Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. What’s more, a high-potassium diet may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
The Adequate Intake recommendation for potassium is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day for adults. Most adults do not meet this recommendation.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also reported that less than two percent of people in the U.S. meet the daily 4,700-mg potassium requirement. Women consume less potassium than men on average.
Some studies suggest that higher intakes of potassium may reduce the risk of certain diseases including, stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Additionally, researchers have found an inverse relationship between potassium intake and blood pressure in those people with hypertension (high blood pressure) and low levels of potassium.
Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that plays a critical role in many functions of the body, including regulating your heartbeat and blood pressure, proper nerve conduction, protein synthesis, glycogen (storage form of glucose) synthesis, and muscle contraction. It is one of the major minerals responsible for maintaining osmotic pressure in the intra and extracellular environments.
Benefits of Potassium
1. Potassium carries proven health benefits:
It is an electrolyte that counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain consistent blood pressure. Potassium is also important for maintaining the balance of acids and bases in the body. Bases are alkalis that have not yet dissolved in water.
2. Reduction of Stroke:
According to the Centers for Disease Control, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of serious disability in adults. You can lower your chances or prevent the risk ofstroke by taking various actions.
3. Treatment of Hypertension:
High blood pressure can make the heart work too hard and increases the risk of heart disease as well as other health conditions such as stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. In an older but very memorable clinical trial, Dietary Approaches to Reduce Hypertension (DASH) published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers determined that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and with reduced saturated and total fat can substantially lower blood pressure.
4. Increased Bone Mineral Density:
The modern Western diet tends to be relatively low in sources of alkali (fruit and vegetables) and high in sources of acid (fish, meats, and cheeses). When the pH balance is off, the body can take alkaline calcium salts from the bone in order to neutralize the pH.
5. Prevention of Muscle Cramping:
Extensive exercise does require replacement of electrolytes, both potassium and sodium because they are lost through sweat. However, for the prevention of muscle cramping, adequate amounts of potassium and sodium before, during, and after exercise seem to be most important.
6. Potassium Regulates Water Balance:
One of the main functions of potassium is to help control fluid balance within the body. the body to function at its optimal level, there should be a sufficient water balance. If there is an inadequate intake of fluid compared to fluid loss, then dehydration can occur. On the other hand, with excessive water intake and low water clearance, over hydration can occur. Both of these conditions can be significant health risks.
7. Blood pressure and cardiovascular health:
Low potassium intake has repeatedly been linked with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, but ensuring a good intake of potassium may be just as important. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium is crucial to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Potassium may play an important role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. On this note, low serum (blood) and dietary levels of potassium are associated with higher diabetes risk
8. Bone and muscle maintenance:
Potassium-rich foods maintain an alkaline environment in the body, unlike in acidosis. Metabolic acidosis is triggered by a diet full of acidifying foods like meat, dairy products, and processed cereal grains. Acidosis is a common outcome of the typically acidic Western diet.
Acidosis can cause nitrogen excretion, loss in bone mineral density, and muscle wasting. A diet high in potassium can help preserve muscle mass in older people, as well as during conditions that tend to lead to muscle wasting, such as diabetic ketosis.
9. Reducing Stress:
Feeling stressful is normal, but it shouldn’t be too much or you might be feeling depressed as it is increasing. If you feel that you have got enough stress that influences your emotion, take some foods with potassium like banana to handle it. Sometimes low potassium in your body can trigger stress and you just don’t realize it. There are surely many things that can make you feeling stressful, but at least you can try to handle it for feeling better. Enough amount of potassium intake is necessary because there are many cells in your body need them. If they are not enough, they can’t accommodate all the body cells and it can also lead to stress.
10. Kidney Stones:
Abnormally high urinary calcium (hypercalciuria) increases the risk of developing kidney stones. Diets that are high in protein and low in potassium may contribute to increasing stone formation. Increasing potassium intake whether by increasing fruits and vegetables or increasing supplementation may decrease urinary calcium, hence, reducing the risk of kidney stones.
11. May Improve Bone Mineral Density:
Several minerals play a crucial role in bone health, and these include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. One way that potassium may support healthy bone maintenance is by reducing the amount of urinary calcium loss. Additionally, a randomized controlled trial studied the effect of potassium supplementation on 201 elderly adults.
12. Lowering Heart Problems:
Heart disease might occur because of potassium deficiency. If you want to prevent it from happening or you are already diagnosed with heart disease, then consuming potassium can be one of the effective solutions. Potassium can low your blood pressure, which means the cardiovascular system can be more relaxed instead of straining. When the heart is relaxed, it can work better for your body.
Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.