Electrolytes - We Are What We Absorb
Like any other nutrient, our body only obtains what it absorbs. We could eat all the kale in the world, but if we're not absorbing nutrients in kale, we're just eating kale.
Electrolytes help our body absorb water.
Drink Your Water
It's the first piece of nutrition advice we hear.
Drink enough water!
You may not be hungry, you may just be thirsty!
Does A Body Good
By weight, the human body is over 50% water (1):
- Cartilage in our joints and tissues are 85% water
- Cells are 90% water
- Blood is 92% water
- Brain and muscles are 75% water
Water is a workhorse -- from transporting nutrients to removing toxins to curbing hunger.
We know water is important. We buy big jugs of water and guzzle it down.
But, what if we're not absorbing this water?
What if we're just peeing it out?
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes help our body to actually absorb water.
Types of electrolytes include:
Electrolytes are mineral salts. Electrolytes ionize (non-science read : become a charged molecule) when dissolved in liquid.
The positive ions of the salt surround the negative ions of the water molecule. It creates a new structure with an electrical charge that is more absorbable for the body. (2)
Which basically means, electrolytes allow us to transmit nerve impulses, including the contraction or relaxation of muscles.
Each time your heart beats, an electrical impulse is allowing that action to occur.
Whew, good thing we have electrolytes!
When We Need Extra Electrolytes
When do we need a punch of extra electrolytes?
- Sweating a lot
If you're intensely exercising, working outside or in a hot warehouse or living in a hot climate, you will be losing electrolytes.
- Flu or sickness
If you have the stomach flu, or are having trouble keeping food down, you body may become depleted of minerals, including electrolytes.
- Low-carb diet
If you begin to follow a low-carb diet, you may experience a diuretic effect, which includes water loss and loss of electrolytes. (3)
Natural Electrolyte Sources
The most simple electrolyte is pure, unrefined salt.
Remember all that sweat? Well, that sweat is made up of a lot of water, sodium and chloride. Unprocessed salt replenishes electrolytes lost through sweat.
- Chloride (60%)
- Sodium (37.9%)
Simple salt adds:
- Add a pinch of Redmond's Real Salt or Himalayan pink salt or Celtic Sea Salt to your water.
- Add a pinch of salt to your meals or make your own sports drink.
Try avoiding table salt. It's heavily processed and void of those essential trace minerals.
2. Fresh coconut water
Coconut water is a rich, natural source of electrolytes and can be used to recover from strenuous exercise or sickness. Often called Nature's Gatorade, coconut water can help boost electrolyte and water absorption. When purchasing coconut water, be cautious of added sugars and funky ingredients.
Whether you're a hard-charging athlete, or just looking to absorb more water per sip, look to obtain electrolytes from natural sources!