Runners all need it. Hydration meaning water to refuel and get those muscles moving again. But there is another way to look for better hydration and that is following the balance of sodium-potassium for refueling before and after running.
Sodium and potassium are the two most important electrolytes in the body, they work together to maintain fluid balance in cells, blood plasma, and extracellular fluid. Potassium is found inside cells and sodium is the main electrolyte in extracellular fluid. As an athlete you don’t have to know the whole electrolyte biochemistry but you should have a basic understanding as to how this certain type of balance is critical for better hydration.
Potassium: a recommended intake is about 4.7 grams or 4,700 milligrams. We as humans have evolved on a high-potassium diet full of plant foods. Most of potassium is lost in urine and very little in sweat.
Sodium: A minimum intake of sodium is about 180 milligrams a day however an excess of sodium intake can raise blood pressure so the amount to take would be about 2/3rds teaspoon of salt. Its lost in urine and sweat. The more salt you eat, the more sodium in your sweat.
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Depending on your activity level as an athlete, your primary focus should be on high potassium foods. Muscle function, bone strength, and nerve signaling all depend on potassium. Potassium coming from plant foods is the best form so here’s a list of some of the several high potassium foods you should try everyday.
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Oranges and orange juice
- Soy beans, tofu and edamame
- Legumes and refried beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Greens, such as spinach, kale and beet greens
- Whole grain foods
- Other fruits and vegetables