Food and Nutrition Friday: Electrolyte Food Sources
Electrolytes play several important roles in the body, but most of them are responsible for maintaining the balance of fluid between the intracellular (inside the cell) and extracellular (outside the cell) environments. Hydration, nerve impulses, muscle function, and pH levels all depend on this balance.
With the correct body water balance, the electrolytes separate into positive and negative ions. As a result of water loss or dehydration, an electrolyte imbalance can develop in the body.
In diabetes, electrolyte imbalance results primarily from elevated blood glucose. The body tries to eliminate excess glucose by increasing urination, which causes water loss and electrolyte imbalance. Particularly disturbed is the balance between sodium and potassium.
Electrolyte imbalance causes headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and irritability.
The body seeks to compensate for the reduced availability of glucose by providing an alternative energy source, in this case fatty acids, which are less efficient energy producers. The breakdown of fatty acids can produce a substance called ketones, which can upset the acid/base ratio in the body, resulting in a potentially lethal condition known as ketoacidosis (not to be confused with ketosis)
These are the seven major electrolytes:
Most people are able to get the electrolytes they need through food alone, however, if you're sweating heavily due to high temperatures or exercising, you're more likely to dehydrate. Electrolytes may then need to be replaced. Even though water hydrates, it contains no electrolytes (unless you add salt or sugar).
Throughout the years, sports drinks have been popular due to their promise of providing electrolytes. However, most do not provide the amount of electrolytes needed, as well as being loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Simple Homemade Electrolyte Drink:
The best way to get electrolytes in your diet is to consume fruits and vegetables.
A Few Great Food Sources of Electrolytes
🔹Green leafy vegetables
Source: Diabetes Daily