We all know that we lose electrolytes and water very quickly while we are dancing. This is made even worse when you factor in the heat, the large crowds, drinking alcohol/caffeine, etc. One of the best ways to make sure that you are able to keep dancing the night away is to make sure that you are well nourished with whole foods. I know that we don’t always have time to eat a full meal before a show, or we don’t want to go dancing on a full stomach. However, there are several ways to get all the nutrients you need quickly without feeling bloated.
Here are the 5 most common electrolytes lost while you are dancing and 26 light snacks that will help keep you going all night:
- Sodium – As simple as it sounds, salt is lost quicker than anything when we sweat. Sodium helps the body retain water and is essential to life. Don’t restrict your intake of table salt before a show.
- Chloride – The second most lost electrolyte in sweat is chloride. Chloride helps regulate blood volume, blood pressure, and body fluid pH levels. While chloride is found in table salt, you can help replenish chloride with whole food sources such as olives, seaweed, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery.
- Potassium – Potassium is a key mineral for muscle contraction. It also helps regulate blood pressure, supports healthy cells and heart, prevents kidney stones, and helps prevent bone loss. Foods enriched with potassium include fruit sources such as banana, dates, raisins, coconut, and avocados. There are also several vegetable sources including spinach, kale, beans, lentils, peas, and potatoes.
- Calcium – Calcium is essential to bone health and helps your heart, muscles, and nerves. Try to include calcium-rich foods such as milk (cow’s milk, soy, or almond), yogurt, broccoli, cheese, kale, or okra.
- Magnesium – This mineral is one of the most forgotten about, but also one of the most important of all. It regulates the levels of all the other electrolytes including, calcium, potassium, and sodium. It also helps prevent and relieve muscle aches and spasms. It helps aid in digestion and even increases energy. Whole food sources high in magnesium are leafy green vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, beans, and lentils.
Eating a good hearty salad with mixed leafy greens, nuts, some fruit, some cheese crumbles, and a light dressing is the best way to prepare your body for the night to come. Mixed greens are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. A cup of arugula, for example, is just 25 calories and provides your daily recommended folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and beta-carotene. We don’t always have time to eat a full meal like that between getting off of work and going to the club. That is why one of my personal favorites is to make a smoothie, or if I’m out of town, go to a Jamba Juice or Smoothie King. They even offer electrolyte add-ins to boost your favorite smoothie! It’s a quick and healthy alternative to keep you safe this festival season.