Friday, 1 November 2019

Potassium

               
         

Potassium plays an important role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Its deficiency is characterized by an increase in blood pressure, fatigue, salt sensitivity, irritability and kidney stones. As deficiency progresses, symptoms like irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, and glucose intolerance will be experienced. An average intake for potassium for adults is 4700 milligrams (4.7g) per day.
  Potassium toxicity (overdose) from natural sources is nearly impossible except through overconsumption of potassium salts or supplements.
  Low levels of potassium in the diet plays an important role in the development of high blood pressure. Low potassium intakes raise blood pressure, while high potassium intakes together with low sodium intakes prevent and correct hypertension.

NB: some diuretics(drugs) used to treat high blood pressure deplete the body potassium. Thus, people who take potassium-wasting diuretics need to monitor their potassium intakes carefully.
    
  Rich sources of potassium include purple fresh fruits/vegetables(e.g. eggplant, beetroot), banana, orange, sun-dried tomatoes, honeydew, dates, pears, avocados, whole-wheat products, coconut water, walnuts, non-fat dairy products, shrimp, fish, chicken, vegetables (cucumber, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, pumpkin leaves(ugu), carrots, broccoli etc) and legumes like kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, etc.

Why You Need Potassium

For starters, it helps your blood pressure. It does this in two different ways:
  • It aids your kidneys. Potassium helps remove extra sodium from your body through your urine. This is a good thing, because too much sodium can cause high blood pressure.

  • It also helps the walls of your blood vessels to relax or loosen up. When they’re too tense or rigid, it can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause heart problems. Getting enough potassium is good for your heart.
You also need enough potassium for good muscle health -- so that your muscles can flex or contract the way they should. And your nerves need potassium so that they can work well.