What is Potassium?

May 19, 2010 No Comments

Avocado and Sushi - Rich in PotassiumWhy Is Potassium Good For You?

Potassium comes in the form of a water-soluble dietary mineral. This element can be abundantly found in our daily diets. People, who regularly eat potassium rich foods have healthier conditions. Potassium should be normally taken with vitamin B6 and the intake must be twice as much as sodium. However, some people – due to various illnesses – are required to either restrict their intake of potassium or actually increase it.

Why Is Potassium Necessary?

Potassium rich foods are required to maintain a correct balance in water inside the body. Potassium works with sodium, where essential electrolytes and body fluids are transported around the circulatory system. The liver, on a daily basis, absorbs and processes large chunks of potassium. Below are benefits of getting enough potassium in the body:

It acts as a component which balances the pH in your body.

To balance the water in your body.

In order for your muscles to grow as normal.

For you to have a normal brain function and a healthy nervous system.

How Does Potassium Affect Your Health?

People are normally aware that a high intake of sodium can result in hypertension. Recent evidence points out that, potassium rich foods in your diet may actually decrease blood pressure. Potassium is very involved in three main areas such as – muscle control, nerve function and blood pressure. As such, having a high intake of dietary potassium may protect against blood pressure, mostly in people who are intolerant to too much sodium.

For people with hypertension, it is essential to follow an eating plan which is high in potassium. However, potassium supplements are not recommended when a person has high blood pressure. Instead, potassium rich foods must be eaten on a daily basis.

For instance, athletes normally lose muscle from daily exercise. In order to replace this muscle, athletes can have a diet with more potassium intake in it. Sports drinks are poor supplements of potassium. Instead, – potassium rich food such as banana, a cup of orange juice or one potato is suffice to replace the lost potassium during a hard exercise done in about two hours.

If a proper level of potassium is not maintained, there are possibilities of this resulting to fatal conditions. One of which hypokalaemia, which can lead to hear arrhythmia. Keep in mind that if you have a heart condition or diabetes – it is imperative that you consult your doctor before taking a potassium supplement.

Potassium Deficiencies – What You Should Know

A deficiency of potassium brings about cramping legs, fatigue, slow reflexes, acne, muscle weakness and mood changes. These health issues are seldom found in a person who has a regular intake of potassium rich foods in her diet.

If you fail to meet the required standards of a proper daily intake of potassium rich foods, this can eventually result in many mental and physical health issues. Physical health problems include muscular cramps, muscle weakness, fatigue, weak reflexes, irregular heartbeat and brittle bones. More long term – and sometimes fatal illnesses – include lung failure, heart irregularities, kidney failure and even cardiac arrest. Some mental symptoms such as insomnia, nervous disorders, depression and anorexia can come as a result of deficiency of potassium rich foods.

Some people are more susceptible to potassium deficiency than others. There are quite a few health problems that make a person deficient of this. These conditions include high levels of stress, alcoholism and extended periods of vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes we may contribute to the deficiency of potassium in our body. If we take in too much caffeine in our daily lives, if our diet consists only of processed foods rather than fresh foods – or if our diet includes too much sodium – are all reasons in which we may harm ourselves unintentionally. For instance, using table salt is the worst of these situations as it contains excessive sodium – which adversely affects the absorption of potassium in our bodies.

We have bodies which are rather delicately balanced. The chemical balance within our body needs to be maintained properly, if possible, intricately. If you do not take care of body by ignoring your body’s need potassium rich foods with proper levels – in consequence, your body may undergo health issues. Some of these health issues may unexpectedly be even more severe than others. Rather than trying to cure, preventing such an illness is always the best option. Make certain that your daily meals consist of the proper levels of potassium rich foods filled with minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients.

It is true that potassium, in excess, can affect your heart and even be toxic. But this is mainly for people with kidney conditions. People with kidney conditions need to be very careful of all minerals, including potassium, magnesium, iron and others.  If this is you, your doctor has probably already suggested a low potassium diet.

Potassium Rich Foods To Consider

Foods like milk, meat, vegetables and fruits have good level of potassium – while in food which is highly processed, you may find sodium but not potassium. It is better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than frozen foods. Potassium rich foods are imperative for good health and nutrition. It is not difficult to meet the required daily potassium intake, if you have a variety in your diet. Here are some potassium rich foods to consider:

– Prunes

– Apricots

– Bananas

– Dates

– Citrus Fruits

– Greens

– Spinach

– Tomatoes

– Veggie Burgers

– Fish

– Salmon

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