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Fight with Electrolytes!

I am recovering from a very short 'bout of a winter illness. Did I have the "flu'? I do not know, because I did not have my symptoms confirmed by a physician. I was ill over a weekend, and by Monday morning, I was almost feeling like a new person. Fever (102.6), body aches, and fatigue were my symptoms. Sounds a bit "flu-ish", right? (...and yes, I did have a flu shot earlier in the fall.) I feel quite lucky, though, as my worst symptoms lasted less than 48 hours. I attribute to quick recovery to #1: being very healthy, and #2: feeding my body the right fluids while I was feeling ill, ELECTROLYTES!

So, what are electrolytes? Simply put, electrolytes are minerals. These minerals support cells, tissues, and fluids that direct electrical impulses, that carry signals throughout our bodies. They are important for maintaining fluid balance both inside of our cells (intracellular) and outside of our cells (extracellular). This balance is important for nerve impulses to travel, for muscle function, for pH levels, and for hydration. Hydration is often compromised when we become ill, due to fever and the diminished desire to eat and drink. A person can become dehydrated very quickly when running a fever. According to SRM Institute of Science and Technology, there are seven (7) major electrolytes found in our bodies: Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphate, and Bicarbonate. These are common words to us, but do not take them for a grain of salt!

As soon as I had the smallest indication that I might be "coming down with something", I reached for fluids! After all, the experts say, "Get plenty of rest, and drink lots of fluids." Just any fluid won't meet your hydration and replenishment needs when you are ill. Your fluids must be sugar free and full of nutrients. I kept a sugar-free electrolyte drink (Ultima Replenisher, at my bedside the entire time, and even 2 days after being up and around. I honestly feel that this was the key to my mild symptoms and a very quick recovery. It allowed me to replenish the depleted nutrients, even though my appetite was diminished.

There are numerous ways to protect your electrolyte balance when your body is compromised. Coconut water, green tea, and natural bone broths are other beverages that can provide needed electrolytes. You may also find high levels of electrolytes (remember, they are minerals!) in green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, some squashes, berries, and fresh fruits. Think about the foods we know as "Super Foods". You might consider, "FEED A FEVER"! .... and definitely keep washing your hands!

These recommendations are anecdotal, and based upon my knowledge and experience as an ACE certified Health Coach. If your physician has given you specific recommendations of treatment for an illness, you should always follow the recommendations made by your physician.

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