- Muscle Cramps
- General fatigue or sleepiness
- Mental Fogginess
- An increase in heart-rate
- Feeling lightheaded/faint
You may experience some of these symptoms even if your ketogenic diet is extremely well-formulated; perfect amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat won’t stop the symptoms from appearing to at least some degree.
So yes, your macronutrients are in order, but you’re missing another important factor: keeping your body nourished and balanced with micronutrients. You’re taking a good first step by starting a keto diet, but electrolytes are another essential that many people forget. If you balance the electrolytes in your body, it is likely you can lessen or eliminate the symptoms of the “keto flu.”
Learning About Electrolytes and Their Function in the Body
Why Monitoring Your Electrolytes is Essential
When you start shifting into a ketogenic diet, your body will start releasing water instead of storing it. Your body does this because there’s less insulin being produced, due to the composition of the diet. This throws your body out of wack for a bit, causing your kidneys to release sodium from the body therefore excreting lots of water.
Your body won’t just be releasing more water though, it’s also losing vital minerals you typically get from water. Because of this, you’ll start depleting essential electrolytes that your body needs for proper function. This is why you experience the “keto flu” and the symptoms that come with it.
Electrolytes Your Body Needs and How to Include Them in Your Keto Diet
Keto-Friendly Ways to Add Potassium to Your Diet
- Including yummy potassium-filled avocados
- Occasionally having a small snack consisting of nuts
- Consuming a ton of dark leafy greens
- Using seasoning blends that are packed with potassium
- Sauteing mushrooms to include in breakfast, lunch or dinner
- Baking or grilling some tasty salmon
Although sodium is a bit unhealthy in large amounts and can cause obesity and/or hypertension, some of it is necessary to let your body function correctly. A healthy amount of sodium will maintain fluid balance and plays a key role in nerve and muscle function, so don’t skimp out on it.
You’ll need it even more because you’re on the low-carb keto diet; if you’re an athlete as well, it is absolutely necessary to keep your muscles in tip-top shape with a healthy sodium intake. So, let’s look at a few healthy ways to get sodium into your ketogenic diet.
Keto-Friendly and Healthy Methods for Getting Sodium Into Your Diet
- Sprinkling some pink himalayan salt on raw vegetables
- Generously adding himalayan salt to a meal or two
- Supplementing with electrolytes
- Adding bouibon cubes to soup or broths
- Occasionally having salty snacks like pickles or pork rinds
Keto-Friendly Ways to Implement Magnesium Into Your Diet
- Occasionally snacking on pumpkin seeds
- Eating fish like salmon
- Taking a 200-400mg magnesium supplement with your meals
- Eating salads packed with leafy greens
- Adding leafy greens to your meals
- Using cacao powder or eating dark chocolate for dessert
It can be hard to get calcium on your keto diet; this is because one of the best sources of calcium is dairy, a food-group filled with carbs. However, it’s essential to include it in your diet; it keeps bones strong, lets blood clot, helps with muscle control and regulates your heartbeat.
So, how do you get calcium without ruining your ketogenic diet? Lots of cereals and juices are out of the question, because they’re packed with carbohydrates and aren’t keto-friendly. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to include calcium in your keto diet, so let’s check them out.
Great Low-Carb Sources of Calcium
- Fish like salmon and sardines
- Hard cheeses like cheddar cheese and swiss cheese
- Dark leafy greens; examples include kale, spinach and turnip greens
- Unsweetened soy drinks that are calcium-fortified
- Cooked broccoli
If you’re getting your other vital electrolytes, you’re probably consuming chloride already. It regulates fluids in the body and maintains your body’s pH balance. You’ll typically get sodium and chloride in the form of sodium chloride, which is in Pink Himalayan salt, so if you are keeping your sodium intake up you’re probably getting enough chloride.
Chloride will work with other electrolytes and keep your body functioning smoothly, so don’t forget about it! If you’re worried that you aren’t getting enough, just take a potassium chloride supplement and you can cover two of your electrolytes in one.
Don’t Forget to Drink Water!
You’ll be losing a lot of water along with a ton of electrolytes as you shift into a keto diet, so don’t forget about it! Your body is going to be urinating more while you’re on keto, so you’re going to have to drink more water to make up for that.
Additionally, your body won’t be retaining water properly. Due to these two factors, you should keep your water intake high so you’re always healthy and hydrated. If you want to check your hydration levels quickly, just check the color of your urine. If it’s clear or a pale yellow, you’re well-hydrated and good to go. However, if it’s a fairly dark yellow, you should chug down some water to get your hydration levels up.
Conclusions on Keto and Electrolyte-Intake
Keto is a great way to monitor and perfect your macronutrient intake, but proper micronutrient intake is equally important. A ketogenic diet will deplete your electrolytes and dehydrate you, so keep your electrolyte levels balanced and your hydration levels up to dodge the nasty “keto flu”; some vital electrolytes include potassium, sodium, magnesium and chloride.
Don’t skimp out on your water intake either, proper hydration is always essential, regardless of your current diet.