Potassium Benefits, Recommended Intake & Word of Caution

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Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and is a powerful element in improving health. It contains the components for maintaining a high level of well-being and an improved lifestyle. You should not underestimate the importance of potassium in your dietary plan.

Apart from acting as an electrolyte, this mineral is required for keeping the heart, brain, kidney, muscle tissue, and other important organ systems of the human body in a good condition. Potassium chloride is the main variety of this mineral, and it works in association with sodium to perform a number of critical tasks within the body.

It is often considered an essential nutrient that cures blood pressure, reduces anxiety and stress, and improves many more health disorders. Let’s take a look at the common benefits in detail.

Health Benefits Of Potassium

1. Alleviate High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

According to a recently updated Harvard Medical School publication, “the average American diet delivers too much sodium and too little potassium,” which is highly counterproductive when it comes to discouraging high blood pressure. Studies show that a diet high in potassium, especially potassium from fruits and vegetables, lowers blood pressure. This is especially true if the increase in potassium foods is not accompanied by an increase in high-sodium foods. One group that shouldn’t aim too high with potassium intake is people with kidney problems.

2. 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 of 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. However, a sufficient potassium intake can help prevent this.

One study found that participants that took in 5,266 milligrams of potassium per day maintained an average of 3.6 more pounds of lean tissue mass than those with a potassium intake 50 percent lower. Some studies also show an increase in bone density with high potassium intake.

3. Potassium May Decrease the Risk of Diabetes

Potassium is important for insulin secretion from the pancreatic cells. Low potassium intake or blood potassium level is associated with an increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes, especially in African Americans and those on thiazide diuretic treatment.

Potassium depletion studies show that low serum potassium decreases glucose tolerance associated with reduced insulin secretion, and lead to marked alterations in glucose metabolism. Studies show that high potassium intake is associated with a 39% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome in both men and women.

4. Better Brain Function

Your brain does its best work when your potassium level is maintained. Go a long time without enough potassium and your brain could end up paying the price. It’s best to avoid the situation altogether by ensuring you’re getting adequate potassium.

In order to get the best and most noticeable results, try to get the recommended amount of potassium each day, which is 3.5 grams. It may involve cutting out processed food and stressing fresh fruits and vegetables, but it’s worth the effort and will pay dividends in the form of better brain health.

How does Potassium help? Potassium helps send more oxygen to your brain, which lets it do its job better. When you don’t get enough you’re limiting the amount of oxygen that makes it to your brain and you’ll experience the side effects, which may be subtle at first but will worsen until the problem is corrected.

5. Boosts Metabolism

Potassium assists in the metabolic processing of various nutrients like fats and carbohydrates. Thus, it is of a great value in extracting energy from the nutrients that are consumed. Studies have shown that this mineral is also an integral part of the synthesis of protein, which has an impact on tissue regeneration, cell growth, and an overall balanced metabolism.

6. Reduced Stress Levels

We could all use a little less stress in this modern world of ours, and a proper potassium level is key to handling the triggers of everyday life. You may not even notice when you’re low on potassium and it’s causing excess stress because it may seem normal to you now, or you may have labeled yourself as a stressful person. Because potassium is used by every cell in your body to continue on with its function, it only stands to reason that when you’re not getting enough you won’t be able to cope as well with stress.

7. Balancing Your Fluid

If you want to get enough fluid in your body, it’s easy. Just drink enough water and done. However, are you sure the fluid is balanced? Balancing your electrolytes will help your bloodstream healthy. Not only potassium, but there are many kinds of minerals that can be used to maintain your electrolytes balance. Combining calcium and potassium will end up with a great balance of your electrolytes. Drink enough water daily and pay attention to your sodium and potassium intake. Water is the most important thing for balancing your fluid and it should be supported with beneficial minerals.

How Much Potassium You Should Be Taking In

According to the Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of potassium is:

→ Infants 0–12 months: 400–700 milligrams/day
→ Children 1–8 years: 3,000–3,800 milligrams/day
→ Teens 9–18 years: 4,500–4,700 milligrams/day
→ Adults age 19 and older, men and women: 4,700 milligrams/day
→ Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: 5,100 milligrams/day

Athletes who work out for more than an hour most days may need even more potassium, and intakes vary based on muscle mass, activity levels, etc.

Also read:
8 Foods With More Potassium Than A Banana
6 Alarming Symptoms of Low Potassium Levels in the Body
Foods That Are High In Potassium To Keep Your Health Strong

Potassium Supplements

A staggering low percentage of Americans actually consume enough potassium on a regular basis. Some studies show it’s as low as just 2 percent. However, as easy as it may sound to simply add a potassium supplement to your daily routine, studies also show quite demonstrably that dietary potassium is far more beneficial than supplemental potassium, likely due to the countless additional nutrients found in potassium-rich foods. So before you add a supplement to your cart, speak to your doctor or health professional to see how you might adjust your diet first to boost your potassium intake.

Word of Caution

Excess of this mineral in the body can be harmful; for example, patients with kidney issues who cannot properly process this mineral may have dangerously high levels. This can lead to heart diseases, muscle paralysis, troubled breathing, tingling in the hands and feet, heart arrhythmia, and nausea. Potassium can be a miraculous addition to certain diets, but always be careful that you don’t overdo, and if you choose to include potassium supplements in your diet, consult your doctor first.

Sources & References:
www.organicfacts.net
draxe.com
www.selfhacked.com
bembu.com
www.swansonvitamins.com
drhealthbenefits.com

Healthy Food MasterVitamins and Mineralshealth,Potassium
image source: Pixabay Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and is a powerful element in improving health. It contains the components for maintaining a high level of well-being and an improved lifestyle. You should not underestimate the importance of potassium in your dietary plan. Apart from...
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