What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “electrolyte”? For me, it’s Gatorade, Nuun Tablets, and hydration. But did you know that you don’t always have to to drink electrolytes to keep your body in balance? According to certified nutritionist Serena Poon, most people can maintain and replenish electrolytes through a healthy, balanced diet filled with all the best foods with electrolytes.
And, surprisingly, the best foods with electrolytes aren’t even random, little-known foods. Chances are, if you regularly eat vegetables, fruits, and legumes, you’ve protected your electrolyte balance. Personally, I bet you’ll recognize all of the 20 best foods with electrolytes on this list. (But if you live under a rock and have never heard of chia seeds, that’s what you need.) So the next time you think of using that sports drink, come back to the post. this and prepare a meal rich in electrolytes instead.
Featured image of Michelle Nash
What exactly are electrolytes? Why are they so important to our body?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that help with many bodily functions, including fluid balance, hydration, muscle contraction, and nerve function. If you eat a diet rich in vegetables and legumes, you can get enough electrolytes from your food. However, if you are dehydrated, either from vomiting, diarrhea, strenuous exercise or heat exposure, it is important to replenish your body’s electrolytes to maintain optimal health. Electrolytes to consider include sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Is there a difference in eating versus drinking electrolytes?
Most people can replenish their electrolytes by eating whole foods rich in these minerals. If you are an athlete or are dehydrated due to illness, it may be beneficial to supplement with an electrolyte beverage. Keep in mind that many electrolyte drinks can contain a lot of added sugar and may not be the best choice for people who are not overexerting themselves.
What are your electrolyte dietary recommendations and why?
There are many great plant foods for electrolytes. Again, unless you’re an athlete or are dehydrated due to illness, eating whole foods rich in these minerals is a great way to replenish. Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods supports health in a number of ways including providing antioxidants, polyphenols, a range of vitamins and minerals, and fiber.
Foods rich in potassium include:
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Foods rich in calcium include:
- dairy foods
- green vegetable leaves
Try to get your sodium from high-quality salts, such as:
- Himalayan pink salt
- sea salt
Note: Avoid processed foods, which tend to be high in sodium and other inflammatory ingredients. Most Americans consume an ample amount of sodium during the day. In fact, many people tend to consume more than the recommended daily amount (less than 2,300 mg). The only time it really makes sense to add sodium is if you’re trying to replenish electrolytes after intense exercise or are sick with dehydration.
Read on for more on the best foods with electrolytes, along with the most delicious ways to eat them.
Recipe: Spinach and Ricotta Pizza with Aromatic Olive Oil
Pizza is good for health? It’s not oxymoron, and no, you certainly aren’t dreaming.
Recipe: Chopped Kale Salad with Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette
Despite its good qualities, kale can still be an important ingredient in many delicious salads. Case in point, this colorful and crunchy delight.
Recipe: Spicy Chili Lime Miso Broccoli
CS food editor, Suruchi Avasthi, proudly admits to having eaten this broccoli straight out of the pan. Nine times out of ten, I can guarantee it will run out before it can even reach your plate.
Recipe: Yogurt Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana
Like the viral TikTok recipe, it contains only potassium — and about a million times better.
Recipe: Chaat Masala Citrus Salad
Don’t quote me on it, but I’m pretty sure this is the salad they were referring to when the phrase “eat the rainbow” was coined.
Recipe: Watermelon Tomato Caprese Salad
While thick slices of watermelon are *exactly* what we all want to eat on a hot summer day, this sweet and savory salad makes things a little more enjoyable — and packed with nutrients. Nutrition becomes 100% desirable.
Recipe: Bruschetta with slow-roasted tomatoes and Ricotta
When tomatoes are baked on low and slow speed in the oven, amazing things happen. And by pretty things, I mean of course this absolutely delicious toast.
Recipe: Avocado Toast with Kale and Crispy Vegetables
Far from basic, this twist on the classic millennial is full of texture, flavor, and potassium.
Recipe: Easy Black Bean Soup
Everyone’s favorite zesty comfort food, reimagined with ease.
Recipe: Black lentil salad with grilled vegetables & goat cheese
Sweet and caramelized roasted vegetables along with some delicious goat cheese give the lentils the glow we all crave.
Recipe: Baked Banana Cashew Oatmeal One Bowl
Tired of the same old breakfast dishes? Baking your tried-and-true oatmeal makes it a crowd-pleasing brunch. A winning meal.
Recipe: Healthy Almond Snack
While we all love a delicious and sugary dessert from time to time, sometimes our sweet tooth needs nothing more than a dash of fruity, vanilla flavor to feel full. Enter: truffle-like bites.
Recipe: Sunshine Detox Salad
Crispy veggies and crunchy sunflower seeds are a great summer salad combo.
Recipe: Passion Fruit Chia Pudding
Upgrade your chia pudding on standby by adding sweet and sour passion fruit.
Recipe: Spicy Peanut Brussels Sprout Tacos
I love to come across a vegetarian meal that is brightly colored and full of flavor. These banh tet may be meatless, but trust me: your taste buds will thank you.
Recipe: Shredded Kale & Cranberry Salad with Deep-Fried Tofu
To quote Camille: “If only every kale salad were this good.”
Recipe: Minced Strawberries and Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is the perfect base for thyme strawberries.
Recipe: Haldhi Doodh Cream
With cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom pods as the base of this recipe, one thing’s for sure: you’ve never eaten ice cream like this.
Recipe: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Whipped Feta and Hot Honey
Sweet potatoes + feta lighter than air + sweet and spicy honey = a trio of ingredients for the book.
Recipe: Lassi Sweet and salty mango
Mango Lassis is the best (re: tastiest) way to cool off next summer, and with a dash of sea salt added to the mix, even the hottest days will have something to look forward to.
Which electrolyte supplement recipe would you try first?