Electrolytes are very essential for our body to function properly. You may be subjected to various disorders in case of electrolyte imbalance. The following NutriNeat article will tell you about the sources of electrolytes.
An electrolyte separates into ions on dissolution, and they make the fluid in which they dissolve electrically conductive. Thus, they help in conduction of electrical signals; these electrical signals are necessary for the activities of our brain and our nervous system. When our body loses electrolytes, it is necessary to replenish our body with the electrolytes in appropriate amounts. Electrolyte imbalances lead to various disorders, which may also become life-threatening, if adequate measures are not taken. The problem of electrolyte imbalance is generally solved through diet. Salt tablets are also used in case of electrolyte deficiency, but they are also known to cause various side effects. Thus, the safest way to treat electrolyte imbalance is through your diet.
Sources of Electrolytes
It is important that we maintain optimum balance of electrolytes. The excess as well as the lack of electrolytes may disrupt the proper functioning of our body. Sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphate, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonate are the major electrolytes in our body.
Sodium: Sodium resides outside the cells in the body. It is required for maintaining a normal blood pressure and also for the activities of the nerves and muscles. The following are the sources of sodium.
|Sauces and seasonings||Chickpeas|
Note: Excessive sodium in the body may lead to hypernatremia and lack of sodium causes hyponatremia.
Calcium: Bones are the calcium reserves. Calcium is an important electrolyte which helps in muscle contraction. Calcium is used to build bones and teeth. The following are the dietary sources of calcium:
|Milk chocolate||Turnip greens|
Note: Deficiency of calcium leads to hypocalcemia, whereas high levels of calcium lead to hypercalcemia.
Potassium: It is the main cation. It is responsible for maintaining optimum balance of sodium. It primarily works with the muscles and plays an important role in the functioning of the heart. It also reduces the blood pressure. Its sources are as follows:
|Peanuts||Low fat yogurt|
Note: Hypokalemia and hyperkalemia are caused in case of low and high potassium levels, respectively.
Phosphate: Phosphate is present in the bones along with calcium. They are anions and they make the cell membranes electrically charged. ATP, DNA and RNA have phosphate contained in them. The following foods are the sources of phosphate:
Note: Deficiency and excess of phosphate causes hypophosphatemia and hyperphosphatemia, respectively.
Magnesium: Magnesium supports the normal blood circulation. Nerve and muscle relaxation is provided by it. It also helps in the bone formation along with calcium and phosphorus. Following are the sources of magnesium:
|Buckwheat flour||Condensed milk|
Note: Elevated levels of magnesium lead to hypermagnesemia, while magnesium deficiency causes hypomagnesemia.
Chlorine and Bicarbonate are the other electrolytes. Chlorine and sodium together form salt. Thus, they are available in majority of the foods in the form of salt. Spring water is a good source of bicarbonate. Bicarbonates are also contained in foods that have compounds like sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is useful for maintaining optimum pH levels in the stomach.
Apart from the above mentioned sources, various sports drinks contain the essential electrolytes. All the important biochemical reactions in the body need electrolytes. We lose a great amount of electrolytes through sweat, and hence, appropriate replacement for these electrolytes should be provided through our diet.