Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Importance of Potassium:
Potassium is a mineral salt (electrolyte) that is essential for maintaining the balance of pH levels in our body fluids. It plays an important role in regulating our blood pressure, bone mass, nervous system, muscle function, and heart, kidney, and adrenal functions. Low levels of potassium can cause potassium deficiency and bring on a whole host of health problems.
People with a potassium deficiency are said to be suffering from Hypokalemia. There are a number of causes that can bring on potassium deficiency The usual suspects are a poor or inadequate diet that precludes potassium rich foods, or too many experimental and fad diets. People with diabetes and kidney problems are also likely to suffer from mineral imbalance.
You will know that you are deficient in potassium if you find yourself experiencing an overall weakness and seem to be constantly fatigued. You're also likely to have trouble concentrating on your daily tasks, and may have difficulty with muscular coordination. Potassium deficiency can lead to high blood pressure problems, hypertension, strokes, and heart irregularities. So, if you suspect something of the sort, go see your doctor.
The Importance of Potassium Rich Foods:
If you follow a healthy, well-balanced, and plentiful diet of foods high in potassium, it is not likely that you will need to worry about suffering from mineral imbalance. Potassium is naturally found in fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. Meat, Poultry and Fish foods are high in potassium too, but an entirely carnivorous diet will be detrimental to your health, causing a rise in acid levels and depleting potassium levels.
A number of potassium supplements are available too in the market, and quite a few people include these in their daily regimen. This is not really necessary if, as mentioned, your meals contain enough potassium high foods, and it is best not to go for any kind of potassium supplements without first consulting your doctor. An excess of potassium is equally likely to spell trouble. Unless your doctor gives you the go ahead, you would be better off really just reaching for another cantaloupe slice, another banana, a handful more of strawberries, and adding a pinch of turmeric to many of your cooked meals.
Some people, of course, don't have much choice. Various ailments deem it necessary for them to monitor their potassium intake, and so it is necessary for them to take supplements which inform them about the exact amount of potassium that is daily ingested.
Athletes and other sports people also require potassium supplements. If you exercise rigorously, keep it mind that sweating overmuch brings about mineral imbalance and you should take frequent breaks to refuel depleting potassium levels with electrolyte drinks and energy bars.
While having a fit body is becoming pretty important in our society these days, never, never, never go for starvation diets. There are many ways of getting into shape without ruining your health. Explore those other avenues.
What foods are high in potassium?
Aside from the aforementioned cantaloupe, potassium rich foods include:
Here is a list of some foods high in potassium and their potassium content from the USDA National Nutrient Database:
Potassium Rich Foods Weight Measure Potassium Content
Raw, baby carrots 10 1 medium 24 mg
Raw Lettuce 10 1 leaf 19 mg
Raw Onions 14 1 slice 20 mg
Fresh Strawberries 12 1 strawberry 18 mg
Raw Garlic 3 1 clove 12 mg
Honey 21 1 tablespoon 11 mg
Raw Radishes 4.5 1 radish 10 mg
Raw Peppers 10 1 ring 18 mg
White Bread 23 1 slice 17 mg
Papayas 304 1 papaya 781 mg
Lima Beans 188 1 cup 955 mg
Plantains 179 1 medium 893 mg
Jerusalem Artichokes 150 1 cup 644 mg
Bananas 118 1 banana 422 mg
Oat Bran 94 1 cup 532 mg
Tomatoes 255 1 cup 528 mg
Cucumber 301 1 large 442 mg
Cantaloupe 160 1 cup 427 mg
Pears 275 1 pear 333 mg
Mangoes 207 1 mango 323 mg
**Personal Note on this: I don't know about you, but I know I have issues with making my recommended daily intake of potassium and I am also aware that it is a highly important item in my daily diet. I was going to buy a supplement, but upon reading the label determined that it wouldn't help me much as the supplement pills (all of them it seems) for potassium only contain 3% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. So, I am striving to find a better way to get the potassium I need thru foods that have it naturally, and I know that's the better way to get it anyway.