Potassium is a fundamental mineral for the body, but how does consuming potassium benefit the body? The advantages of consuming it are many, but its muscular and cardiac benefit is medically recognized.
According to its definition it is an electrolyte mineral, that is, it is found in the blood, but also obtained by the body by consuming some foods, fruits and vegetables. It is also known as Kalium, from which it derives its symbol K.
Benefits of potassium consumption
After calcium and phosphorus, it is the third mineral that the body needs, since it balances the water balance, which leads to the proper functioning of the kidneys or the adrenal glands, as well as reducing stress and regulating energy production.
Likewise, this mineral along with calcium and magnesium, develops vital cellular functions, specifically in the excitability of the heart, that is, it is a key element for myocardial movement and the activation of enzyme systems. The aforementioned trio of minerals normalizes our heart rate, hence its importance for our health.
Stimulates bowel movement
Also, a benefit of potassium consumption for the body is that it stimulates bowel movements and daily bowel movements. They are recognized as benefits of the consumption of this mineral that it fights fatigue, converts glucose into glycogen, builds proteins, carries oxygen to the brain and stimulates nerve impulses.
Another aspect in which potassium provides well-being is the regulation of blood pressure and that it contributes to normal growth. We must remember that a body without potassium is the target of various disorders, such as constipation, nausea and vomiting, fluid retention, accumulation of organic waste that harms our body and weakness or fatigue.
Potassium deficiency problems
Those who do not consume potassium regularly are exposed to heart rhythm difficulties, bone pain, joint pain, and muscle cramps. Another detriment of the lack of this mineral is that it can generate hypoglycemia, hypokalemia, mental confusion and lack of reflexes.
When it comes to a chronic deficiency of this mineral, the first signs to appear are acne breakouts and dry skin. Dr. Elson M. Haas, from the PeriodicParalysis International portal maintains that the ideal is to consult a specialist who certifies if there is a potassium deficiency and how to solve it.
Healthy and balanced diet
There is no doubt about the importance of consuming potassium. And it is by eating a healthy and balanced diet that a good level of potassium is achieved. The recommendation is to increase the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, such as bananas or tomatoes, which are foods with large doses of potassium.
Foods rich in potassium and recommended consumption
How Much Potassium Does the Average Healthy Adult Need? About 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day. Here are just a few of the great sources of potassium from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
• 1 medium baked potato with skin: 930mg
• 1 cup cooked spinach: 840 mg
• 1 cup diced melon: 430 mg
• 1 medium banana: 420 mg
• 1 cup carrots, chopped: 410 mg
• 1 cup of low-fat milk: 350 to 380 mg
• 1 cup cooked quinoa: 320 mg
Likewise, another great source of this mineral are nuts or legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas and mainly meat. Joining the list are foods such as:
• Leafy vegetables, such as spinach or collard greens.
• Fruits, including blackberries, grapes, tomatoes, oranges, nectarines, grapefruits, cantaloupes, cantaloupe, kiwi, prune juice, and bananas
• Vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, and water chestnuts
• Beans, such as lima beans
• Nuts and seeds, such as pistachios, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
• Dairy products, including fat-free yogurt and fat-free or low-fat milk
• Meat, poultry and fish, such as grouper and tuna.
• Cocoa powder
Some people, especially those with kidney problems, can benefit from a low potassium diet.
Other benefits of potassium
The Department of Nutrition of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Agriculture of the United States, indicates that both for babies, children and adults the adequate intake of potassium is between 400 and 4,700 milligrams per day. For pregnant women, it is specified that the daily requirement is 4700 milligrams, and during lactation it will be 5100 milligrams. It should be noted that during pregnancy, the body requires specific amounts of potassium, as it maintains the body's fluid and electrolyte balance.
Ideal for pregnancy
The potassium is essential in muscle contraction in the transmission of nerve impulses, and the energy release of vital nutrients such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Combined with sodium, the presence of this mineral moderates the level of blood pressure, one of the most important medical factors in pregnancy.
On the other hand, women after menopause are also favored with the consumption of potassium, since it is effective in preventing strokes.
This is reported by the results of a study published in the journal Stroke, involving 90,137 postmenopausal women, aged between 50 and 79 years, and it was shown that those who consumed a greater amount of the mineral were 12% less likely to suffer a stroke and 16% less tendency to suffer an ischemic stroke.
The benefits of potassium can also be used by athletes and its combination with magnesium improves relaxation and muscle recovery. If you do physical exercise, you have to know that these two minerals are essential in our diet, because they reinforce physical performance, reducing the feeling of fatigue, and recovering muscle tone.
Health risks of taking too much potassium
As essential as potassium is, it's not just about increasing your potassium intake. Too little or too much potassium in the blood can cause some serious health problems, and there are often no symptoms of either problem.
Some people are more at risk of developing high potassium levels than others. Your kidneys help regulate the amount of potassium in your body. People who have kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease, should not get too much potassium; If they do, they could develop too much potassium in the blood, which is also known as hyperkalemia.
Hormonal imbalances may be to blame for a range of unwanted symptoms from fatigue or weight gain to itchy skin or low mood. Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream. An imbalance occurs when there is too much or too little of a hormone.