Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper functioning of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. Together with sodium, calcium and magnesium, potassium forms the group of the most important minerals and electrolytes. Knowing the basic facts about potassium can greatly help us in maintaining full health.
- Why do we need potassium:
Potassium has an important role in body processes, such as the functions of the nerves and muscles, and the maintenance of fluid balance. If you suffer from high blood pressure or if you have heart problems, potassium intake is very important. There is evidence that potassium reduces blood pressure and reduces the risk of arrhythmia. The presence of enough potassium in the body reduces the amount of calcium that is lost in the urine, protects the bones from osteoporosis and reduces the risk of kidney stones. Although potassium is not directly linked to cholesterol, the consumption of potassium-rich foods can contribute to lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
- Symptoms of potassium deficiency:
Potassium is a mineral found in all food groups, but poor feeding habits can cause potassium deficiency in the body. Although the defect is not directly related to any disease, however, receiving enough potassium is particularly important for the overall health and proper functioning of the body, especially for the heart. Potassium deficiency is called hypokalemia and occurs when the potassium level in the body is below normal. Some of the symptoms that occur in potassium deficiency are: Malaise, fatigue, cramps in the muscles, constipation and abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). If you are suspected of having a potassium deficiency, consult a doctor.
- Risk groups for potassium deficiency:
Although potassium can be easily reimbursed through the diet, some groups of people are more likely to have a deficiency of this mineral. Athletes – As athletes sweep more, they lose more potassium. Athletes should pay particular attention to the intake of sufficient potassium. People who consume alcohol – The more you drink, the more you urinate, and thus lose potassium. People who take certain medications – Drugs that have a diuretic effect can easily contribute to the onset of hypokalemia.
- Recommended daily potassium requirements:
The recommended daily potassium requirements vary depending on the age of the person. Newborns (0-6 months) – 400mg; Babies (6-12 months) – 700mg; Children (1-3 years) – 3 000mg; Children (4-8 years old) – 3 800mg; Children (9-13 years) – 4,500mg; Teenagers (14-18 years) – 4,500mg; Adults (19 years and up) – 4 700mg.
- Foods rich in potassium:
Properly balanced nutrition should also bring you enough potassium, therefore the lack of potassium in people who practice a balanced diet is a very rare occurrence. Most potassium has in the juice of orange, potatoes, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, melon, apricots, strawberries, spinach and milk. But there is also potassium in the cabbage, blue eggplant, figs, plums, mushrooms, almonds, peanuts, cucumbers, tuna, sardines and most types of meat and fish. Here are some additional tips to help you get more potassium through food: Do not overdo it with cooking – Potassium levels in many types of foods may drop by as much as 60% if you overdo it with cooking. Do not cook vegetables in plenty of water – Vegetables that are boiled in large amounts of water lose a lot of the potassium they contain in the cooking process. Avoid processed foods – As much as you can consume fresh unprocessed foods. Processed foods contain very little potassium.