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Electrolytes are present in every body; they are minerals that, when dissolved in a fluid (in this case, your blood), facilitate the conduction of electrical charge. These minerals contribute to regulating muscle and nerve function and play a significant role in fluid balance and acid-base balance. In this article, I’ll explain everything about electrolytes.

Table of Contents:

What are the consequences of an electrolyte deficiency?

As mentioned in the introduction of this article, electrolytes play a crucial role in many bodily processes. When one or more of these processes do not function properly due to a deficiency in certain electrolytes, it can lead to various health problems.

The most common and less severe symptoms may include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor energy levels (feeling lethargic)
  • Digestive abnormalities (too little/hard stool or diarrhea)
  • Mild dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness

More severe consequences may include:

  • High of or low blood pressure
  • Severe muscle cramps (remember, your heart is also a muscle)
  • Extreme constipation
  • Advanced dehydration

When to Pay Extra Attention to Electrolyte Needs:

Electrolytes play a significant role for everyone, but it’s especially important to monitor them when you engage in intense exercise or in hot weather (when you sweat more) because you lose more electrolytes through sweating.

Also, if you follow a specialized diet like keto or low-carb, it’s important to be mindful of what your body needs. This is because you consume fewer processed products that often have some of the necessary electrolytes added (e.g., salt with iodine added to bread).

Main Sources of Electrolytes:

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Salt is the largest source of electrolytes, which is why it is also very important to consume enough of it in your daily diet. In this articleyou can read more about the importance of salt and the incorrect advice that used to be given about it.

The most important electrolytes:

Of course, all electrolytes are important, but the most crucial electrolytes are:

  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Phosphate
  • Bicarbonate
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
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    The mineral sodium is important for maintaining fluid balance in the body, regulating blood pressure (it has a blood pressure-raising effect), and for the proper functioning of muscles and nerve cells.

    Sodium can be found in, among other things:

    • Caviar
    • Olives
    • Bacon
    • Raw ham
    • Salami
    • Cheese
    • Samphire
    • Crab
    • Sauerkraut
    • Pickle


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    This mineral plays a significant role in the fluid balance of your body, contributes to the transport of important substances, and helps in destroying bacteria that come with food.

    Chloride is present in almost all foods, but the largest and best source is table salt. It is mainly bound to other minerals like sodium and potassium.


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    The primary role of potassium is to ensure proper transmission of nerve signals. Potassium also plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and contributes to the body’s fluid balance.

    Potassium can be found in various foods, including::

    • Cocoa
    • Nuts
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Flaxseeds
    • Pine nuts


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    Phosphate (also known as phosphorus) contributes, along with calcium, to strong bones and teeth. It also plays a significant role in energy metabolism, including the temporary storage and transport of energy in the body.

    Phosphate can be found in various foods, including:

    • Meat
    • Fish
    • Poultry
    • Tofu
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Quark
    • Eggs
    • Liquid, unsweetened cream (also known as heavy cream)


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    The mineral bicarbonate plays a significant role in regulating the acidity (pH level) in the blood and stomach. It acts as a buffer, ensuring that your pH level is neither too high nor too low. An elevated or lowered pH level can have serious consequences.

    The biochemical processes in our body rely on enzymes. Enzymes are strongly influenced by our pH level. If the pH level is not optimal, enzymes cannot function properly. Consequently, all processes in the body are disrupted, leading to impaired overall bodily function and increased susceptibility to diseases.

    Bicarbonate can be found in table salt and (in small amounts) in carbonated mineral water.


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    Magnesium helps reduce stress, contributes to healthy blood pressure (blood pressure-lowering effect), helps your body relax, promotes the proper functioning of your intestines, prevents stiff muscles, and supports energy storage and production.

    Magnesium can be found in:

    • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and turnip greens, etc…
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Nuts
    • Broccoli
    • Cocoa

    Magnesium is also commonly taken as a supplement to alleviate various symptoms. However, it’s important to choose the right one, as there are many supplements on the market. My favorite magnesium supplement is the Magnesium Trio softgels by the NOW brand.


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    Most people will immediately associate calcium with strong bones, thanks to the milk commercials of the past. 😜 But did you know that the primary function of calcium is not just strengthening bones?

    Calcium actually plays a significant role in energy metabolism and is crucial for proper muscle function. Additionally, calcium is one of the building blocks for bones and teeth, so they didn’t completely mislead you in the past 😉.

    Calcium can be found in:

    • Dairy products
    • Nuts
    • Dark green vegetables (except for spinach)
    • Shrimp

    What to do when experiencing symptoms of deficiencies:

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    As mentioned earlier, salt is the primary source of electrolytes. If you experience mild symptoms mentioned at the beginning of this article, try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water or broth and drink it. There’s a very high chance that your symptoms will go away within about 15 minutes. However, if you experience severe symptoms, please contact your (family) doctor.


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