Potassium is found in body fluids and is essential for the proper functioning of cells, including nerves. It is present in almost all foods, especially fruit and vegetables, but processed foods contain less than raw foods.
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and is considered an electrolyte.
Potassium deficiency is not usually a problem in the UK, although some drugs can increase potassium losses.
Food Sources of Potassium
Milk and yogurt, Many fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, bananas, and potatoes).
High amounts are found in apricots, avocados, bananas, lima beans, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, brown rice, dates, dulse, figs, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, potatoes, raisins, spinach, winter squash, torula yeast, wheat bran, yams, and yogurt.
Benefits and Functions of Potassium
Potassium is an electrolyte (a substance that maintains your body's fluid levels). It helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. Research shows that increasing your potassium intake can lower your blood pressure but too much can derange your electrolyte balance and slow your heart down, sometimes to dangerous levels.
A daily intake of about 3,500 milligrams is needed. Potassium is well absorbed, but is not stored in large quantities in the body.
What are the deficiency symptoms of Potassium?
The kidneys excrete any excesses, but deficiencies are seldom found in people on normal diets, although most people could look at increasing their potassium intake. A deficiency may result in fatigue, cramping legs, muscle weakness, slow reflexes, acne, dry skin, mood changes, irregular heartbeat.
If you are into bodybuilding, it is also a good idea to increase your potassium intake, since potassium is needed to maintain your muscles in good form, controlling your muscle actions, and since potassium is lost in excessive sweating and urine. A great way to include this in your diet is to have a banana, citrus fruit or even a dash of apple cider vinegar.
Overdosage Signs of Potassium
Slower heart beat, Kidney failure. Excess is dangerous especially if the kidneys are not functioning. Excessive amounts in the body (whether due to intake or other causes) may lead to:
Arrhythmia, and ultimately cardiac arrest (heart attack). Metabolic disturbances are also occured.