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Important Micronutrients and Electrolytes for LCHF/Keto

by Caleb Ford |

When you begin a ketogenic or LCHF diet and drastically cut back on carbs, your body produces less insulin and glycogen stores are depleted. For every gram of glycogen (stored carbs) three grams of water are stored as well.
As those stores are depleted, our kidneys go from retaining water to excreting more of it. If you’ve done Keto before, you may have noticed that you experienced a “whoosh” early on, where you lost a lot of weight and felt less bloated.
This is water weight resulting from the excretion of water.
Below we’ll cover what electrolytes actually are, why they’re important, and how to replenish them.The upside? Looking better.The downside? With this flush of water, important minerals called electrolytes are excreted too. Deficiencies in the key electrolytes can cause what us commonly known as 'Keto Flu" and can cause Flu symptoms and Fatigue.
 
Sodium Sodium intake needs to be increased when changing to LCHF way of eating. Sodium regulates water balance of the body, nerve function and absorption of nutrients in the gut and energy use by the body. The easiest way to get enough sodium is to add salt to all meals. Added soy sauce, coconut aminos, miso can all add extra sodium to meals. You may also enjoy taking broth or stock drinks as well. If the weather is hot or you are exercising a lot more sodium will be needed.
Potassium Potassium is part of enzyme system, body fluids and also involved in nerve and cell function.  Potassium is found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, meat, avocados and salmon. Another useful way to add extra potassium is too use a potassium salt such as Lo salt added to meals.
Magnesium Magnesium is involved in energy transfer in cells, enzyme activity, nerve and muscle function as well as bone function. Magnesium is found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, salmon, pumpkin seeds and meat. It is also found in fish, artichokes, yogurt, dark chocolate and cacao.
Iron  Iron is important for formation of red blood cells which transports oxygen to cells. The best source of iron is red meat and liver. 
Iodine Iodine is the main component of thyroxin, a hormone used by the thyroid gland to control body metabolism. Its also important for energy use and brain function. The best food sources are seafood, seaweed and iodised salt. 
Zinc Zinc help enzymes that are involved with growth and repair as well as healthy immune system, skin healing and also aids in taste, smell and sight as well as the structure of hair and bones. Zinc is found in meat, dairy products, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds. 
Selenium Selenium acts an anti-oxidant and promotes a healthy immune system and helps with resistance to disease. It is also necessary for thyroid function. It is found in seafood, chicken, eggs, fish and meat and also in nuts, especially Brazil nuts.
Calcium  Calcium helps to keep your bones and teeth strong but also aids in nerve function, muscle building and helps to prevent high blood pressure. Calcium is found in dairy products such as cheese and Greek yogurt as well as in nuts and canned salmon.
Phosphorus Phosphorus is needed to help keep bones and teeth strong and also important in brain cell function and energy use. It is found in dairy products, eggs, meat, fish and liver.
B Vitamins  (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and Folate) B Vitamins are used in digestive and nervous function and also help release energy from food. They help promote healthy skin, eyes and growth of new tissue.  Food sources include liver, meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, kidney and yeast extract.
Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K)  These vitamins help with brain function, sight, growth, immunity, prevent oxidation, help with strong bones and teeth and help the mucous membranes resist infection.  They are found in oily fish, liver, cheese, green vegetables, butter, olive oil, nuts and seeds, eggs and Vitamin D is produced by sunlight on the skin.
Vitamin C  This vitamin aids iron absorption, is an antioxidant and help to keep gums, teeth and bones healthy. Its also important for wound healing and immunity. It is found in capsicum, tomatoes and green vegetables. You will see from this list that there are many low carb and high fat foods that provide these essential nutrients. The best way to ensure you get enough of the right ones is to have eat a wide variety of foods over the day/week.  Always add salt to meals.  Eat green leafy vegetables each day either cooked or raw.  Supplements may be required in some cases but in general most people with get sufficient from eating varied and fresh foods.

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