Understanding the Role of Potassium an Electrolyte: Key Facts to Know
Our kidneys play a big role in balancing the correct amount of potassium in our body. The kidneys remove excess potassium through the urine to keep a proper balance of potassium in the body.
Its main role in the body is to help maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells. Sodium, on the other hand, maintains normal fluid levels outside of cells.
WHAT DOES POTASSIUM DO TO YOUR BODY?
About 98% of the potassium in our body is found in our cells. Of this, 80% is found in our muscle cells, while the other 20% can be found in our bones, liver, and red blood cells.
Our body is approximately 60% water. 40% of this is found inside the cells. Rest 20% is found outside the cells, in blood and spinal fluid.
Potassium determines the amount of water inside the cells. A potassium-rich diet may reduce blood pressure by helping the body remove excess sodium.
Eating a potassium-rich diet
# May help prevent strokes,
# May increase the Bone mass thus reducing the risk of Osteoporosis
# May help to prevent Kidney stones
# May reduce the problem of water retention.
BENEFITS OF EATING POTASSIUM-RICH FOOD SOURCES
A diet rich in potassium may help you to maintain your weight and increase strength and boost metabolism too.
As a natural muscle relaxant, potassium might help you in attaining sound sleep. Intake of potassium is helpful in curing muscle spasms and muscle cramps.
Also Read: 7 Best Electrolyte Drinks in 2022
WHAT HAPPENS IF POTASSIUM LEVELS ARE LOW?
In case the level of potassium is low in our body, we might have some symptoms like Constipation, Heart palpitations, muscle weakness, tiredness/ fatigue, muscle spasms, numbness, diarrhea, or frequent urination etc.
There might be various reasons for low levels of potassium in our body. Some common ones are:
# Consuming a lot of sodium
# Excessive sweating
# Use of diuretics
# Excessive alcohol intake
# Chronic Kidney disease
# Some medications such as insulin, certain antibiotics etc
# Some cancers
IS POTASSIUM AN ELECTROLYTE?
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps our nerves to function. The other two are sodium and Chloride. It also regularizes the heartbeat, and helps our muscles to contract.
The daily intake of Potassium by a healthy individual should be somewhere around 4000mg.
FRIENDS AND ENEMIES OF POTASSIUM
Vitamin D tends to increase the retention of Potassium in our body. Vitamin B12 also helps push potassium into the blood cells.
Excessive water consumption may lead to the depletion of Potassium in our body.
SOURCES OF POTASSIUM
Some rich sources of potassium are leafy greens, Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, citrus fruits like oranges and sweet lime, fish like salmon, etc.
Banana is the best-known source of potassium but there are other good ones as well like Raisins, tomatoes, spinach, Baked Potato with skin, almonds, sunflower seeds, meats, etc.
If advised to take a potassium supplement, it is best swallowed with a meal or within 30 minutes of the meal.
Also Read: Drinks That Burn Fat While Sleeping
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN POTASSIUM LEVELS ARE HIGH?
If potassium levels are very high, it might cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting. This is termed as a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care.