There are several types of elements and minerals that are found in nature and on the earth’s surface that play a crucial role in maintaining the biosphere on the planet and thus help to sustain biodiversity. All these minerals are not always found within the human body, but they are quite essential for the proper functioning of the human body. These minerals are usually derived from food components in our daily diet and/or from supplements that are rich in these minerals. One such essential mineral is potassium. As mentioned above, potassium is neither present in the human body, nor is it synthesized within the body. But potassium is crucial to carry out several important functions of the body and thus this mineral is required to maintain overall good health and fitness. So, the only way to derive potassium is through different food sources (mostly plant-based food components) that are rich in potassium content and supplements as prescribed by your medical practitioner.
What Is Potassium?
Potassium is one of the most vital electrolytes that need to be present within the human body so that electrolytic balance is maintained within the human body. Potassium is an important mineral that helps to conduct electrical impulses in your body that is quite essential to carry out some of the major essential functions of the body. Some such major physiological functions are as follows:
- Maintain the water-electrolyte balance in your body
- Controlling your blood pressure levels
- Maintains proper contraction and relaxation of muscles and thus keeps the bone joints and muscles flexible
- Conducts proper neurological impulses throughout the body
- Helps to maintain the correct levels of acidity and alkalinity, that is, the pH balance in your body
- Helps to keep your heart healthy by regulating the normal systolic and diastolic heart rates
- Regulating the rate of digestion and metabolism in your body
List Of Foods Rich In Potassium
Since potassium is not available in the human body, it is derived from different food sources, fruits, and vegetables. Some such plant-based food sources that consist of high amounts of potassium is listed here as follows:
- fruits, such as bananas, apples, apricots, kiwi, oranges, peaches, and pineapples
- vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, such as carrots, and potatoes
- lean meats
- different types of nuts
- whole grains
This is the reason doctors always advise having a balanced diet. Those who consume a balanced diet full of essential nutrients can significantly derive all the essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and potassium is one of them.
The Proper Dose Of Potassium To Have In Your Diet
A person requires the basic quantity of potassium to carry out all the physiological functions properly and to build up a proper immune system. While too much potassium is not at all good for your physical health, too less amount of potassium content in the body will lead to potassium deficiency which might cause lethal health conditions such as sodium-potassium imbalance and other physiological disorders. So, it is essential to have the correct amount of potassium through the food components that you have each day through your daily diet and through help supplements as suggested by your doctor.
Based on current research and other findings, it can be said that around 3400 milligrams (mg) of potassium are to be consumed per day for adult males and 2,600 milligrams (mg) per day for adult females to maintain proper potassium balance in your body.
To clarify the correct intake of potassium the table has been formed below according to recent studies that will help you to understand what the average potassium intake for different age groups and different genders can be:
|0–6 months||400 mg/day||400 mg/day|
|7–12 months||860 mg/day||860 mg/day|
|1–3 years||2,000 mg/day||2,000 mg/day|
|4–8 years||2,300 mg/day||2,300 mg/day|
|9–13 years||2,500 mg/day||2,300 mg/day|
|14–18 years||3,000 mg/day||2,300 mg/day|
|19+ years||3,400 mg/day||2,600 mg/day|
Deficiency Of Potassium In Your Body:
Potassium is one of the most essential elements of the human body. If the element is not present in correct amounts in the body, then one can develop fatal health disorders such as hypokalemia, along with other types of diseases such as follows:
- kidney diseases such as kidney stones or renal failures
- excessive sweating
- diarrhea and indigestion
- nausea and vomiting
Once you start noticing these symptoms, try to consult your health care expert, so that you can detect the potassium deficiency in your body and replenish it to stay healthy.
Overdose Of Potassium In Your Body:
As there is a saying, too much of anything is not good. So, when excess potassium content is in your body, you are likely to develop a disease known as hyperkalemia. Though the chance of occurrence of this type of disease is quite rare, those who consume a balanced diet every day and intake a proper dose of potassium, but this disease includes certain risk factors such as follows:
- risks of kidney malfunctions that might require dialysis
- consumption of excessive amounts of potassium supplements
- exercise and workouts for long hours every day
- abnormal heart rate or arrhythmia
- use of alcohol or any other drugs such as cocaine
- excessive use of potassium-conserving diuretics
- those who have cancer and are under chemotherapy
- people who have high blood sugar levels or diabetes
- severe burns
Overdose of potassium in your body can be lethal and in most severe conditions can even lead to chances of death. So, it is highly crucial to consult your concerned health care expert whenever you feel it is urgent.
Health Benefits Of Potassium Intake:
There are different types of effective health benefits that can be derived from consuming potassium in correct amounts throughout your daily diet. Some of the most important health benefits of potassium are given below:
1. Takes Good Care Of Your Heart:
Consumption of potassium in adequate amounts is linked to a healthy heart. This is because correct proportions of potassium in your body significantly lower the levels of high blood pressure. Apart from this, potassium balances the sodium levels of the body and thus reduces the risk of occurrences of any severe damage to your heart leading to conditions such as heart stroke, heart attack, heart failure, cardiac arrest, or any other type of cardiovascular disorder.
2. Keeps Your Bones and Muscles Healthy:
According to research, it has been found that potassium helps in proper bone growth and development and prevents further fragileness of bones, mostly among older people. Many orthopedics and health care experts have suggested the consumption of fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium or potassium supplements to reduce the chances of bone fractures and for strengthening your body muscles.
3. Improves Your Kidney Health:
Recent research studies that have been conducted in 2015 show that those who consume potassium-rich foods in their daily diet could significantly lower the chances of developing kidney diseases and other kidney-related ailments such as kidney stones.
Different Sources Of Potassium:
Potassium can be easily found in large quantities in fruits and vegetables, particularly among green leafy vegetables. Some of the richest food sources of potassium that you can include in your daily diet are listed below with the proper amounts of potassium content in them:
- Baked sweet potato: 475 mg
- Cooked beet: 909 mg
- Cooked pinto beans: 646 mg
- Baked white potatoes: 544 mg
- Avocado: 485 mg
- Kale: 447 mg
- Bananas: 358 mg
- Cooked peas: 271 mg
- Cooked salmon: 414 mg
- Cooked spinach: 466 mg
- Baked yams: 670 mg
- Grilled Portobello mushrooms: 521 mg
Possible Side Effects Of Potassium:
Though the intake of potassium is quite essential for maintaining a healthy body and staying fit, there are certain cases where potassium intake can become lethal and can lead to adverse health effects for some people. The possible side effects of consumption of potassium are as follows:
- Chances of diarrhea or loose motion
- Nausea which may or may not is accompanied by vomiting
- Stomach upset that can be caused by mild to severe pain, discomfort, and/or gas and bloating
The above ones are some of the mild side effects of potassium. But there are some severe side effects too, but they occur under rare circumstances. Some of the most severe health effects of potassium intake can be listed here as follows:
- Confusion and anxiety
- Occurrences of black or tarry stools
- Sudden mood shifts
- Cold, pale, and gray-colored skin
- Stomach pain and severe discomfort
- Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- Excessive fatigue and tiredness
- Weakness in the legs
The moment you start noticing any of the above symptoms, you should immediately consult your concerned health care expert for help and curing the adverse health effects caused by potassium.
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