Electrolytes are minerals in your body that carry an electrical charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. The importance of electrolytes is that they are crucial to keeping your internal environment balanced and maintain homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the ability to maintain a constant internal environment in an organism as a response to environmental changes. For example, when you sweat, electrolytes are responsible for keeping water balanced inside and outside of your cells so that your muscles and organs work properly.
Electrolytes affect many important bodily functions. These include:
- Balancing your body’s acid/base (pH) level
- Moving nutrients into your cells
- Moving wastes out of your cells
- Making sure that your nerves, muscles, the heart, and the brain all work the way they should
The most important electrolytes include: Bicarbonate, Calcium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorous, and Magnesium. We ingest these minerals from the foods we eat and the fluids we drink. Fruits and vegetables are a good source for electrolytes.
The following common situations that can lead to an electrolyte imbalance include:
- Not drinking enough water. However, drinking too much water, especially in the absence of electrolytes. The amount of water that you take in should equal the amount you lose.
- Rapid fluid loss from diarrhea or vomiting.
- Kidney disease. Your kidneys regulate the concentration of electrolytes.
- Poor nutrition, not getting the essential minerals needed.
Bottom line, to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance stay hydrated and consume a nutrient rich diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Remember, low levels of electrolytes can negatively affect overall health. If you’ve had any issues with your electrolytes we would love to hear about it. Comment below. For more info see: What Are Electrolytes… And Why Are They So Important?