This macro mineral is an essential mineral, that is our body cannot produce it and we therefore need to include this into our healthy diet in order to ensure to have enough potassium for our system.
The recommended daily intake of potassium for an adult should be between 3,500mg and 4,700mg of potassium per day. Taking in too little potassium can leave you feeling weak and can lead to constipation. Potassium can also be taken as a food supplement.
Benefits of a High Potassium diet
A high potassium diet in general reduces your risk of a stroke, it lowers blood pressure, helps maintain bone mineral density and reduces the risk of getting kidney stones.
Potassium also reduces the loss of muscle mass.
Potassium and Fluid Control
Potassium reduces the effects of sodium, helping to maintain a lower blood pressure. Potassium helps reduce blood pressure, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Sodium intake in our diet should be kept low, as this is linked high blood pressure, however taking in sufficient potassium is also very important for blood pressure.
Potassium balances PH levels in our body
Foods which are rich in potassium help maintain an alkaline level in our body. However a diet rich in dairy products, red meat and processed grains can lead instead to an acidic PH in our body, which is not good for our health.
An acidic PH can lead to loss in bone mineral density and also loss in muscle mass.
Potassium and electrical activity in muscles including your heart
Electrolytes are chemicals that when mixed in water conduct electricity.
Potassium is an electrolyte, and it plays an important role in the electrical activity of our muscles, including our heart. Electrolytes in the cells of our tissues, nerves, and muscles conduct electrical pulses and therefore are important for the proper functioning of our body.
Electrolytes are also important to keep the body properly hydrated. When you exercise, it is important that the electrolytes lost through sweating are restored.
Other electrolytes include sodium, phosphate calcium, magnesium, chloride and bicarbonate. A muscle generally needs calcium, sodium, and potassium to contract properly. If these electrolytes are not balanced properly, your muscles can weaken, or contract excessively (eg. muscle twitching or spasms).
The kidneys, together with a number of hormones, help regulate the electrolyte balance.
Sources of Potassium
The most Potassium rich foods include white beans, soy beans, and lima beans. Unprocessed whole foods usually contain alot of potassium, these include;
Processed foods (something we should avoid) are usually low in potassium and high in sodium, thereby increasing our blood pressure and creating a problem for our heart, as we should aim to have a low sodium intake and a high intake of potassium to lower our blood pressure and to take care of our heart health.
Potassium is an important mineral for our optimal health, we should eat healthy and choose whole unprocessed foods whenever possible.
Potassium is the most common mineral to find people are not taking in enough of, therefore if you cannot change your diet sufficiently to take in enough potassium, you should consider taking potassium as a food supplement instead.