Potassium and You
The importance of Potassium
Potassium is more important than most people think.
- It is a mineral that helps our kidneys function properly.
- It helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
- The proper level of potassium helps lower blood pressure while helping the heart beat properly. It is important for normal digestion and correct muscular function.
- Potassium also help lower the risk of strokes.
- The proper amount of potassium intake can also help prevent kidney stones.
The best way to obtain a healthy level of potassium is by following a heart-healthy diet. Heart-healthy diets contain healthy levels of potassium from fruit, vegetables and legumes. What are legumes you might ask. A few examples of pods contained in the legume family are: alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, soy and peanuts.
Staying healthy with a potassium rich diet is just a matter of eating foods high in potassium. It sounds hard but it is so much easier than you think. Some people may need a supplement or vitamin to help them along. Make sure you get advice from your doctor.
What causes an insufficiency of potassium?
If you are plagued with any of these diseases or have noticed any of these things happening to you please try to help yourself by eating healthier and see a doctor.
- insufficient intake of potassium in diet
- eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia
- excessive vomiting
- magnesium deficiency
- renal disease
- side effects of antibiotics and diuretics
- thyroid problems
- overuse of laxatives
- excessive drinking of alcohol
Symptoms of low Potassium levels
There are many symptoms of low potassium, the following are the ones that are most noticed. If you have some of these symptoms please see a doctor.
heart problems including palpitations
fainting due to low blood pressure
If you have a combination of these symptoms you should get in touch with a doctor and have them check out your potassium level. A low potassium level is nothing to play with.
Good food sources of potassium
Fish and Meat:
Absolutely Delicious Potassium Rich Smoothie Recipe
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 medium banana, sliced
1 kiwi fruit, sliced
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 cup water
Blend all ingredients until smooth and thick.
Potassium Rich Avocado Orange Salad
Ingredients of salad:
1 bag prepared salad greens
2 oranges, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 to 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Ingredients of salad dressing:
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
dash of red pepper
Directions: Arrange green on a platter and top with oranges, avocados and scattered sunflower seeds. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad.
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On the Other Hand...
It is also possible to have too much potassium. According to the Mayo Clinic the normal range is between 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter of blood. Anything over 5.5 is critically high, over 6 can be life threatening.
So, what can cause high potassium? Kidney failure or kidneys that are not functioning the way they should cannot remove extra potassium from your body causing your potassium level to soar.
Internal bleeding, type 1 diabetes, Addison's disease, dehydration, heavy drinking, use of drugs, some medications, improper use of potassium supplements, as well as traumas such as severe burns or injuries where the body is crushed.
As you can see too much of too little can put you in medical danger.
© 2009 Susan Hazelton