Minerals are very essential ingredients that help not only in the growth but also in the sustenance of the human body. Potassium is one of those vital minerals that are absolutely essential for our body. But very few people are aware of this fact and hence face many symptoms of low potassium in their bodies. You should look into a list of potassium-rich foods, to maintain your potassium levels.
Briefly about potassium
Potassium is a naturally occurring element, with almost similar health functions as sodium. It occurs in nature normally as ionic salt. The ion form of the said element is considered in the regular functioning of almost all livings cells.
Although considered as the seventh most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust, it is seldom found occurring free naturally. It reacts violently with water. In fact, you can hardly get potassium metal from its mineral because of its electropositive property.
What does potassium do?
Potassium is responsible for regulating the water content within the human body, as well as helping with the support of effective nerve transmissions, regulating the electric impulses of the heart, thereby regulating ones blood pressure, and is also very important, if not, a critical factor in the body¹s use of carbohydrates and proteins.
Who benefits from potassium
People with brain malfunction find potassium supplementation necessary for restoring electrical balance in the central nervous system. It is considered very important in neuron function, mostly found in the brain and nerve tissues. It also helps the various cells attain and maintain osmotic balance, including those involving the interstitial fluid.
Severe deficiency in the amount of the element in the body can lead to a potentially fatal condition, called hypokalemia. This is the specific condition, characterized by a slight increase in the blood pressure and sometimes leading to cardiac arrhythmias. Other symptoms include weakness of the muscles, myalgia, muscle cramps, and constipation.
The element is equally beneficial to people suffering from hypertension. Nutritional supplements containing it have been found effective in lowering blood pressure by as much as 21% of the average pressure taken. In another study conducted and involving hypertensive people, 85% of the human subjects responded positively by having much-reduced blood pressure.
Potassium is commonly found in varied foods, especially those taken from plants. These include orange juice, potatoes, bananas, avocados, broccoli, tomatoes, soybeans, garlic, brown rice, and apricots.
It is also abundantly found in several other fruits, vegetables, and meats. As long as one takes proper and balance diets, deficiency in the said element seldom happens. However, this condition is quite far from the actual case.
The continued deterioration of modern and regular diet in terms of nutrient content is largely responsible in many cases of severe deficiency. Although commonly found in several food sources, many people are still having difficulty maintaining regular and sufficient access to the same nutrient.
How much potassium do we generally need
For daily intake, men and women need at least 2,000 to 4000 mg of potassium. Women aged 31 and 50 in the United States and the United Kingdom consume less than 50 percent of the daily amount of potassium needed for optimal health. Men in America consume little more potassium. Most American diets contain 1,500-2,000 mg of potassium daily. This is well below the recommended daily amount. You can always supplement potassium to make up for what your diet lacks.
Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
The human body stays healthy and functions efficiently when it gets all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the required amounts on a daily basis. If you eat a diet which is deficient in potassium it can lead to a number of health problems. Some of the common symptoms of potassium deficiency are fatigue, weak muscles, slow muscle reflexes, severe headaches, high blood pressure, intestinal pain, and abnormal heartbeats.
Health benefits of potassium
Potassium is an essential nutrient for staying healthy and so it has some wonderful health benefits for the human body. Here are some of the key benefits of potassium for your body:
Potassium and our brain
Potassium helps carry oxygen to the brain. This nutrient is very essential for healthy brain function, due to it playing a role in supplying the neurotransmitters with the sparks in the brain to send signals to our nerves. This mineral is also vital when it comes to having a healthy nerve function. As for the brain, it has been noted that potassium is good for relieving headache inflicting allergies.
Potassium helps improve metabolism levels of the human body. It helps to convert proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into energy which can be utilized for important body functions.
Heart and Kidney Ailments
Potassium also helps to keep your heart and kidneys healthy. It plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the heart and kidney. It assists in the process of excretion and helps the kidney get rid of waste materials from the human body.
Anxiety and Stress
Potassium also plays an important role to keep anxiety and stress levels under control. Research shows that this mineral acts as a great stress buster and improves mental efficiency.
Potassium is also important to keep blood pressure levels under control. This means that it can help reduce the risk of hypertension and heart diseases.
A person who eats a potassium deficient diet will suffer from low blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar level reduces it may cause a number of problems like severe headaches, weakness, excessive sweating, and extreme fatigue. If you take a sufficient amount of potassium you can easily maintain your blood sugar levels within a healthy standard.
People today lead a busy lifestyle and many people don’t pay much attention to their diet. Potassium should be consumed in appropriate amounts on a daily basis to ensure that you lead a healthy and long life. You should always consult a doctor making any dietary changes to ensure your body gets the required amount of potassium.
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