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Potassium is necessary for the normal functioning of all cells. It regulates the heartbeat, ensures that the muscles and nerves work properly, and is essential for synthesizing protein and metabolizing carbohydrates.
- 1 What Does Potassium Do For The Human Body
- 2 Potassium Rich Foods To Try
- 3 Potassium: Deficiency Signs And What To Do About It
- 4 Potassium Supplements Review & Top Picks
What Does Potassium Do For The Human Body
Thousands of years ago, when humans roamed the earth gathering and hunting, potassium was abundant in the diet, while sodium was scarce. The so-called paleolithic diet provided about 16 times more potassium than sodium. Today, most Americans get less than half the recommended amount of potassium in their diets. The average American diet contains about twice as much sodium as potassium, due to the preponderance of salt hidden in processed or prepared foods, not to mention the lack of potassium in those foods. This imbalance, which is at odds with how humans evolved, is believed to be a major contributor to high blood pressure, which affects one in three American adults.
How Much Potassium In Corn?
The adequate recommendation for potassium intake is 4,700 mg. Bananas are often touted as a good source of potassium, but other fruits (like apricots, prunes, and orange juice) and vegetables (like squash and potatoes) also contain this often-neglected nutrient.
Diets that emphasize greater potassium intake may help keep blood pressure within a γ range, compared to low-potassium diets. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study compared three regimens. The standard diet, roughly what many Americans eat, contained an average of 3.5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, providing 1,700 mg of potassium per day. There were two comparison diets: a fruit and vegetable-rich diet containing an average of 8.5 daily servings of fruit and vegetables, providing 4,100 mg of potassium per day, and a “combination diet” containing the same 8.5 servings of fruit and vegetables plus low-fat dairy products and reduced sugar and red meat. In people with normal blood pressure, the fruit and vegetable-rich diet lowered blood pressure by 2.8 mm Hg (in the systolic reading) and 1.1 mm Hg (in the diastolic reading) more than the standard diet. The combination diet lowered blood pressure by 5.5 mm Hg and 3.0 mm Hg more than the standard diet. In people with high blood pressure, the combination diet lowered blood pressure even more, by as much as 11 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 5.5 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke, so it’s no surprise that higher potassium is also associated with a lower stroke incidence. A prospective study that followed more than 43,000 men for eight years found that men who consumed the highest amounts of potassium (median of 4,300 mg per day) were 38% less likely to have a stroke than those whose median intake was just 2,400 mg per day day. However, a similar prospective study that followed more than 85,000 women under the age of 14 found a more modest association between potassium intake and the risk of stroke. Additional research has mostly upheld these findings, with the strongest evidence supporting high dietary potassium seen in people with high blood pressure and in blacks, who are more likely to develop high blood pressure than whites.
To learn more about the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, read Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals, a special report from Harvard Medical School.
Know Your Brain: Sodium Potassium Pump
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Potassium Rich Foods To Try
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Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to cataract treatment advice. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. Like the majority of the population, you’re likely not getting enough potassium, and that means you’re missing out on a host of health benefits. Read the top 5 health benefits here.
Potassium helps preserve muscle mass and helps build muscle, while helping to ease the pain of cramps, torn muscles and lady cramps for that time of the month!. Therefore, a diet high in potassium is essential for athletes and anyone who works out and builds muscle.
Potassium: Deficiency Signs And What To Do About It
If you’ve never had to worry about cellulite, hats off to you, but if you’re a woman and human, you should know that potassium can help, because potassium flushes out the fluid retention that causes sin and cellulite. This reduces cellulite and improves the appearance of your skin.
Potassium is good for managing high blood pressure as it helps relieve tension in the blood flow and also reduces the amount of sodium in the body.
Besides being good for managing blood pressure, it also promotes heart and brain health, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
Not only does it help bone density, making your bones stronger, it also has a big impact on dental health too.
Carnivore Diet Potassium: Risks, Benefits, And Foods
The average daily potassium intake from food is 3,016 mg for men and 2,320 mg for women. Although most people don’t get enough, you also need to be careful about getting too much, as it can be life-threatening, as it puts a heavy strain on your kidneys and can cause kidney failure.
Lima beans are a type of white bean, they come in both small (butter beans) and large types. The larger type of lima beans has 1744 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Bananas are known to be rich in potassium but bananas contain only 358 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Potatoes in general contain a lot of potassium, however sweet potatoes are the healthiest variety and sweet potatoes contain 337 mg of potassium per 100 grams
Potassium Supplements Review & Top Picks
Although broccoli is less rich in potassium, it is an easily available food source and contains 316 mg of potassium per 100 grams. Are you tired of hearing about everything you should eat less of? If so, you’ll want to read about something that not only can you eat more of, but also protects your heart, bones and muscles: potassium!
Heart. Potassium is a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, reduce the risk of stroke and lower blood pressure. It appears to offset some of the harmful effects of a high-sodium (or salt) diet, making blood vessels less rigid and helping the body excrete sodium.
Bone. There is a positive correlation between bone health and a diet high in potassium. Potassium-rich foods produce alkali in the body to maintain acid-base balance. To see how bones are involved, imagine a diet high in grains and protein foods with very little fruit and vegetables. This diet makes the body acidic and sends a signal to the bones to neutralize that acid by breaking down bones to release alkali (base). Adding potassium-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet makes the body more alkaline, allowing your bones to hold onto their structure.
Muscles. Potassium is needed for muscle contraction, communication between muscles and nerves and overall muscle function. Because muscles are found throughout your body, including your arms, legs, and respiratory and digestive tracts, a low-potassium diet can contribute to fatigue and indigestion.
Potassium Homeostasis: Video, Anatomy & Definition
Despite all these benefits, the average potassium intake in the United States is only 2,650 milligrams each day, compared to the recommended 4,700 milligrams. So what is the best food of this nutrient?
Fruit naturally contains a lot of potassium. Apart from the well-known banana, dried fruit, cantaloupe, peaches, apples and oranges are the highest s, followed by almost all other fruits. Aim for at least three servings each day, where one serving is ¼ cup dried and ½ cup fresh, canned (in water), frozen, or juiced.
Vegetables are also high in potassium, with green leafy vegetables leading the way along with orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Other vegetables are good too, and research suggests we need four servings daily.
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