Potassium Benefits & Daily Requirements
Potassium is a mineral that is important in the body to support cells, tissues and organs; it’s also an important electrolyte that helps conduct electricity in the body. Potassium is necessary for the heart to function. It also is key to smooth muscle contraction, skeletal and normal digestive and muscular function.
Potassium balance in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood. Too little potassium results in nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, feeling weak or tired, muscle cramping, acne and other skin issues, kidney stones, vibration in the ears, thirst, depression, confusion, tingling and numbness in arms, legs, feet and abnormal heart rhythm. Heart medications and diuretics can cause low potassium levels. Too much salts in the diet due to the average American diet can cause low potassium levels.
The benefits of having a healthy potassium balance include having a healthy metabolism, lowers high blood pressure, supports heart health, proper digestion, healthy kidneys, bone health and the nervous system. It also prevents muscle spasm and pain.
The recommended amount of potassium per day ranges from 400 mg-5100 mg per day based on age, gender and while pregnant. A general goal to strive for is 4500 mg per day. You can get all the potassium you need from the foods you eat based on a diet high in vegetables and fruit. Just 3 servings per day every day will help you keep your potassium level in balance. Foods that are high in potassium include avocados, carrots, bananas, bran, peanut butter, peas and beans, tomatoes, wheat germ, baked and sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli and other greens, mushrooms, summer squash, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, lentils, pistachios, yogurt, celery, cantaloupe, chicken, salmon, cod and flounder. Keep in mind that cooking foods, especially boiling, can reduce the amount of potassium remaining them.
By making sure you get enough potassium, calcium, magnesium, and natural sodium every single day, you can feel assured you’re helping your body function at its best. Getting your vitamins, minerals and electrolytes through food is far more absorbable than supplements but if you aren’t eating quite right yet, supplements can still help a little.
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