A hot summer day is here and out of nowhere your ankles are suddenly puffy and your fingers like sausages. This short-term minor imbalance does not usually warrant extreme caution, but it is a sign that we should pay attention to.
Common causes include not being well-climatized for a hot day, or you simply spending a lot of time in the sun. (Summer is usually a culprit for this!) The body is notable for keeping itself in homeostasis (a state of balance) in many ways. One of these key ways is through the balance of electrolytes which include the minerals Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium and Sodium. Here is what can happen when we experience an imbalance of the electrolytes:
It may seem odd to think that dehydration is related to retaining water. However, it makes sense for cell salvation. Cells are aware of danger and go into a ‘water starvation’ mode, hanging onto what’s around them, not letting go and thus retaining water.
The 3 main electrolytes that are involved in fluid balance are sodium, chloride (sodium and chloride are often found together as table salt) and potassium. These are commonly found in sport supplementation drinks. The addition of salt and sugar in these drinks help with the co-absorption of sodium and glucose which takes place in the colon. The increase in minerals into the gut results in the reabsorption of water at the same time. This is important to prevent the loss of large amounts of water into the feces, causing dehydration and diarrhea. Potassium on the other hand helps with sodium exchange, keeping the important balance of electrolytes between cells.
Overhydration is possible and has some of the similar signs as dehydration which can lead to potentially severe consequences.Here are a few mindful guidesfor water intake that can help with water and electrolyte balance!:
Including electrolytes can help with dehydration or overhydration and managing mild symptoms such as bloating or puffiness.However, if you have more severe signs (vomiting, diarrhea, fever, confusion, seizures), please SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.
While most of the water we get comes from our beverages, about 20% also comes from the food we eat! Here are some ways to balance your electrolytes in addition to supplementation or sports drinks :
Eat high water content foods such as cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes and or strawberries. These have a very high water content and will have some electrolytes too.
Now you have an easy/adaptable recipe for good hydration!
Mikkie Nettles, Certified Personal Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
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