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POTASSIUM RICH FOODS NUTRITION AND HEALTH FACTS

Updated on March 24, 2011

Eat Foods Rich In Potassium To Prevent Diseases And Stay In Good Health

Potassium is one of the most essential elements whose benefits in our bodies few know about. Minerals help prevent many diseases and should always be included in our diets in the right amounts. Potassium rich foods should be given priority because there are many factors that contribute to its loss and deficiency which leads to hypokalemia. Research conducted on patients admitted in hospitals with different diseases showed that majority of them had inadequate amounts of potassium in their bodies. This proved a strong link between potassium deficiency and wide range diseases affecting the human health.

Eating foods rich in potassium helps in the prevention of many life threatening diseases such as high blood pressure, irregular cardiac rhythm, diabetes and stroke to mention but a few. Potassium maintains the balance of other minerals in the body in order to avoid their excesses or their loss. It more importantly keeps the amounts of sodium in check as these have higher chances of being taken through table salt and many processed foods. Eating less potassium rich foods can also lead to increased loss of calcium through excretion due to poor kidney function and eventually osteoporosis as more calcium gets leached from bones reducing their densities.

Potassium plays the role of an electrolyte in the body and maintains the balance of body. It is mainly found inside body cells and especially more in the muscle tissues. Eating more potassium foods ensures that adequate potassium ions are found inside your body cells in order to balance extracellular sodium ions. This creates a potential difference across the cell’s membrane which allows for conduction of electrical signals. Each cell can send signals to adjacent cells and this helps to improve the body’s nerve system. Most importantly, potassium ions prevent the loss of water from the cells to the external sodium ions. Dehydration takes place if the concentration of sodium ions exceeds that of potassium ions inside the cells. This usually leaves the muscles seriously affected and the entire body becomes weak. All these highlight the need of increasing potassium rich foods in our daily diets.

Many foods we eat do contain potassium but not all of them have adequate amounts that can cater for our daily needs. Some good sources of foods rich in potassium include fruits such as bananas, avocados, apples, grapes, blackberries and many more. Legumes like lima beans and green leafy vegetables are also excellent choices. Meats and dairy products too are foods rich in potassium but these should not be taken regularly as they form acid in the body.

If you get into the habit of eating more potassium rich foods, your muscle function improves while you will feel more energetic and generally in good mood. Potassium improves your nervous system and helps prevent confusion while improving concentration and coordination. You definitely reap many benefits from eating foods rich in potassium but also other essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and others should be part of your diet. Avoid high sodium intakes by only adding a pinch of salt to your food. Those who exercise and sweat more loose more potassium from their bodies and should therefore consider eating more potassium rich foods. Note that potassium supplements should only be taken with an advice from a qualified physician or doctor to avoid an excess of potassium in the body, a dangerous condition known as hyperkalemia.

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