Potassium is the seventh most common mineral on the planet and it is found in many foods like bananas, leafy greens, fish, and more. Potassium plays an important role in the function of the body, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and lowering blood pressure. Individuals who do not get enough potassium in their everyday diet may develop kidney stones or high blood pressure – they may even experience bone loss. Potassium rich foods should be a part of every person’s diet to ensure the proper function of the body and to remain healthy.
How much potassium do you need?
Adults should get around 4,700mg of potassium every day through eating potassium rich foods. Most of your daily potassium should come from vegetables and fruits, but you can also take potassium supplements. Most potassium supplements come in 99mg tablets but you should limit your intake to one tablet per day because too much of the supplement can irritate your stomach.
What does potassium do for my body?
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and it is often called a “health insurer” – it has the qualities for maintaining a healthy life. This essential mineral is instrumental in regulating blood pressure and heart function and is crucial in the elimination of wastes. Potassium also speeds the healing of cuts and other minor injuries and is a natural de-sensitizer for pain. Many serious conditions such as strokes and muscle disorders are often paired with low levels of potassium in the body so it is important to maintain a healthy level of potassium in your diet.
Where can I get potassium?
There are many natural sources of potassium, but some foods contain more potassium than others. One of the foods most well-known for containing potassium is bananas, but other fruits are rich in potassium as well. Prunes, papaya, raisins, apricots, and a variety of melons such as cantaloupe, and honeydew are also potassium rich foods. Vegetables like tomato, avocado, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and several varieties of squash are rich in potassium. It is not commonly known that many proteins are also a good source of potassium – beef, salmon, peanuts, beans, and dark-meat poultry contain significant levels of potassium. It is best to consume these foods in their least-processed forms to get the most potassium out of them. It is possible to supplement your diet with potassium tablets, but these sources of potassium are not absorbed as well by the body as natural food sources so they should be used carefully.
What are the dangers of having too much or too little potassium?
As with many minerals, there are dangers associated with having too much or too little in the body. If your diet is deficient in potassium, you may experience fatigue and weakness or more serious symptoms such as heart palpitations, anemia, and severe headaches. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and swelling in the glands may also be symptoms of potassium deficiency. Having too much potassium in your diet can also be dangerous, leading to kidney problems, diarrhea, muscle spasms, and heart failure. Individuals who already have kidney problems need to be especially careful about not overdosing on potassium because it can lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
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