Electrolytes > Heat Wave

waterBy Brandy Neth-Aranjo

There are many ways to beat the scorching heat this summer, but my two favorite ways are 1) stay inside with the A.C. running or 2) rent an amazing B&B on the coast and escape for a few days.

I’ve experienced both so far this summer and I loved every second of it. I use my time inside to catch up on Game of Thrones and watch marathons of Star Wars (for some mindless fun, of course.) And what’s better than hikes and picnics by the coast… oh, the joys of the sizzling summer.

As we all know, staying healthy and hydrated during this extreme heat is absolutely imperative. We’ve all heard about the importance of drinking water, water and more water… but sometimes WATER isn’t enough to keep us properly hydrated.

So, what else is just as important as water when speaking of hydrating our body? ELECTROLYTES.

Ahhh…. So you’ve heard of electrolytes, have you? Well let me tell you exactly what electrolytes are, and exactly HOW they keep us hydrated.

Simply put, or body is made of carefully balanced cells, tissues and fluids. Electrolytes are salts that keep this balance constant. Our cells, tissues, and fluids thrive in a balanced environment where they conduct electricity to carry the signals to their intended destinations.

There are several common electrolytes found in the body and each serve a very specific role. Most electrolytes are in some part responsible for maintaining the balance of fluids between the inside of the cell and the outside, which has a direct effect on hydration, pH levels, nerve impulse and muscle contractions. Two very important electrolytes are sodium and potassium. Both of these electrolytes are in charge of controlling the total amount of water in the body and maintaining muscle and nerve functions.

So, basically, no matter how much water we drink, if our electrolytes are NOT maintaining balance in the cells and tissues, dehydration is still possible.

Keep in mind that we lose a large amount of electrolytes through urine and sweat, so on the extra hot and active days, PLEASE  be mindful of your electrolyes as well as water. Remember that there are many options to choose from besides the sugar infused sports drinks. When drinks are served in colors such as blue and green… are they really considered food?

Dehydration Symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Impaired Memory
  • Constipation

Healthy Sources of Electrolytes

  • Dark leafy greens (spinach contains large amounts of minerals)
  • Beans (Lima, red, mung, white and pinto beans are the highest in mineral-rich electrolytes)
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Coconut Water (one of my personal favorites. When a headache creeps up, coconut water is the first thing I grab because I have no time to be in pain)

So, continue to drink all your water, partake in electrolytes to keep balanced and stay cool this summer. (On a side note, the chocolate coconut water is quite a refreshing treat!)

 

 

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