Potassium plays a role in every heart beat. A hundred thousand times a day, it helps activate your heart to squeeze blood through your body.
It likewise helps your muscles to move, your nerves to work, and your kidneys to filter blood (don’t despair!). Potassium is an essential mineral that does marvels for your body if consumed in suggested quantities.
You can get all the potassium you require from eating potassium-rich foods or by taking a multivitamin supplement consisting of potassium to satisfy your body’s day-to-day requirements.
Best Food Sources of Potassium
The best method to get sufficient potassium is to eat fruits and vegetables. It’s likewise in dairy products, whole grains, meat, and fish.
Other excellent sources include:
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes and dates): Potassium (K) 167.04-1361.25 mg
- Potatoes: Potassium (K) 119.26 mg
- Tomatoes: Potassium (K) 358.62 mg
- Avocados: Potassium (K) 727.5 mg
- Fresh fruits (bananas, oranges, and strawberries): Potassium (K) 232.56 – 805.5 mg
- Orange juice: Potassium (K) 57.41 mg
- Spinach: Potassium (K) 167.4 mg
- Beans and peas: Potassium (K) 418.32 – 353.8 mg
What Does Potassium Do For the Body?
Potassium does not treat or prevent heart disease. But getting enough of it can help your heart in lots of methods:
Better blood pressure: A diet high in fruits, veggies and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods can help cut systolic blood pressure by more than 10 points in individuals with high blood pressure. You should not take potassium pills unless your doctor recommends it.
Lower cholesterol: While there’s no direct link in between the two, lots of diets that lower cholesterol are likewise high in potassium, along with fruits and veggies. If you drop your LDL (bad cholesterol), the chance you’ll get heart disease will also decrease.
Managed heart beat: Potassium gives your heart to beat in a healthy method. So, if you have rhythm problems, potassium may be key. Your doctor can recommend you on that. A check may be part of your regular doctor check outs.
Potassium Helps Regulate Fluid Balance
The body is made from roughly 60% water. 40% of this water is found inside your cells in a substance called intracellular fluid.
The rest is discovered outside your cells in areas such as your blood, spinal fluid and between cells. This fluid is called extracellular fluid.
Surprisingly, the quantity of water in the intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid is impacted by their concentration of electrolytes, especially potassium and salt.
Potassium is the main electrolyte in the intracellular fluid, and it determines the quantity of water inside the cells. Conversely, sodium is the primary electrolyte in the extracellular fluid, and it determines the quantity of water outside the cells.
The number of electrolytes relative to the quantity of fluid is called osmolality. Under normal conditions, the osmolality is the same within and outdoors your cells.
Basically, there’s an equivalent balance of electrolytes outside and inside your cells.
Nevertheless, when osmolality is unequal, water from the side with less electrolytes will move into the side with more electrolytes to equalize electrolyte concentrations.
This might cause cells to shrink as water vacates them, or swell up and burst as water moves into them.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure you take in the right electrolytes, consisting of potassium.
Maintaining great fluid balance is very important for optimum health. Poor fluid balance can lead to dehydration, which in turn impacts the heart and kidneys.
Eating a potassium-rich diet and remaining hydrated can help preserve excellent fluid balance.
Fluid balance is impacted by electrolytes, primarily potassium and sodium. Eating a potassium-rich diet can help you preserve an excellent fluid balance.
Potassium Helps Regulate Muscle and Heart Contractions
The nervous system helps control contraction. However, modified blood potassium levels can affect nerve signals in the nerve system, compromising contraction.
Both low and high blood levels can affect nerve impulses by modifying the voltage of nerve cells. The mineral is likewise essential for a healthy heart, as its motion in and out of cells helps maintain a routine heartbeat.
When blood levels of the mineral are expensive, the heart might become dilated and flaccid. This can deteriorate its contractions and produce an abnormal heartbeat.
Similarly, low levels in the blood can likewise modify the heartbeat. When the heart does not beat effectively, it can not successfully pump blood to the brain, organs and muscles.
In many cases, heart arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, can be deadly and cause sudden death.
Potassium levels have a significant impact on muscle contractions. Modified levels can cause muscle weakness, and in the heart, they might cause an irregular heartbeat.
Potassium is Important for the Nervous System
The nerve system relays messages in between your brain and body. These messages are provided through nerve impulses and help regulate your muscle contractions, heart beat, reflexes and lots of other body functions.
