salt.
5. Superior Muscle Function
You probably understand that consuming an electrolyte-infused beverage after a workout helps prevent painful muscle cramps and uncomfortable twitches. Every time you use a muscle, it contacts and then relaxes. Electrolytes make this process possible by providing an electrical charge within the muscle cells. If electrolytes aren’t replenished, you could experience irregular heartbeat, seizures or even fibromyalgia.
Smooth muscle function is a good reason to take inventory of your diet and see what can be improved. Stock up on leafy greens, beans, nuts and other mineral-rich foods. Adding an electrolyte supplement to your regimen also makes it easy to care for your muscles.
Electrolytes are necessary for survival, affecting everything from your heart to sleep quality. Eating a nutritious diet and supplementing it with an electrolyte powder will ensure you’re never deficient in these essential minerals.