Organic electrolytes are electrically charged particles that help ensure proper bodily functions. These electrolytes are major components of essential nutritional minerals found in foods.
Minerals are nutrients from the soil and water that find their ways into our body through the foods we eat, and are essential to keep all our body systems and processes healthy. We need major minerals in large quantities, while other minerals are only required in trace amounts. Minerals help to keep the heart pumping, send messages along the nerves and deliver vital oxygen to every cell in the body. They also make up the bones, teeth, skin, hair, nails and red blood cells. The most familiar types include potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine. Potassium and sodium promote water balance in your body; calcium and magnesium allow your muscles to relax and contract, iron forms the major component of hemoglobin for blood cells formation and iodine is most essentially needed for optimal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones. On daily basis, people lose so much electrolytes through sweat-spending time in hot weather or exercising intensely, and also while engaging in highly brain-stressful and thought-demanding multitasking jobs which increase the rate of brain chemicals consumption, hence the need for these nutrients for replenishment. A variety of healthy foods can help you meet your daily electrolyte needs.
Potassium is a major mineral that helps your body fluids stay balanced, releases energy from food and keeps your heart, muscles and nerves healthy.
The standard recommended intake of potassium for adults ages 19 and older is 4.7 grams, or 4,700 milligrams, per day. “Very good” potassium sources, which contain 300 or more milligrams per serving, include, low-fat milk, meat, nuts, fish, soybeans, kale, dates, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, kiwi, prunes, apricots and citrus fruits. Also, yogurt, cantaloupe, apricots, prunes, raisin, poultry and edible mushrooms. One medium to large banana provides 450 to 600 milligrams.
Like other electrolytes, sodium is essential. Consuming too much, however, increases your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Because most foods naturally contain sodium, deficiencies are rare. If you’ve lost sodium through heavy perspiration or other means of fluid loss, such as vomiting or diarrhea, eating sodium-rich foods is important. For moderate amounts of sodium, consume low-fat milk, yogurt, whole-wheat bread, eggs, edible mushrooms etc all of which provide between 100 and 200 milligrams per serving. Most fresh fruits, juices and vegetables contain less than 50 milligrams per serving. Canned and processed foods are high in sodium because of the preservatives, but generally less nutritious than whole foods.
Adults, age 19 to 50 should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. In addition to functioning as an electrolyte, calcium promotes strong, healthy bones. This major mineral is needed for heart function, muscle contraction and transmitting nerve impulses. Calcium also helps to form your bones and teeth. A deficiency can lead to weak and brittle bones, dry skin, abnormal heart rate and depression. Dairy products are top calcium contributors. One cup of low-fat yogurt provides 415 milligrams of calcium, and nonfat milk provides 299 milligrams per cup. Dairy products also contain vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Nondairy calcium sources include fortified orange juice, which provides 375 milligrams per cup; sardines, which provide 315 milligrams per 3 ounces; and tofu, which provides 250 milligrams per half-cup, fortified cereals, edible mushrooms etc. Green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, contain moderate amounts of calcium.
As an electrolyte, magnesium supports muscle and nerve function. It also contributes to strong immune system function and bone health. Eating a broad variety of nuts, whole grains, legumes and vegetables can help you meet your magnesium requirement, which is 300 milligrams per day for women ages 31 and up. One-quarter cup of wheat bran, 1 ounce of roasted almonds and 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provide roughly 80 to 90 milligrams of magnesium. Raisin bran cereal, cashews, mixed nuts and bran flakes provide about 65 to 75 milligrams per serving. Other valuable sources include oatmeal, peanut butter, potatoes, lentils and edible mushrooms.
Iodine is a mineral you need in very small amounts, although it is essential for healthy thyroid function. Iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones, which play a critical role in growth and development, brain function, food metabolism and reproduction. The World Health Organization notes that almost 2 billion people worldwide have iodine deficiency, leading to conditions such as mental retardation, deafness, goiter, hypothyroidism and short stature. The Institute of Medicine advises that you get at least 150 micrograms in your diet per day. The main source of iodine is ocean salts; you can also get it from fish, crayfish, lobsters, prawn, crab, shellfish, seaweed, milk, eggs and drinking water.
Iron is a trace mineral found in your red blood cells, DNA and the myoglobin fibers of your muscles. It is needed to carry oxygen to every cell in your body, maintain healthy muscle function and burn stored energy. There are two types of iron found in foods. Heme – iron from meat, fish, poultry, eggs and liver is absorbed at a rate of about 35 percent by your body, while nonheme – iron from plant sources such as beans, spinach, lentils, dried fruit and whole grains is absorbed at a rate of only 2 to 20 percent, reports the University of Rochester Medical Center. The recommended daily dose for women is 18 milligrams and is most recommended just before or during menstruation.