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Best Electrolytes for Runners

Posted by George Parker on

Best Foods and Supplements to Replenish Electrolytes for Runners

By George Parker, Georgia Tech Chemist & Engineer, 7x Boston Marathon Qualifying Runner, and Founder of Peregrune®, which engineers vitamins and supplements exclusively for runners.


Electrolytes are essential for runners. They help with muscle function, hydration, and overall energy levels. When you sweat during a run, you lose electrolytes, which need to be replenished to maintain peak performance. Here’s a guide to the best foods and supplements to help you stay balanced.

Key Electrolytes

  1. Sodium: Helps with fluid balance and muscle function.

  2. Potassium: Crucial for heart function and muscle contractions.

  3. Magnesium: Supports muscle and nerve function.

  4. Calcium: Important for muscle contractions and nerve signaling.

Best Foods for Electrolytes

1. Bananas

  • Rich in potassium, bananas are a great pre- or post-run snack to help prevent muscle cramps.

2. Coconut Water

  • Known as nature’s sports drink, coconut water is high in potassium and also contains sodium, calcium, and magnesium.

3. Oranges and Orange Juice

  • High in potassium and also provides vitamin C, which aids in recovery.

4. Leafy Greens

  • Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are high in magnesium and calcium, supporting muscle function and bone health.

5. Dairy Products

  • Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium and also provide some potassium.

6. Sweet Potatoes

  • Packed with potassium and magnesium, sweet potatoes are a nutritious option for runners.

7. Avocados

  • High in potassium and magnesium, avocados can help maintain electrolyte balance.

8. Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are good sources of magnesium and calcium.

Best Supplements for Electrolytes

1. Electrolyte Tablets or Powders

  • Convenient and easy to use, these supplements are designed to quickly replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. There's a wide variety of options on the market. Experiment, try different flavors, and see what works best for you and your stomach. 

2. Sports Drinks

  • Gatorade, Powerade, and similar drinks are formulated to provide a balance of sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes.

3. Magnesium Supplements

  • Available in pill or powder form, magnesium supplements can help prevent cramps and support muscle function.

4. Salt Tablets

  • Useful for endurance runners who sweat a lot, salt tablets can help replenish sodium levels.

5. Calcium Supplements

  • If you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, a supplement can help ensure you’re meeting your needs.

Tips for Replenishing Electrolytes

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water along with your electrolyte-rich foods and supplements.

  2. Balance Your Diet: Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts in your diet to cover all your electrolyte needs.

  3. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to signs of electrolyte imbalance, such as muscle cramps, fatigue, or dizziness, and adjust your intake accordingly.


Replenishing electrolytes is crucial for maintaining performance and overall health as a runner. By incorporating electrolyte-rich foods and considering supplements when necessary, you can keep your body balanced and ready to tackle any run.

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