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Potassium Benefits For The Body



The benefits of potassium for the body are not limited. Potassium is classified as an electrolyte because it is highly reactive in water. When dissolved in water, it produces positively charged ions. This property allows the conduct of electricity, which is essential for many processes throughout the body. 

A diet rich in potassium has also been linked to many powerful health benefits. For example, it may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and help prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.

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Potassium Benefits For The Body

Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body. It helps the body regulate fluids, send nerve signals, and regulate muscle contractions. 80% are in your muscle cells, while 20% are in your bones, liver, and red blood cells.

 

Once in your body, it acts as an electrolyte. The electrolyte decomposes into positive or negative ions that can conduct electricity when in water. For example, potassium ions carry a positive charge. Your body uses this electricity to manage various processes, including fluid balance, nerve signals, and muscle contractions. Therefore, a low or high amount of electrolytes can affect many vital functions.


1- Regulating Fluid Balance

The body is made up of about 60% water. 40% of this water is found inside your cells in a substance called intracellular fluid (ICF). The rest is located outside the cells in areas such as the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and between cells. This fluid is called the extracellular fluid (ECF). 

Interestingly, the amount of water is affected by the concentration of electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium. This is because potassium determines the amount of water inside the cells. On the contrary, sodium determines the amount of water outside the cells.

 

That's why it's essential to make sure you're consuming the proper electrolytes, including potassium. 

Maintaining a good fluid balance is vital for optimal health.

Poor fluid balance can lead to dehydration, affecting the heart and kidneys. 

Eating a diet rich in potassium and staying hydrated helps maintain a good fluid balance.


2- Potassium Is Important For The Nervous System

The nervous system transmits messages between your brain and body. These messages are delivered in the form of nerve impulses and help regulate muscle contractions, heartbeat, reflexes, and many other bodily functions. 

Interestingly, nerve impulses are generated by the transport of sodium ions into cells and potassium ions moving out of cells.

The movement of the ions changes the cell's voltage, which activates a nerve impulse. Unfortunately, low potassium levels in the blood can affect the body's ability to generate nerve impulses. Getting enough potassium from your diet can help you maintain healthy nerve function.

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3- Regulating Muscle And Heart Contractions

Potassium helps the nervous system regulate muscle contractions. However, both low and high blood levels can affect nerve impulses by altering the voltage of neurons. 

The mineral is also crucial for heart health, as its movement in and out of cells helps maintain a regular heartbeat.

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4- Lowering Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and is the leading cause of death worldwide. 

A potassium-rich diet may reduce blood pressure by helping the body get rid of excess sodium. 

High sodium levels can lead to high blood pressure, especially those whose blood pressure is already high.

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5- Stroke Prevention

A stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain. It is the cause of the death of more than 130,000 Americans each year. Eating a diet rich in potassium may help prevent strokes.


6- Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by hollow and porous bones. 

It is often associated with low calcium levels, an essential mineral for bone health. 

A diet rich in potassium may help prevent osteoporosis by reducing the amount of calcium the body loses through urine.


7- Prevent Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are clumps of material that may form in concentrated urine. 

Calcium is a common mineral in kidney stones. Potassium citrate lowers calcium levels in the urine. In this way, potassium may help fight kidney stones.

 

8- Reduce Water Retention

Water retention occurs when excess fluid builds up inside the body. 

Eating large amounts of potassium helps reduce water retention by increasing urine production and decreasing sodium levels.

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The Best Potassium Sources:

Potassium is abundant in many foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and fish. Adequate intake per day is 3500-4700 mg of potassium.

Here's how much potassium you can get from eating (100 grams) of the following foods:

  • Cooked beets: 909 mg
  • Baked potatoes: 670 mg
  • Cooked pinto beans: 646 mg
  • Baked white potatoes: 544 mg
  • Grilled portobello mushrooms: 521 mg
  • Avocado: 485 mg
  • Baked sweet potato: 475 mg
  • Cooked spinach: 466 mg
  • Turnip: 447 mg
  • Cooked salmon: 414 mg
  • Bananas: 358 mg
  • Cooked peas: 271 mg

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency

The lack of any of the nutrients in the body is undesirable, and potassium is no exception. A lack of potassium in the diet may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue and tiredness. 
  • muscle weakness; 
  • Arrhythmia. 
  • flickering; 
  • Anemia. 
  • severe headache; 
  • Hypertension. 
  • Bowel pain. 
  • Swollen glands and diabetes are also severe side effects.

 Potassium FAQ

Are There Potassium-Free Foods?

There are a few foods that are free of potassium, including Refined oils such as canola oil flax oil, in addition to olive oil that contains less than 1 milligram of potassium, and these foods are suitable options for people who suffer from diseases the kidneys.

Do Fruits Contain Potassium?

Fruit, in addition to vegetables, is one of the best natural sources for getting adequate amounts of potassium in the diet and also provides the body with antioxidants and other elements important for health. And examples of potassium-rich fruits are bananas, papaya, mango, raisins, oranges, and melons. And the pear. 

What Are Potassium Salts, And What Are Their Benefits?

Potassium salts are one of the natural mineral salts obtained from sea salts, and it is one of the most used alternatives to sodium salts because of their ability to add a salty taste to food; these salts can contribute to supplying the body with its need of potassium, but potassium salts are not suitable for people who suffer from kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure, and other conditions, so it is recommended to consult a doctor before using it.

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