What is Potassium?
Potassium is one of the elements that the body needs and cannot manufacture, but it must be obtained from foods rich in it. Potassium plays many functional roles in the body.
Potassium is an important element for the body, so it must be obtained daily and in the correct amount, from its food sources, as its low levels in the body may cause a number of health problems. Potassium is a mineral found in many foods. It is an electrolyte that transmits electrical (nervous) impulses through the body. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and maintain water balance in the body. It also plays an important role in the digestion process.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating foods high in potassium and low in sodium may help lower blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is noteworthy that the human body cannot manufacture potassium, so obtaining the appropriate amount from its food sources is necessary, because an increase or decrease in the level of potassium in the body would lead to health problems. The daily requirement recommended by the Food and Drug Administration for potassium intake for adults is 3400 mg for males, 2600 mg for females, 2900 mg for pregnant women, and 2800 mg for lactating women.
Foods that contain potassium
The amount of potassium varies between different foods, and here are some foods rich in potassium: Dried apricots, a rich source of potassium, half a cup of dried apricots contains 1101 mg of potassium, and it is recommended to choose dried apricot varieties Free of added sugar, dried apricots can be eaten as a snack, or used as a delicious ingredient when preparing some types of salads.
Potatoes: Most of the potassium is found in the outer skin of the potato. One medium-sized, unpeeled baked potato contains 941 mg of potassium, and it is recommended to eat grilled and seasoned potatoes without salt to reduce the amount of fat and sodium intake.
Leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables are characterized by a low calorie content that is offset by an abundance of vitamins and minerals. For example, one cup of cooked Swiss chard contains 962 mg of potassium, and one cup of cooked spinach contains 838 mg of it.
Legumes: Legumes (such as lentils and soybeans) are a good source of potassium, and a half cup each of white beans and kidney beans (azuki beans) contains 600 mg of potassium. Seafood: A 3-ounce (85-gram) slice of salmon contains 400 mg of potassium.
Dairy products: Dairy products are famous for their abundant calcium content, and in addition to that they are rich in potassium, as one cup of skimmed or low-fat milk contains an amount of potassium ranging from 350 to 380 mg.
Bananas: Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, as one medium-sized banana contains 422 mg of potassium.
Potassium deficiency in the body
Despite the importance of potassium in the body, many may not meet the recommended daily need for it, which may cause a deficiency in its levels in the body. Symptoms resulting from a lack of potassium in the body vary according to the degree of deficiency. While a temporary deficiency in potassium may not result in any significant symptoms, the deficiency may lead to a number of problems: High blood pressure. Increased risk of kidney stones. Low levels of calcium in the bones. Feeling very tired Muscle weakness or spasm. Irregular heartbeat. Constipation, nausea and vomiting.