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Where Are Electrolytes Found?

By Brian Connolly

Electrolytes—mineral substances that conduct electricity—are essential for bodily functions, including muscle contractions, blood pressure, and nerve functions. (Reference 1). Endurance athletes need to pay special care to restore the supply of electrolytes in their bodies. One of the simplest ways to do so is by eating foods and drinks with high contents of electrolytes found in the body, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. (Reference 1)

Sodium

Drinking too many fluids during long races, such as a marathon, can lead to exercise-induced hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition brought on by low sodium levels. (Reference 6) The key to preventing this condition: eat foods that are high in sodium. Although sports drinks or salty junk foods contain plenty of sodium, healthier items—such as a bagel with peanut butter or a salty broth—provide both nutritional benefit and the sodium stores needed to help the body stay hydrated and energized. (Reference 2)

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