Benefits of Electrolytes & How to Include Them in Your Diet
We’ve all seen the sports drink ads on tv. Amid the celebrity athletes and bright-colored beverages, they share a message boasting the benefits of their unique formulas, including electrolytes. Specifically, they claim that their drinks can boost athletic performance, but there’s more to it than that.
For some people, these commercials raise several questions: Are electrolytes real? Do I need electrolytes in my diet?
The answers, of course, are yes and yes.
Electrolytes aren’t just one of the many buzzwords that advertisers use to sell sports drinks. Nor are they strictly intended for the world’s greatest athletes. They play a critical role in your body’s functions regardless of whether you participate in sports or not.
Keep reading so that you can learn more about the benefits of these nutrients, including:
- What Are Electrolytes?
- Why Are Electrolytes Good?
- Does Water Have Electrolytes?
- Do You Need to Drink Supplements?
- Types of Electrolyte Supplements
What are Electrolytes?
They are essential minerals that produce an electrical energy charge when dissolved in water. While many electrolytes are found in various living systems, six are vital for humans, including sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.
When you consume these electrolytes, they enter your bodily fluids, which means they exit your body through sweat and urine. However, you can also lose them through vomiting and diarrhea.
If you lose too many, you risk an electrolyte imbalance that can cause severe or persistent symptoms. For that reason, you must understand the specific benefits that each mineral offers your body.
Electrolyte Benefits You Can Expect
What are electrolytes good for? The different electrolyte solution benefits are widespread as they play various roles in your body. Whether you’re recovering from a workout or the stomach flu, you stand to gain many health benefits from consuming these essential electrolytes. While each type of mineral plays a different role in your body’s function, you are sure to notice improvements in your performance, sleep, and digestion. Keep reading to learn more about electrolyte drink benefits.
Improved Muscle Function
Electrolytes play a critical role in your body’s muscle function, whether you are an athlete or not. The electrical conductivity of the electrolytes helps each muscle contract, including your heart!
They play an equally important role in muscle relaxation, however. Without the proper balance of electrolytes, you risk muscle cramps, which occur when the muscles fail to relax after a contraction.
If you want to get the most of these electrolyte water benefits, you will want to focus on calcium and magnesium supplementation. These two electrolytes are mostly responsible for your body’s ability to trigger muscle contractions.
Regulated Blood Pressure
As we briefly mentioned, electrolytes impact your heart’s ability to contract and pump blood. In turn, this can affect your body’s blood pressure. Studies have shown that an imbalance of electrolytes can make you more likely to have high blood pressure.
A lack of potassium and an abundance of sodium is typically the cause, and it stems from consuming too much sodium in your diet through salty foods. Fortunately, that imbalance is a relatively easy fix. You can simply cut back on salt and increase your potassium intake to decrease blood pressure which lowers your chance of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
Controlled Fluid Balance in Cells
Another one of the electrolyte supplements benefits is improved fluid balance. When you experience an imbalance in electrolytes, you could end up retaining too much fluid. As a result, you will look swollen or puffy. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough electrolytes, you could show signs of dehydration. This is because the ions help water pass through cells to get to your different organs, tissues, and cells.
Why is that so important? Do electrolytes hydrate you?
Not exactly, but they do aid in treating severe dehydration by making sure that you get the most out of the water you drink. Since your body weight consists of primarily water, it relies on water to function, but it isn’t always absorbed efficiently without electrolytes. When electrolytes help water move throughout your body, they ensure you stay hydrated so that everything works correctly. This includes your respiratory and digestive systems as well as how your body manages heat through body temperature regulation.
Balanced Blood pH
While it might be surprising to find out, electrolytes play a huge role in ensuring a proper pH balance in your bloodstream. As people, we love to eat acidic foods. Everything from grains and sugars to processed foods and certain dairy products has high acidity. Even fruits we deem healthy can be high in acid. When you consume too much acid in your diet, you increase the overall acidity in your body.
What does that mean?
You can end up with damaging acidosis. This condition leads to a loss of not just bone density but also muscle. One way you can prevent such damage is by consuming more potassium. These electrolytes help to stabilize your body’s pH level so that you don’t experience acidosis. Instead, you can preserve your lean muscle mass for better strength and stability.
What is Electrolyte Water?
You now know that electrolytes have to come from minerals dissolved in water. When the water breaks them down, they turn into electrically charged particles called ions. Though you can consume them through food, many people get their electrolytes through the water.
You might have seen a bottle of ionized water in a convenience store. That’s pretty much a fancy way of saying it contains electrolytes.
If you haven’t done much research on electrolyte-enhanced water, you might find yourself with a lot of questions like:
- Is electrolyte water worth it?
- Is electrolyte water good for you?
- Is it safe to drink electrolyte water daily?
- Does regular water have electrolytes?
Is Electrolyte Water Safe?
