When we think of electrolytes, it's often in the form of a bottle of a sports energy drink after a hard workout or drinking a rehydration beverage when we're sick. Those are great methods for hydration, but keeping your electrolytes balanced is also a way to support your heart's health and well-being.
Here are five electrolytes that have been shown to boost heart health -- no blue liquid required:
1. Calcium regulates and maintains heart rhythm and blood pressure. Foods high in calcium include dairy, dark leafy greens like spinach or kale, beans, seeds, whole grains, canned fish, and fruits and vegetables like oranges, figs and broccoli.
2. Chloride prevents irregular heartbeat and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and stroke. Additionally, chloride helps to maintain fluid balance in the body, which can help reduce the risk of fluid retention and swelling. Additionally, it aids digestion and helps absorb other electrolytes like calcium and potassium. Good sources of chloride include seaweed, olives, celery, tomatoes, lettuce and kelp.
3. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, heartbeat and inflammation. Additionally, magnesium helps keep arteries flexible, preventing damage to their walls and helping to prevent clots. Foods rich in magnesium include dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, bananas, yogurt, salmon and dark chocolate.
4. Potassium helps regulate heart muscle and nerve function. Potassium reduces the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. It is also thought to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of arrhythmias. Potassium is found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, fish and whole grains. Also, it can be taken as a supplement or added to foods and drinks. To get enough potassium in your diet, include foods rich in this mineral daily. Good sources of potassium include bananas, oranges, spinach, potatoes, avocados, tuna, salmon, lentils and low-fat dairy.
5. Sodium. While that may sound counterintuitive to heart health, salt in moderation has some benefits. This electrolyte helps maintain healthy cell and nerve function, regulates the amount of water stored in the body and can improve circulation. It is important to maintain a healthy balance of sodium intake by consuming foods naturally rich in sodium, such as celery, olives, beets, seaweed and nuts. Remember, too much sodium can increase blood pressure and put you at risk for heart attack and stroke.
Just remember to talk to your physician before starting any new supplements.
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About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital
Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.