Foods with Electrolytes


Electrically-charged minerals in your blood are called electrolytes. Electrolytes aid in regulating water quantities, muscle activity and pH levels in your body. Sweating, vomiting and diarrhea cause you to lose electrolytes. However, you can replenish lost electrolytes by eating foods and drinking fluids rich in electrolytes. The primary electrolytes in your body include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.


Sodium aids in maintaining external fluid volume and regulating cellular functioning. You can easily access foods with sodium, as most processed foods contain sodium additives, such as sodium chloride, phosphates and benzoates. Other food sources of sodium include nuts, butter, margarine, salted meats, cold cuts and table salt. Adequate intake of sodium for an adult ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 grams per day. However, do not consume over 2.3 grams per day, since excess sodium can cause hypertension and increase your risk for stroke and heart disease.


Potassium functions to maintain external and internal cellular fluid, regulate blood pressure due to excess sodium, minimize occurrence of kidney stones and reduce markers associated with bone turnover rates. Hypokalemia, or potassium deficiency, can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, gastrointestinal irritations and muscle cramps. Excellent sources of potassium include bananas, baked potatoes with the skin, plums, prunes, oranges, orange juice, molasses, almonds, cooked spinach, acorn squash, tomatoes, raisins, sunflower seeds and artichokes. Adequate intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 milligrams per day.


According to Linus Pauling Institute, magnesium contributes to over 300 metabolic functions, including protein and nucleic acid synthesis, energy production, ion transportation, cell signaling and cell mobility. Because magnesium is found in animal and plant products, magnesium deficiency is rare among individuals consuming a balanced diet. However, certain factors can increase the risk of deficiency, such as gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, eating disorders, diuretic use, alcoholism and older age. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 400 to 420 milligrams for males and 310 to 320 milligrams for females. Excellent sources of magnesium include bran cereal, shredded wheat, brown rice, almonds, milk, bananas, molasses, okra, spinach, Lima beans, peanuts and hazelnuts.


Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in your body and necessary for cellular functioning. Additionally, the central nervous system, heart and muscles require calcium to work properly. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health reports Americans ingest less than 50 percent of the recommended calcium to develop healthy bones. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is 1,000 milligrams for adults 19 to 50 years and 1,200 milligrams for adults 51 years and older. Foods rich in calcium include cheeses, milk, yogurt, sardines, oysters, salmon, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, dried figs, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, molasses and almonds.