What You Need to Know about Electrolytes

electrolytesYou may have heard about electrolytes, but do you really know what they are? Electrolytes are often discussed when it comes to athletes and gym-goers and are the selling factor behind popular sports drinks. But if you aren’t an athlete, do you still need electrolytes?

Electrolytes aren’t just found in supplements and sports drinks – they’re also naturally occurring in bananas and sweet potatoes. When electrolytes enter your body, they help balance water levels in the body along with helping your cells function properly.


Electrolytes also help us stay hydrated. We lose a lot of electrolytes and water when we sweat, and when we’re short of electrolytes, it becomes challenging to retain water in the body.

As you can see, electrolytes are pretty important, regardless of your athletic status. The good news is that obtaining enough electrolytes is basically like obtaining enough oxygen, we simply get enough without working too hard for it. As long as you’re well hydrated and eating balanced meals, you most likely have a good number of electrolytes in your body.

We come to a problem when we sweat excessively, either through exercise or simply being outdoors on a hot day without replenishing electrolytes. In situations like this, the sports drinks come in handy to keep a good balance of electrolytes. The downside to many of these sports drinks is that they tend to be high in sugar, so try and purchase options with lower sugar in them or use sugar alternatives.

If sports drinks aren’t your thing, then consuming chocolate milk, watermelon, avocado, bananas, beets, oranges, and almonds are all good sources of electrolytes.

Signs that you may need more electrolytes are similar to that of dehydration, because if you’re dehydrated, then you’re most likely low in electrolytes. This means you will feel dizzy, have a headache, your urine will be dark, your heart rate increases, and may be fatigued. Hydrate as soon as possible or seek out medical attention.

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.