The Benefits of Potassium in your diet

If you want to keep your potassium levels up, it is advisable to add more raisins, potatoes, avocados, bananas, pork, cauliflower, tomatoes and chicken to your diet.  Tuna, whole-wheat bread, peas, eggs and oranges are also good sources of potassium.

Potassium is a mineral and because it is so abundant in our food, it is not really necessary to take a supplement.  It works in combination with sodium or salt as an electrolyte, which is a mineral salt that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolytes are very important for balancing body fluids and controlling the acid and alkaline levels in the body.  

It is important to keep the levels of sodium and potassium balanced in the body as too much sodium will cause a disruption in this balance. Our modern diets contain twice as much sodium than potassium, because most foods are processed and we tend to add a lot of condiments to our food when we cook it.  It is therefore important to reduce the salt content in our meals so that we can keep these levels in proper balance.  

When we exercise, much of the potassium in the body is lost through perspiration.  These levels can be replenished by adding more potassium rich foods to our diet.  

A healthy intake of potassium is good for general health and can even help to maintain normal blood pressure. In fact, a diet high in potassium-rich food may help to protect against heart disease and stroke, according to various studies. One study found that people with high blood pressure who had a daily serving of potassium-rich foods decreased their risk of stroke.  Potassium is also essential for healthy nerve and muscle function, a healthy heart, and proper kidney function.

A deficiency in potassium may lead to a weakness in the muscles, heart arrhythmias, poor bowel movements, depression, confusion, poor kidney function, fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, water retention, excessive thirst, low blood pressure and disturbances in nerve and muscle functioning. 
 
It's important to remember that in most incidences of short term diarrhoea, potassium imbalances are very mild and temporary. The body will adjust itself without the need for any supplementation. It's only when someone has diarrhoea for a long time or when it is accompanied by dehydration, that problems with low potassium can cause complications that may require professionally administered intravenous fluids. These fluids may be made up of potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes. This type of treatment will rectify the imbalance in a few hours. 

 

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