Having enough potassium in your diet is essential to maintain a healthy diet but how do you know you are getting enough and where do you get it from?
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for life. An electrolyte, potassium stimulates nerves and muscles through your body. It also helps build proteins and metabolise carbs. But most importantly it’s really good for your cardiovascular system.
Not only does potassium regulate your heartbeat by controlling the rate at which heart muscles contract but it can also help lower blood pressure.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE LACKING IN POTASSIUM?
People deficient in potassium are at risk from high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility.
WHO IS USUALLY DEFICIENT IN POTASSIUM?
Potassium deficiencies are more in common with people who:
- Use certain medicines such as diuretics and certain birth control pills
- Have physically demanding jobs
- Have health conditions that affect digestive absorption such as crohn’s disease
- Are athletes
- Abuse alcohol or drugs
- People who eat lots of processed food – the more sodium you consume, the more potassium your body excretes.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE DEFICIENT?
These are the signs that you could be lacking in potassium:
- Exhausted after a gym session – if you feel wiped out after a regular work out and you know you’re getting enough sleep, lacking in potassium could be the cause.
- High Blood Pressure
- Weak muscles – Potassium aids smooth muscle contraction so when you are lacking in it then your muscles ache and even spasm.
- Heart skips a beat – If your heart speeds up for no reason or you feel palpitations it could be caused by not having enough potassium.
- Feeling dizzy- A drop in potassium can make your heartbreat slow and cause you to feel faint.
- Constipation – It’s not the only thing that can cause you problems with your digestive system but low levels do slow down your bodily functions. It can also cause camps and bloating.
- Tingling – It also helps to keep your nerves in good working order so not having enough can cause pins and needles.
WHERE CAN YOU GET POTASSIUM FROM?
Good natural food sources of potassium include:
- Nuts like almonds and peanuts
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy green vegetables
- Coconut Water
HOW MUCH POTASSIUM DO YOU NEED?
An adult needs to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium everyday so most need to include sources of potassium at every meal.
One baked potato supplies 610 milligrams of potassium and one sweet potato has 694 milligrams. A banana contains 422 milligrams.