When I was in the Army, stationed somewhere where the weather was HOT, I was told to drink a lot of water. So I did. I peed a lot. I mean, a lot! Suddenly, my tachycardia from my teen years started to kick in (a sudden flutter in my heart, then a fast heartbeat, well over 100 beats per minute that lasted for 10 or so minutes, but could last up to an hour). I was having episodes like crazy! No one knew what was wrong with me. I was told by the doctor to stay away from caffiene. So I did. (That's when I quit drinking regular soda, in my early 20s). But the episodes still happened. Years later, in my 30s, after discovering the importance of electrolytes, I realized back then, I was drinking TOO much water and not getting enough electrolytes. My diet was poor (sugar, refined carbs, meat, dairy, junk food, fast food). It didn't matter that I quit regular soda. I wasn't eating enough fruits and vegetables, and certainly no beans, avocados or coconut water (all have a high amount of electrolytes as you'll see later).
The following are my paraphrases and some quotes from an LA Yoga Magazine article. I don't want to take any credit for this wonderful article. Here's the link to the actual article on page 42 of the July/August 2012 issue, please read when you have the time, you won't regret it: http://www.layoga-digital.com/layoga/20120708#pg44.
Water flushes out toxins and metabolic waste products from our tissues, lubricates and provides moisture for our nose, ears, throat, and skin, and is needed for an optimal immune system. We need a combination of water and electrolytes.
"Electrolytes are minerals and trace minerals that govern our body's electrical system, which includes everything from our muscle contraction to the transmission of impulses through the nervous system. Electrolytes control our ability to speak, think, dance, breathe, dance, and move. They include, but are not limited to: sodium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, and potassium. Even mild dehydration, or lack of either water and/or minerals, can drain your energy and make you tired. When we drink water without replacing those electrolytes, we can run the risk of making dehydration even worse." (Case in point, my tachycardia episodes!)
A general rule is between 8 and 13 cups of water (1 cup = 8oz). If you tend to skimp, a minimum of 8 is a good start. If you overdo it, stick to no more than 13 cups. It's possible to drink too much water (like I did back in the Army!), which can throw off your body's electrolyte balance, even becoming dangerous.
All of the above was from the article in LAYoga Magazine by Cari Schaefer, MA, LAC...now the rest is me!
Our hearts and brains run on ELECTRICITY...ELECTROLYTES fuel them! A diet lacking electrolytes, which are minerals, leads to fatigue, heart problems, brain-fog and other problems relating to the brain, weakened immunity, and even death in some extreme cases (starvation). A diet high in refined carbohydrates, fast food, sugar, soda, and meat cannot provide an adequate amount of electrolytes for optimal health.
Electrolytes are in abundance in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, beans, some dairy products, dairy substitutes like almond milk, avocados, and coconut water. Think fresh, living, whole foods that are high in minerals. Beware of juices, they contain electrolytes but also lots of empty calories. Also beware of sports drinks, they contain high fructose corn syrup and hardly any electrolytes, except mostly sodium! Don't we get enough sodium in our diets? Save your money and have a baked potato or banana instead! In fact, make sure each meal and snack contain foods high in electrolytes...your body will thank you for it by giving you boundless energy and good health!
Here's a couple links I found:
Foods high in electrolytes: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258990-list-of-foods-high-in-electrolytes/
What are electrolytes, plus more foods: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/electrolytes/
P.S. I even quit caffiene-free diet soda last year because of The Doctors!