Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body, which plays an essential role in several processes that it carries out. For example, cardiac function, muscular contractions and management of water balance.
About 98% of the potassium in the body is inside the cells . Of this, 80% is within the muscle cells, while 20% is found in bone, liver and red blood cells.
To avoid potassium deficiency, it is advisable to carry out a diet rich in this mineral since you will be less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, kidney stones and osteoporosis, among other diseases.
WHAT CAUSES POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY?
Potassium deficiency is known as hypokalemia , which is characterized by a blood level of potassium less than 3.5 mmol per liter. Fortunately, deficiencies are rarely caused by lack of potassium in the diet.
They usually occur when your body loses too much potassium, such as when you have chronic diarrhea or vomiting. Also, you may lose potassium if you are taking diuretics , which are medicines that cause the body to lose water accumulated.
TYPES OF POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY
Potassium deficiencies vary. These are the symptoms of three different levels:
Mild Deficiency : Usually no symptoms.
Moderate Deficiency : Symptoms include colic, muscle pain, weakness and discomfort.
Severe Deficiency : Symptoms include irregular heartbeat and paralysis.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF POTASSIUM IN HEALTH?
A diet rich in potassium can bring excellent health benefits. Among the best benefits are:
1. REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE
Diets rich in potassium can lower blood pressure, especially for people with high blood pressure. Maintaining stable blood pressure means better heart health and less risk of heart attacks.
2. ELIMINATE SENSITIVITY TO SALT
A diet rich in potassium can eliminate salt sensitivity.
3. PROTECTS AGAINST BRAIN DISEASES
Several studies have stated that a diet rich in potassium can reduce the risk of stroke.
4. PREVENTS OSTEOPOROSIS
A diet rich in potassium may help prevent osteoporosis , a condition that causes bone wear.
5. PREVENTS KIDNEY STONES
Diets rich in potassium are associated with a lower risk of kidney stones compared to diets low in this mineral.
WHAT ARE THE BEST DIETARY SOURCES OF POTASSIUM?
The best way to increase potassium intake is through the daily diet . Faced with this, potassium is found in a variety of whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Due to insufficient potassium, nutrition experts have determined an RDI, which is the daily amount of a nutrient that probably meets the needs of 97-98% of healthy people.
FOODS RICH IN POTASSIUM INCLUDE:
Spinach, cooked: 466 mg
Beans: 436 mg
Salmon, cooked: 414 mg
Bananas: 358 mg
Spinach, cooked: 466 mg
Beet leaves, cooked: 909 mg
Yams, baked: 670 mg
Potatoes: 544 mg
Soybeans, cooked: 539 mg
Avocado: 485 mg
HOW MUCH POTASSIUM SHOULD YOU CONSUME PER DAY?
Daily potassium needs vary depending on some factors, including genes, health status and activity level. Faced with this, various health organizations have recommended consuming at least 3,500 mg per day through food.
These organizations include the World Health Organization (WHO) and countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico and Belgium.
However, there are several groups of people who can benefit from ingesting more potassium, including:
As they participate in intense physical training, in which they can lose significant amounts of potassium through sweat.
Studies have found that consuming 4,700 mg of potassium daily can eliminate salt sensitivity, a condition most common among people of African American descent.
HIGH RISK GROUPS
People at risk for kidney stones, high blood pressure , osteoporosis or stroke can benefit by consuming 4,700 mg of potassium a day.
In conclusion, it is necessary to consume from 3,500 to 4,700 mg of potassium per day, to meet the daily needs of potassium. And, in addition, to take advantage of the excellent benefits that brings the intake of this important mineral.