- What is Potassium?
- Signs of a Potassium Deficiency
- Key Sources of Potassium
- 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Potassium
- 1. Regulates Blood Sugar Level
- 2. Improves Bone Health
- 3. Stabilizes Neural Function
- 4. Regulates Blood Pressure
- 5. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- 6. Maintains Balance of Water
- 7. Enhances the Nervous System
- 8. Regulates The Fluid Level
- 9. Reduces Stroke
- 10. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite
- 11. Proper Food Breakdown and Body Growth
There is more than one reason why you need to make sure to incorporate an adequate quantity of potassium-rich foods on the daily. Potassium is a key nutrient that is used to maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. It is also the 3rd most abundant mineral present in the body and a much-needed mineral for the seamless function of numerous organs, including the brain, heart, muscular tissues, and heart. Potassium also plays a crucial part in keeping the body hydrated and works alongside sodium to support the cellular function with your body’s potassium-sodium pump.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is one of the seven most important macrominerals required by the body. The human body needs a minimum of 100-mg of potassium on a regular basis to support key bodily functions. A high potassium intake can reduce the risk of general mortality by 20%. Plus, it also minimizes the possibility of getting a stroke, protects against loss of muscle mass, lowers blood pressure, conserves bone mineral density, and prevents the formation of kidney stones.
Signs of a Potassium Deficiency
Lack of a certain nutrient in the body is never desirable and potassium is not an exception. A diet deficient in this mineral may lead to symptoms such as muscle weakness and fatigue. Other indications for its deficiency can include abnormal heartbeat, headaches, anemia, heart palpitations, intestine pain, gland-swelling, inactive reflexes, high blood pressure, and diabetes as severe side effects.
Key Sources of Potassium
- Citrus Fruits
- Fresh fruit juices
- Whole milk
- Coconut water
- Sweet potatoes
- Ripe tomatoes
- White beans
- Dried apricots
- Acorn squash
11 Surprising Health Benefits of Potassium
Potassium is a key nutrient that has a lot to offer when it comes to health benefits. Here we will be looking at 11 ways how adding potassium to your daily diet can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
1. Regulates Blood Sugar Level
A fall in the level of potassium can cause the blood sugar level to drop. A decrease in blood sugar can lead to symptoms, such as headaches, sweating, trembling, weakness, and nervousness. Taking doses of sodium and potassium chloride can provide instant relief from such circumstances. This is also the reason why diabetics are encouraged to maintain their potassium levels regulated, in order to minimize chances of unforeseen rises and falls in their insulin and glucose levels by steadying their blood sugar levels throughout the entire body.
2. Improves Bone Health
The advantages of potassium have even extended to enhancing your bone health. There are certain properties of this mineral that stabilize different body acids, which helps in preserving and retaining calcium, making it available for bone durability and strength. Moreover, a study carried out at the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center suggests that consuming vegetables and fruits that contain high levels of potassium lead to higher mineral density in the bones, thereby furthering and extending the lifespan of your bones.
3. Stabilizes Neural Function
It’s channels contribute greatly to the maintenance of electrical conductivity of the brain and drastically affecting the brain function. It is also involved in higher brain function such as learning and memory retention. Plus, health maladies like epilepsy are associated with the dysfunction of potassium channels that can take place via potassium deficiency. In fact, there are potassium currents that play a key role in mammalian neurons. These channels are intertwined with a wide range of neural function and can assist in moderating and regulating electrical currents through the entire body.
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
It is very useful in withdrawing the role of sodium in destabilizing regular blood pressure. Therefore, it acts as a key component that maintains the normality of blood pressure in the human body. This further minimizes the risk of hypertension and heart diseases. Blood pressure regulation is one of the most crucial functions of this essential mineral.
5. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
It is of utmost importance for people experiencing undesirable mental states such as stress and anxiety. It is seen as a potent stress buster and thus, makes sure an effective mental performance. Stress and anxiety are extremely detrimental to other health aspects. And potassium is considered a great idea if you experience chronic stress. This mineral can help stabilize numerous hormones in your body, which includes stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, a surplus of which can be harmful to the body’s systems.
6. Maintains Balance of Water
It helps maintain an ideal fluid balance in the body. Various kinds of cells call for a correct water balance for efficient operation and potassium aids these cells in stabilizing the balance. Fluid balance helps keep all our organ systems functioning in one way or another, which is why eating bananas after sporty events is highly recommended.
7. Enhances the Nervous System
Potassium helps increase the efficiency of nerve reflexes that convey the message from one body part to the next. This helps muscle contraction to carry out different functions each day without tiring out quickly.
8. Regulates The Fluid Level
It is an excellent electrolyte that helps regulate the fluid balance in the body and thereby assists in a range of critical body operations.
9. Reduces Stroke
One of the key benefits of eating potassium-rich foods is improved muscle strength and decreased muscle cramping. Muscle aches, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness are common side effects of low levels of potassium.
10. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite
One of the key causes of cellulite is fluid retention. Potassium helps wipe out any excess waste from your cells, thus minimizing the appearance of cellulite.
11. Proper Food Breakdown and Body Growth
The human body actually needs potassium to process and use the carbohydrates that we consume. As an adult or a child, you also require potassium to build muscle and protein. If you are a growing person, then potassium can help ensure that your development continues at a healthy and normal rate.
As per the Food & Nutrition Center, adults should be aiming for 4,500 – 4,700 mg of potassium per day, whereas children should consume 3,000 – 3,800 mg per day. Athletes or heavyweight lifters should aim for even a higher dosage, depending on their activity levels, muscle mass, etc.