Most people who are advocates of health and fitness understand that potassium is essential for optimal health. Potassium is a major macronutrient. This nutrient helps carry oxygen to the brain and is essential for healthy brain function. There is also a positive association between potassium and bone mineral density. Intake of high potassium fruits and vegetables has a direct beneficial effect on bone mass.
Moreover, potassium can also help our kidneys by preventing kidney stones from developing. Kidney stones form from calcium in the kidneys and the potassium keeps the calcium from forming those stones. Last, but not least, daily intake of potassium can lower your blood pressure. Those who suffer from hypertension will directly benefit from this.
Potassium and sodium have a direct correlation to one another in that in order for the body to use this nutrient appropriately, an adequate amount of sodium needs to be in check. They work together to regulate our water balance in the cells of the body. It is important to note, however, that diets that are too high in sodium may contribute to potassium deficiency. Eating a lot of processed foods can also lead you to become deficient in potassium.
If you experience the following, then you are deficient in potassium – irritability, excessive sweating, chronic fatigue, earaches, muscle weakness or poor circulation, heart palpitations, insomnia, intestinal pain, swollen glands, water retention and a fast heartbeat. Intake more potassium in your diet and you will see these signs disappear. You will find many natural sources of potassium in orange juice, bananas, spinach, almonds, prunes, peaches, pineapples, cantaloupe, sunflower seeds, potatoes and tomato juice just to name a few.
Essentially, your daily intake of potassium should be about 3,500 mg. There is a small amount in multivitamins so you need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in addition to that daily. Remember, however, that potassium can throw off your electrolyte balance if taken in excess and this will ultimately slow down your heart. This is extremely dangerous.
Overall, scientists have linked low levels of potassium to many common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease as well as disorders such as hypertension. It is imperative to increase your consumption of potassium rich foods to avoid these from ever developing. Luckily, it is one of the easiest nutrients to get and is found in many fruits and vegetables as discussed. If you want to feel better and stay healthy, it is recommended that you include potassium rich foods in your diet!