Electrolytes are a scientific term used for salts, specifically ions. Being called an electrolyte means that this ion is electrically charged and moves to either a positive or negative charged electrode. Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells use to carry electrical impulses. Electrolytes are frequently used as a marketing tool for sports drink companies who say that after sweating we must reintroduce electrolytes back into the system. Though this is true, the amount of exercise that is necessary for an electrolyte deficit is very heavy so it is best to watch the consumption of these sports drinks as they are stocked with sugar.
To add onto lauralulee’s answer, common electrolytes in our blood include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate, each of which have a different function (described in the link below). Most people associate electrolytes with sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade because of those companies’ strong marketing campaigns, but the minerals can also be found in salty foods (consumed in moderation), foods high in potassium (bananas), and foods with inorganic sulfate like dried fruit and soy (again to be consumed in moderation).
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