Summer has us out and about more, especially after being inside most of 2020! Spending time outside in the sun and heat can put us at risk for dehydration. However, just drinking water may not be the solution.

Having proper hydration does not include just having enough water, but having enough electrolytes in our body as well. Our kidneys excrete water and electrolytes, so it’s important to replace electrolytes as well! The main electrolytes in our body are sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Having low electrolytes can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue and weakness.

We get our electrolytes from food. The Standard American Diet typically have high levels of electrolytes (ie high sodium). If you’re eating mostly whole foods or low carb, you may not be getting electrolytes in your diet.

Contrary to what we’ve heard, we don’t need to drink Gatorade to replenish our electrolytes. It has added unnecessary sugar. This bottle of Gatorade has 34 grams of sugar – about the same amount of sugar in a can of Coke!

Notice the second ingredient in Gatorade after water – SUGAR!

Here are some foods rich in electrolytes to start incorporating into your lifestyle:

Potassium Rich Foods:
Sweet potatoes (1 cup = 950mg)
Salmon (1/2 filet = 772 mg) – I eat at least once a week.
Spinach (1 cup = 11mcg)
Avocado (1/2 = 488mg) – my favorite!

Magnesium Rich Foods:
Spinach (157mg per cup) – double duty
Summer squash (43mg per cup)
Sunflower seeds (114mg per cup)
Black beans (120mg per cup)

For Sodium, most whole foods are actually lower in sodium. If you are eating unprocessed, whole foods then salting your foods will help maintain your sodium levels. When I need a pick me up during the day and don’t want coffee, I will make lemon water and put a few shakes of salt to sip on. It helps me stay hydrated and energized.

We hope this was useful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or Dr. Le or Dr. Chau!