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Benefits of Potassium for Health and Natural Foods Containing Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that plays an important role in the body. The benefits of potassium vary widely, from transmitting nerve signals throughout the body to regulating fluid balance.

Potassium cannot be produced by the human body naturally, so to meet its needs, it is important to eat foods that contain potassium.

Each person's potassium needs are different, both in children and adults. Here are the details:
  • 0-6 months: 400 milligrams
  • 7-12 months: 700 milligrams
  • 1-3 years: 3,000 milligrams
  • 4-8 years: 3,800 milligrams
  • 9-13 years: 4,500 milligrams

Several organizations in the world suggest that adults should meet the potassium needs of 3500 mg per day through food. If you want to take potassium supplements, it's best to consult your doctor first.

Benefits of Potassium for Human Health


The following are the benefits of potassium which are the reasons it is important to meet daily potassium needs:

1. Against Osteoporosis

As people age, bones tend to become brittle. In addition, a lot of consumption of meat and milk can cause the body to contain too much acid, thereby weakening the bones faster.

Foods that contain potassium, such as fruits and vegetables can slow this down, thereby "fighting" osteoporosis.

2. Maintain Fluid Balance

One of the benefits of potassium is as a balance of fluids in the body. You need to know that the body consists of as much as 60 percent fluid. As much as 40 percent of the fluid is inside the cell (intracellular fluid), while the other 20 percent is outside the cell (extracellular).

The amount of fluid inside and outside the cell is influenced by electrolytes from sodium and potassium. Sodium acts as the main electrolyte outside the cells, while potassium or potassium plays an important role in determining the amount of water in the cells.

That is the reason it is important to maintain an electrolyte balance of sodium and potassium. If not, the body can become dehydrated, which in turn can affect the work of the kidneys and heart.

3. Preventing Kidney Stones

More acid in the body can lead to kidney stones. Well, the benefits of getting enough potassium can help get rid of the acid that causes kidney stones and prevent painful stones from forming.

4. Helps Work Body Nerve Function

The body's nervous system functions as a messenger between the brain and body. The messages conveyed are conveyed in the form of nerve impulses.

Nerve impulses are formed by sodium ions moving into the cell and potassium ions moving out of the cell. Now, if the need for potassium is not fulfilled, the nerve impulses produced by the body will decrease.

5. Helps Muscle Performance

The benefits of potassium if obtained properly can help the muscles work properly. Keep in mind, lack or excess of potassium, can actually make the muscles weak or make them squeezed, so they don't function properly.

6. Helps Prevent High Blood Pressure

Sodium in salt can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. Getting enough potassium can help you get rid of sodium and relieve tension in the walls of blood vessels.

7. Helps Prevent Stroke

Stroke occurs when blood flow is restricted or cut off to parts of the brain. Often times this disease occurs due to broken or blocked blood vessels. High blood pressure can make the condition worse.

The benefits of potassium can prevent it if the levels in the body are right. You can also avoid signs of stroke, including slurred speech, arm weakness, or drooping on one side of the face. Immediately consult your doctor, if you suffer from some of the symptoms as above.

Effects If Deficiency and Excess Potassium


Lack of potassium will lead to several serious health problems, and vice versa. The effects of potassium deficiency and excess for the body are as follows:

1. Impact of Lack of Potassium

Symptoms of potassium deficiency or hypokalemia will depend on how badly you are deficient in potassium.

If the deficiency is slight, such as sweating a lot after high-intensity exercise, potassium levels will return to normal after you eat or drink electrolyte fluids, before the disturbance occurs.

However, if the body loses a lot of potassium, this can be life threatening. Symptoms can include:
  • Excessive tired
  • Muscle spasm, feeling weak, or muscle cramps
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Constipation, nausea and vomiting

2. Impact of Excess Potassium

Excess potassium or hyperkalemia can result from several conditions, such as:
  • Take too many potassium supplements
  • Kidney illness
  • Exercise prolonged at one time
  • Cocaine use
  • Use of drugs that retain potassium in the body
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Extensive burns

The symptoms most often seen in hyperkalemia are irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. If the case is severe, it can even lead to death.

Mild cases usually show no symptoms. How to confirm this can be through taking blood samples and checking levels of potassium and other electrolytes.

Natural Foods Containing the Most Potassium


The following are some types of high-potassium foods that can be consumed daily:

1. Bananas

Each banana contains about 420 mg of potassium. The complex carbohydrates and fiber in it are also able to make the stomach feel full longer and help increase energy. In addition, bananas also contain other important nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

2. Potatoes

In one potato, it contains 600 mg of potassium. Potatoes also provide a variety of other nutrients, including carbohydrates, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, and iron.

However, pay attention to how the potatoes are served. Baking is one of the best ways to prepare potatoes. Also, avoid adding other ingredients, such as sauce, salt, or cheese to excess.

3. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are said to have a higher potassium content than bananas. The potassium content of one medium sweet potato can reach 700 mg. Moreover, sweet potato calories are classified as lower and are equipped with fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin C, and beta carotene which are beneficial for the body.

4. Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are a great source of potassium. However, tomatoes that have been processed into sauces, or tomatoes that have been dried contain more potassium. The potassium content in a bowl of dried tomatoes can reach 1800 mg.

Apart from being high in potassium, dried tomatoes are also rich in other nutrients, such as fiber, protein, lycopene, and vitamin C which are very good for helping to boost the immune system.

5. Kidney beans

Kidney beans or red beans are a good source of potassium. In 100 grams of kidney beans, it contains about 600 mg of potassium. After boiling, kidney beans can be consumed directly or mixed into salads. Other options that are also rich in potassium are soybeans and edamame.

6. Avocado

One avocado contains about 900 mg of potassium. Avocado can be mixed in a variety of foods, or made into juice along with banana, coconut water, and low-fat yogurt.

7. Seafood

Most types of seafood are high in potassium, especially shellfish, tuna, salmon and mackerel. In addition, sea fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

Even so, you need to be careful about eating sea fish. Make sure the fish you are consuming does not have high mercury content. In addition, avoid processing fish by frying it.

8. Milk

One glass of milk contains about 350 mg of potassium. While fat-free milk, can reach nearly 400 mg of potassium. The higher the fat content in milk, the lower the potassium content.

Yogurt can be an alternative to dairy products that are rich in potassium. One cup of yogurt contains 350-500 mg of potassium. Another benefit of yogurt is that it contains probiotics which are good for digestion.

Although it has various benefits, potassium is not recommended to be consumed in excess, especially in people with kidney disease and heart problems. If you have certain medical conditions, you should first consult with your doctor about the recommended amount of potassium intake.

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