As kids, you probably never questioned why orange slices were served during your volleyball games — while the sweetness was always a treat, the point was to boost electrolytes.
Now, a Gatorade may be your go-to for replenishing electrolytes, but according to Victoria Nieveen, RD, a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine, foods containing sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, or phosphorus could also do the trick.
When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, which can help regulate the movement of water in and out of your body's cells to maintain fluid balance. They also help with muscle contraction and maintain blood pressure, Nieveen explained.
"It's important to restore these micronutrients because, without proper replacement, muscle cramps, headaches, muscle fatigue, and dizziness are common symptoms," she said.
These uncomfortable side effects can be easily avoided thanks to the following electrolyte-boosting snacks — Nieveen recommends stashing them in your gym bag for after your workout.
Salted Almonds With Unsweetened Dried Fruit
Easy for on-the-go snacking, almonds provide calcium and magnesium, while salt provides sodium and chloride, Nieveen explained. Add in the unsweetened dried fruit as a rich source of potassium, and to whip up a simple and sweet trail mix, she said.
Sliced Avocado With Salt and Lime Juice
One-hundred grams (about half a cup) of organic avocado has 507 mg of potassium compared to 100 g (one small) banana having 358 mg — so by all means, Nieveen suggested, throw together and enjoying some homemade guac!
Tomato Juice or Tomato Soup
No, soup doesn't travel well in a gym bag, but it's a great Winter snack that's high in potassium, Nieveen said. Adding organic bone broth to your at-home tomato soup recipe will help add extra electrolyte-boosting minerals. Tomato juice will get the job done, too, and it's a little more practical for travel.
Coconut water isn't rich in sodium — which Nieveen explained is most lost when we sweat — but you can benefit from its high levels of potassium. Skip the sugary sports drinks, and stick to this equally delicious and healthy option instead.
Baked Potato or Acorn Squash
Nieveen suggests adding a baked potato or acorn squash to your lunch as a great source of potassium. Sprinkle on some Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to replace the sodium and chloride lost during your morning sweat.