With today’s active lifestyles that incorporate a balance of fitness, nightlife, travel and general health and well-being, it can be difficult to maintain proper hydration. While water has been the mainstay and the go-to product for natural hydration, most water products lack a key component to health — electrolytes. Electrolytes are ionic solutions (salts), found naturally in the form of minerals. Electrolytes keep the body well hydrated and allow the muscles and nerves to function properly.
Electrolytes play an important role in recovery from activity as they replenish depleted nutrients and are difficult to regain quickly solely through natural foods. There are 5 key electrolytes needed to maintain optimal health; calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride. Each one provides specific support to the body’s system, allowing for complete recovery.
Calcium helps with muscle contractions, nerve signaling, blood clotting, cell division and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Potassium keeps blood levels stable, regulates heart contractions and helps with muscle functions. Magnesium is needed for muscle contractions, proper heart rhythms, nerve-functioning and bone strength, reducing anxiety, digestion and keeping a stable protein-fluid balance. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance and helps with nerve signaling. Chloride maintains fluid balance. Combining the intake of these critical electrolytes with water allows for faster hydration and replenishment, as water follows electrolytes through the body.
While the inclination is to reach for sports drinks or coconut water products to aid in rehydration, there are other options with less sugar, more nutrients and ultimately, that are organically made. Electrolytes can be replenished through natural, organic foods, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, dark leafy greens and bananas, but not everyone has time for a complete, balanced meal filled with electrolytes after every workout, night out, long flight or illness.