Potassium is often considered an essential health nutrient, due to its numerous health benefits. It is an abundant mineral in the human body, and is a powerful element for improving health, and it should not be underestimated. Potassium health benefits include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system.
Intake of Potassium
Adequate intake of potassium is 4g per day, but in North America, the average man consumes approximately 3g and the average woman less than 2.5g of potassium per day. Most individuals can benefit from increasing their potassium intake, as the body easily excretes excess potassium in the urine. However, if you have damaged or impaired kidneys, you should not have more than 4.7g of potassium per day to avoid developing an irregular heartbeat.
You should also be careful not to have too little potassium, as a moderate deficiency can increase your blood pressure, lead to salt sensitivity, increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce the health of your bones. Excessively low potassium levels can actually cause glucose intolerance, heart arrhythmias, weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps and stomach problems.
Health Benefits of Potassium
Helps Prevent Stroke
Potassium plays an important role in keeping brain function at a normal level, with high levels of potassium allowing more oxygen to reach the brain, and stimulating neural activity and increasing cognitive function. It is of great importance in preventing the occurrence of stroke in the human brain. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, causing the blood vessels to relax, and allowing blood to flow more freely and less likely to clot and break off causing strokes.
Aids Blood Pressure Levels
Because of its vasodilating properties that work to relieve the tension in the blood vessels, (one of the main causes of high blood pressure), Potassium is helpful in the regulation of blood pressure, and balancing sodium levels. This also reduces the risk of heart diseases and hypertension
Boosts Brain Function
Potassium plays helps with maintaining the electrical conductivity of the brain and can help moderate and regulate electrical currents throughout the body. It also has a powerful effect on brain function like memory and learning. In addition, serious issues like epilepsy can occur through potassium deficiency.
Manages Anxiety & Stress
Potassium is considered as a powerful stress buster and helps ensure efficient mental performance. It is also of great importance for people suffering from mental issues like anxiety and stress. Also if you suffer from chronic stress potassium can help regulate various hormones in the body, including stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, where excess amounts can be quite detrimental to a wide array of the body’s systems.
Low Blood Sugar
A decrease in potassium levels can causes a drop in blood sugar, which can also cause sweating, headaches, weakness, trembling and nervousness. Consuming potassium chloride and sodium provides immediate relief from such situations, and also why diabetic patients are instructed to keep their potassium levels normal, which reduces the chances of unpredictable spikes and drops in glucose & insulin levels.
Provides Bone Health
The health benefits of potassium even benefit the bones, as it can neutralize various acids in the body to help retain and preserve calcium for added bone strength and durability, thus prolonging the life of your bones!
Heart & Kidney Disorders
Potassium plays a large role in keeping the heart and kidneys running smoothly, and assisting the kidneys in removing waste through the process of excretion. However, you should consult your doctor to get recommendations about potassium dosages, as it can also stimulate the body to absorb more calcium than necessary, which can calcify and cause kidney problems.
Workout & Weight Loss Benefits
Builds Muscle Strength
Fitness buffs should know that one of the most useful benefits of potassium is how it ensures the proper growth of muscle tissues and how it adds significantly to muscular strength. Potassium plays an important role in regular muscle contraction, and a sufficient concentration of potassium is required for the regular contraction and relaxation of muscles. Without the contractions and relaxations that potassium allows muscles to perform, exercise and additional muscle training would be impossible! Potassium also helps keep reflexes fast because it stimulates the neural connectivity of muscles and the brain. You can even prevent muscle cramps (a result of low levels of potassium in the blood, a condition called hypokalemia), by eating potassium rich items like bananas every day.
Potassium aids the metabolic processing of nutrients like fats and carbs. Studies have shown that potassium is also integral in the synthesis of proteins, which have an impact of tissue regeneration, cell growth, and an overall balanced metabolism.
Water Balance & Electrolytes
Water balance keeps all of our organ systems functioning, which is why many people recommend eating bananas after sporting events, or after a night of heavy drinking to rehydrate. As you lose electrolytes in your sweat, you should always be ready to replenish these minerals during or after intense physical activity. Electrolytes are substances that help conduct electricity in your body, and Potassium is one of the most important ones, with the others being chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. Electrolytes are vital to the healthy functioning of the cells, tissues and organs. It helps control the amount of water in your body and maintain a healthy blood pH level.
Sources of Potassium
A balanced diet must contain a fair quantity of potassium, and some excellent sources are citrus fruits, vegetables and grains.You can get an ample amount of potassium from the food items listed below.
At A Glance Guide Of Foods Richest In Potassium
Original Article and Credits: TheScienceOfEating