Unless you live in a stable (boring?) climate like Southern California, each season brings with it different climates and, thus, a different set of local fruits and vegetables. You may have been enjoying your springtime greens and strawberries for the past few months, but now it’s time to switch up your diet and include something new.
Given that contain five key electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride) in the same ratio that the body loses through sweat, we know the science behind salts! Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of electrolytes, and we thought we would highlight our favorites during the summer.
Electrolytes: Like most fruits and vegetables, grapefruit contains potassium, which is critical to your body’s ability to maintain blood pressure and regulate muscle contractions. It’s also important for balancing out sodium in your body’s ratio of electrolytes, given that most of us consume too much sodium in our diets.
Other vitamins: Grapefruit is a powerhouse when it comes to Vitamin A and Vitamin C, with one serving packing in 28 percent and 64 percent of your daily needs, respectively.
Add it to your diet: We understand if you find grapefruit hard to stomach by itself. Unlike most of its citrus cousins, grapefruits are not incredibly sweet, partly due to , a sulfur-containing, which influences its distinct taste. Add grapefruit to salads and breakfast smoothies, allowing other strong-tasting foods (like arugula or banana) to compete with the strong grapefruit taste. Note that grapefruit can enhance the bioavailability of certain medications, so if you take any prescription medication, check if there is a known interaction before indulging in grapefruit!
Electrolytes: As about before, legumes are excellent sources of magnesium. This important and often-forgotten nutrient helps the body utilize calcium and keeps muscles relaxed, which helps prevent cramps. Just one serving of peas provides nearly 15 percent of your daily magnesium needs. Peas also contain potassium and calcium.
Other vitamins: With about 120 calories per serving, peas make an excellent addition to any meal, especially because they pack in 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. Coupled with the plethora of B-vitamins and iron, peas will keep you feeling energized all day.
Add them to your diet: Peas make great additions to stir fry dishes or pasta, but they can hold their own as a side dish as well. Try this or .
Electrolytes: Watermelon is a great source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It’s low in calories because it's mostly made of water (thus the name). This makes it an effective rehydration tool and has earned it a spot , along with bananas and potatoes.
Other vitamins: Watermelon contains a healthy dose of lycopene, which has possible anti-cancer and skin-protective qualities. Lycopene is also believed to help reduce the effects of sun burn, so stock up if you’re planning on lots of outdoor summer training.
Add it to your diet: Watermelon makes a great addition to salads. It’s also delicious by itself! Cut watermelon into large wedges and share them around the table for a tasty (and hydrating) dessert.
Electrolytes: Peaches contain moderate amounts of potassium and magnesium, both of which are important to the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure and muscle contractions.
Other vitamins: Peaches are also good sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which are just two of many antioxidants and phytochemicals that the body uses to ward off cancer and free-radical damage caused by stress.
Add them to your diet: Peaches are easily enjoyed by themselves, but they make great bases for pre/post-workout smoothies! They’re also tough enough to stand up to a grill (and trust us, is delicious!)
Electrolytes: Cherries are strong sources of magnesium, calcium and potassium (starting to see a trend here?) Cherries are very sweet, due to their high sugar content, but the simple sugars make them a great addition to any post-workout meal.
Other vitamins: Cherries’ rich red colour comes from anthocyanins—the antioxidants found in grapes (and red wine)—that inhibit enzymes associated with inflammation, and may help soothe soreness linked to muscle and joint pain. Sounds like what you would want right after a long run! Cherries are also one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body regulate circadian rhythms.
Add them to your diet: Add cherries to cocktails, salads or starchy dishes, . Cherries also taste great when added to breakfast cereal or oatmeal. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and you’ve got some comfort food on your hands!
Electrolytes: Despite only containing about 30 calories per serving, okra packs an electrolyte punch! Just one cup of okra contains nearly 15 percent of your magnesium needs, 10 percent of your calcium needs and 10 percent of your potassium needs.
Other vitamins: Like peas, okra contains several B vitamins and high amounts of iron, which are both crucial to your body’s ability to metabolize food into energy.
Add it to your diet: The most popular ways to consume okra include fried okra and gumbo. While the is okay, we recommend baking okra (coated lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper) as an alternative to frying it. Forty minutes at 475°, and you’re set!
7. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Electrolytes: Yukon potatoes contain moderate amounts of calcium and potassium. They are one of the few vegetables to contain sodium.
Other vitamins: Yukon potatoes have high amounts of iron and Vitamin C. They also contain large amounts of simple carbohydrates, so you’ll want to avoid eating them too long after a workout. However, if you cover them in olive oil and rosemary and bake them, they make a great side dish to a protein-based meal.
Add them to your diet: Yukon potatoes are best served as a side dish. Aside from baking them, you can grill or boil them. Add salt and pepper, garlic, or Cajun spices for some kick.
This post is part of our #30SaltyDays summer campaign, in which we hope to educate YOU about the benefits and science behind electrolytes. Follow the campaign with the hashtag #30SaltyDays on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the SaltStick blog. We’re offering our brand new product, SaltStick FASTCHEWS, as a giveaway for participants. More information here: http://bit.ly/1Rz0avu.