Many people are well aware of the importance of electrolytes, particularly in relation to staying hydrated during exercise.
Although sports drinks and electrolyte tablets can be an effective way to replace electrolytes lost in sweat, there are also fruits high in electrolytes that you can eat if you prefer to get natural electrolytes from food sources.
But what fruits have electrolytes? Are there fruits high in electrolytes, or is it better to have sports drinks or electrolyte beverages?
In this article, we will discuss the importance of electrolytes, the benefits of electrolytes in the body, and the best fruits with electrolytes to consume in your diet when you want to increase electrolytes naturally.
We will cover the following:
- What Are Electrolytes?
- What Do Electrolytes Do?
- How Much Of Each Electrolyte Do You Need?
- Top 11 Fruits With Electrolytes
Let’s dive in!
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals known as ions because they have either lost or gained electrons.
Electrolytes are found in body tissues, as well as fluids like blood, urine, and sweat.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the primary electrolytes that people should replace after exercise or balance in the body are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and phosphorus.
What Do Electrolytes Do?
Electrolytes play several important roles in the body, which is why replacing electrolytes lost in sweat is so important.
Functions of electrolytes in the body include:
- Maintaining optimal fluid/hydration levels
- Regulating ideal pH levels in the blood, urine, and body
- Conducting nerve impulses
- Initiating muscle contraction and relaxation
- Increasing the uptake of nutrients into cells
- Removing waste products from cells and shuttling them out
- Supporting protein and carbohydrate synthesis
- Maintaining heart contractions
- Supporting a variety of brain functions
How Much Of Each Electrolyte Do You Need?
The National Institutes of Health provide recommended electrolyte intakes for adults. However, your own personal electrolyte needs may be higher, especially if you sweat a lot and work out intensely.
Here are the recommendations for each electrolyte for general health:
- Sodium: Due to the association of sodium and hypertension, rather than a recommended minimum, there’s a recommended maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day (ideally), with a firm maximum of 2,300 mg.
- Potassium: The recommended intake is 3,400 milligrams (mg) for adult males and 2,600 mg for adult females daily.
- Calcium: The recommended intake is 1,000 mg for all adults aged 19–50 and males aged 51–70, while females aged 51 or over and males aged 71 and over should aim for 1,200 mg daily.
- Magnesium: The recommended intake is 400 mg for males aged 19–30 and 420 mg for males aged 31 and over. It is 310 mg for females aged 19–30 and 320 mg for females aged 31 and over.
- Phosphorus: The recommended intake is 700 mg for adults over the age of 18.
- Chloride: Due to the fact that nearly all dietary sources of chloride come from table salt (sodium chloride), the recommended intake for chloride is the same as sodium.
Top 11 Fruits With Electrolytes
So get ready to take note as we answer your question, “what fruits have electrolytes?”
When you are looking for how to get electrolytes naturally, fruits can be a great option.
Nearly all fruits provide some electrolytes, and certain ones contain all of the key electrolytes or an impressive amount of one or two electrolytes.
You can then replace or balance your electrolytes by pairing different fruits together or having fruits high in electrolytes with other natural food sources of electrolytes such as nuts and seeds, dairy products, vegetables, and eggs.
Although not an exhaustive list, here are some of the best fruits high in electrolytes:
Who doesn’t love a juicy slice of watermelon, especially on a hot summer day or after a sweaty workout?
Watermelon is composed of about 93% water, making it a great hydrating food after exercise or when you are dehydrated.
Additionally, it is also one of the fruits highest in electrolytes, adding to the hydrating power of watermelon.
One cup of watermelon provides about 1.5 mg of sodium, 170 mg of potassium, 15.2 mg of magnesium, 10.6 mg of calcium, and 16.7 mg of phosphorus.
Therefore, while watermelon is a food high in many key electrolytes, it is one of the best fruits with potassium in particular.
In addition to being one of the best fruits with electrolytes, watermelon has other healthy compounds such as lycopene (an antioxidant also high in tomatoes and guava), vitamins B1 and B6, L-citrulline, and L-arginine.
Lycopene has been shown to confer a variety of positive health benefits, namely protecting eye health and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Additionally, lycopene has been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men and cervical cancer in women.
L-citrulline and L-arginine are amino acids that can increase nitric oxide levels.
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, so eating foods that increase nitric oxide can reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health and function.
Bananas are known to be high in potassium. One medium banana provides 422 mg of potassium.
This high-potassium fruit also has 26 mg of phosphorus and about 32 mg of magnesium.
If you played team sports as a kid, such as soccer, you might fondly recall how oranges or orange slices were a common snack offered at halftime.
Soccer parents and coaches who were providing snacks during the game were onto something by providing this juicy fruit high in electrolytes.
Oranges provide hydrating fluids as well as lots of potassium and some calcium.
For example, one cup of oranges provides 326 mg of potassium, 72 mg of calcium, 18 mg of magnesium, and 25.2 mg of phosphorus.
As with other citrus fruits, oranges are also a good source of vitamin C which can help improve immune health and combat free radicals.
Fresh apricots are a good natural source of electrolytes, but dried apricots are an especially concentrated source of potassium; a half-cup has a whopping 1,101 mg.
Pomegranates are delicious fruits that are incredibly high in antioxidants such that they are often considered to be “superfruits.“
Pomegranates are also one of the best fruits high in electrolytes.
Pomegranates offer a good balance of all of the key electrolytes, and these fruits are especially rich in potassium and phosphorus.
One medium pomegranate provides 8.5 mg of sodium, 666 mg of potassium, about 34 mg of magnesium, 28.2 mg of calcium, and 102 mg of phosphorus.
In addition to being a good fruit with natural electrolytes, pomegranates provide folate, flavonoids, and other antioxidants that have been shown to help counteract free radicals and thus prevent oxidative damage.
Strawberries are known to be high in vitamin C, but this is also a fruit high in electrolytes such as potassium.
One cup of strawberries provides 233 mg of potassium, 20 mg of magnesium, 24 mg of calcium, and 36.5 mg of phosphorus.
#7: Tart Cherries
Although tart cherries are usually consumed as tart cherry juice or as tart cherry juice supplements rather than in their fruit form, they are still one of the best natural electrolyte sources.
This fruit is high in electrolytes such as potassium (268 mg) and calcium (25 mg), but there is also 4.7 mg of sodium, 23 mg of phosphorus, and 14 mg of magnesium.
Tart cherry juice may also reduce muscle soreness after exercise and improve sleep quality.
This tropical fruit is high in electrolytes like potassium; one cup has 257 mg.
This fruit is packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and electrolytes like potassium (950 mg) and magnesium (58 mg).
Many people turn to lemon water for weight loss, but this fruit also has small amounts of each of the key electrolytes, making lemon water a good hydrating drink.
Although cucumbers are often lumped in with vegetables, cucumber is technically a fruit because it develops from the flower of the plant.
Therefore, technically, cucumbers are one of the best fruits with electrolytes, but even if you prefer to think of cucumbers as a vegetable, they still certainly deserve mention as a great natural food source of electrolytes.
These fruits are high in potassium, and provide a small amount of the other essential electrolytes.
One medium cucumber provides 273 mg of potassium, 42.2 mg of phosphorus, a little more than 28 mg of calcium and 24 mg of magnesium, and just 4 mg of sodium.
If you decide that in addition to eating foods high in electrolytes, you also want to supplement your electrolytes with electrolyte drinks, check out our guide for how to make your own sports drinks high in electrolytes here.