Remarkably, nerve impulses are produced by sodium ions moving into cells and potassium ions moving out of cells. The movement of ions changes the voltage of the cell, which triggers a nerve impulse.
Regrettably, a drop in blood levels of potassium can affect the body’s capability to generate a nerve impulse. Getting enough potassium from your diet can help you maintain healthy nerve function.
This mineral plays a vital function in activating nerve impulses throughout your nervous system. Nerve impulses help control contraction, the heartbeat, reflexes and many other processes.
How Much Potassium Do You Need in Your Body
The United States Department of Agriculture advises 4,700 milligrams each day for healthy individuals. The simplest method to get this amount is by adding high-potassium vegetables and fruits to your diet.
It’s possible to obtain too much of an excellent thing, however. Ask your doctor prior to beginning a potassium supplement.
If you have kidney failure or other kidney problems, talk with your doctor about how much potassium you ought to get.
Some medications can raise your levels, consisting of some ACE inhibitors, spironolactone (Aldactone), triamterene, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).
Some diuretics for heart failure can make you lose potassium in your pee. If you are taking one, have your levels inspected. If yours are low, you can raise them by taking a supplement or eating more potassium-rich foods.
Health Benefits of Potassium in the Body
Taking in a potassium-rich diet is connected to lots of excellent health advantages. What does potassium do for the body?
May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Hypertension impacts almost one in three Americans. It’s a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. A potassium-rich diet might reduce blood pressure by assisting the body eliminate excess salt.
High salt levels can raise blood pressure, specifically for people whose blood pressure is currently high.
An analysis of 33 research studies discovered that when individuals with high blood pressure increased their potassium consumption, their systolic blood pressure reduced by 3.49 mmHg, while their diastolic blood pressure decreased by 1.96 mmHg.
In another study including 1,285 participants aged 25– 64, scientists discovered that people who consumed one of the most potassium had actually minimized blood pressure, compared to individuals who ate the least.
Those who took in the most had systolic blood pressure that was 6 mmHg lower and diastolic blood pressure that was 4 mmHg lower, usually.
May Help Protect Against Strokes
A stroke takes place when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain. It’s the cause of death for more than 130,000 Americans every year!
A number of studies have found that eating a potassium-rich diet may help prevent strokes.
In an analysis of 33 research studies including about 130,000 participants, researchers discovered that people who consumed the most potassium had a 24% lower risk of stroke than people who ate the least.
Additionally, an analysis of 11 research studies including about 250,000 participants found that people who consumed one of the most potassium had a 21% lower risk of stroke. They likewise discovered that eating a diet rich in this mineral was linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
May Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by hollow and permeable bones. It’s typically linked to low levels of calcium, an essential mineral for bone health.
Interestingly, research studies show that a potassium-rich diet might help avoid osteoporosis by reducing how much calcium the body loses through urine.
In a research study in 62 healthy women aged 45– 55, scientists discovered that individuals who ate one of the most potassium had the best overall bone mass.
In another research study with 994 healthy premenopausal women, researchers found that those who consumed the most potassium had more bone mass in their lower back and hip bones.
May Help Prevent Kidney Stones
Calcium is a common mineral in kidney stones, and a number of research studies show that potassium citrate reduces calcium levels in urine.
In this method, potassium might help fight kidney stones. Lots of fruits and vegetables consist of potassium citrate, so it’s easy to contribute to your diet.
In a four-year study in 45,619 men, researchers found those who consumed one of the most potassium daily had a 51% lower risk of kidney stones.
Similarly, in a 12-year research study in 91,731 women, researchers discovered that those who took in one of the most potassium daily had a 35% lower risk of kidney stones.
It May Reduce Water Retention
Water retention occurs when excess fluid develops inside the body. Historically, potassium has actually been used to treat water retention.
Studies recommend that a high potassium intake can help in reducing water retention by increasing urine production and lowering sodium levels.
- Potassium is among the most important minerals in the body. It helps control fluid balance, contraction and nerve signals.
- A potassium-rich diet might reduce blood pressure and water retention, safeguard versus strokes and help avoid osteoporosis and kidney stones.
- What’s more, a high-potassium diet might help in reducing blood pressure and water retention, secure against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
Regrettably, few people get enough potassium. To get more in your diet, take in more potassium-rich foods, such as beet greens, spinach, kale and salmon.
Good luck! Have a nice weekend!