Yes! Are electrolytes good for you? That’s a different question, but the answer is still yes. Many doctors recommend electrolyte water to patients suffering from heat-related illnesses that may cause dehydration. However, there are limits to how much you should consume, as there are with most things.
Are electrolytes bad for you if you go overboard? Yes, you can overhydrate. If you consume an excessive amount of electrolyte-enhanced water, side effects of water intoxication could appear. However, you would have to consume a lot of water for that to happen, so for the average person, there is no risk in drinking those bottles of water.
Does All Water Have Electrolytes?
To determine whether the water is worth it, you must consider how much of your daily electrolyte intake you get elsewhere. Most people don’t realize it, but each time you take a sip of water, you are sure to be consuming trace amounts of electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, or calcium, to name a few.
So, does bottled water have electrolytes in it even if it’s not advertised as such? The answer is yes! Of course, it is hard to say how many electrolytes are in water because the concentration can vary so greatly. Are there electrolytes in tap water too? That’s another yes, and again, the concentrated electrolyte levels can vary from home to home, especially if you happen to have well water with naturally infused minerals.
Are Electrolyte Supplements Necessary?
If you are already getting electrolytes in drinking water and some foods, do you need electrolytes supplemented at all? The answer largely depends on your specific diet and how active you are. The average person will consume all of their electrolytes through their regular diet.
The length of your workout doesn’t matter as much as the intensity and the temperature. Suppose you are going for a leisurely three-hour hike in hot weather. Plain old water will keep you somewhat hydrated. However, those endurance athletes, who are pushing their bodies to the limits, can usually benefit from supplements.
Remember, most of your electrolytes are lost through body fluid, so if you are sweating excessively, you’ll want to do your best to replenish those lost electrolytes.
One exception to this rule would be anyone who is suffering from a stomach bug or any other illness that can lead to dehydration.
Types of Electrolyte Supplements
For those of you who fall under the categories that require electrolyte supplements, you might be wondering which products are best for you. After all, there are several from which you can choose, and all are claimed to be the best.
It often leaves consumers wondering, “Are electrolyte tablets safe? Do electrolyte powders work as well? What are the benefits of electrolytes in sports drinks?”
We know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the options, but we’re here to make the decision a little easier by comparing the different types of supplements, including:
- The benefit of electrolytes in sports drinks is that you don’t have to worry about mixing anything. The drinks are ready to drink, so you can easily take them on the go. The convenience of pre-mixing can be more costly and can be weight heavy, for anyone planning to carry them. Many of these products come with extra sweetener and artificial flavors.
- If you are looking for something that is a little more health-conscious, you might be interested in electrolyte tablets. Hydration tablets’ benefits include their convenient size and their perfectly balanced ingredients that you mix in your favorite water bottle. The one downside is that they might not have the best flavor, and sometimes it is hard to get them to dissolve entirely while on the move.
- What is electrolyte powder? Similar to the tablets, electrolyte powders must be mixed, but they are usually pre-measured into small packets you can fit in your pocket. All you have to do is follow the directions and mix them in an appropriately sized bottle. They are great for running because you can simply pour, shake, and go.
Examples of Electrolyte Powders
At Tailwind Nutrition, we offer two different kinds of electrolyte powders. One is focused more on providing you with hydration during endurance workouts, while the other aids your body in recovery. Regardless of whether you choose our Endurance Fuel or Recovery Mix, you are sure to enjoy the benefits.
Our powders come in two different packaging options. You can get up to a 50-serving bag if you want to order in bulk. The convenient little scoop makes it easy to measure the perfect amount every time. We also sell single-serving packets. These are great for runners who don’t want to carry a big bag and measure the powder on the go.
Not only do our products provide you with all the benefits of electrolytes in water, but they also use natural ingredients that are easy on your gut. You don’t have to compromise on taste, however. Our natural flavors provide you with a light, clean taste. We even offer caffeinated versions of our two popular products. They are great for athletes who need an extra boost of energy!
Since electrolytes play a crucial role in the human body and how it functions, we all must understand how they work and where they come from. Whether you’re training to run a marathon or simply want to educate yourself on the topic, we hope you are leaving here knowing:
- The Many Health Benefits of Electrolytes
- Electrolytes in Tap Water and Bottles
- Whether You Need to Supplement Your Body’s Electrolytes Supply
- The Different Types of Electrolyte Supplements
- Some of the Best Powder Electrolytes
If you want to enjoy the benefits of electrolyte substances in water, we encourage you to try out some of our convenient powders. Our products make hydration and electrolyte supplementation easier than ever. Not to mention, they taste good too! We offer several different flavors for both of our product lines, so we are confident that you’ll be able to find a formula you love.
To sample any of Tailwind Nutrition’s products, simply purchase one of our start packs from our bundles. We also sell individual servings of most of our powders so that you can make your own sample pack.