why do we need potassium in the body


If you want a healthy body that supports your lifestyle, you can\’t afford to short-change yourself on potassium. Like many other essential nutrients, it helps build proteins and metabolize carbohydrates. As an electrolyte, potassium stimulates nerves and muscles throughout your body. It even helps your bones retain calcium. However, some of its most vital functions affect your cardiovascular system. Potassium belongs to a group of minerals called electrolytes, which have the ability to carry electrical impulses. In addition to transmitting impulses that stimulate muscles and nerves, potassium works with other electrolytes to maintain the proper amount of fluids in your body. When you consume acidic foods or drinks, it helps ensure that your bodyБs level of acidity stays in a healthy range. Potassium regulates your heartbeat by controlling the rate at which heart muscles contract. When levels of potassium get too low or high, your heartbeat becomes irregular — and your heart can even stop beating. Your potassium levels may be lower than they should be if you are like most Americans and consume only half the potassium you need daily, according to the USDA. High levels of potassium typically result from kidney disease or other medical conditions such as severe burns or bleeding, tumors, injuries and infections.

Sodium and potassium both affect blood pressure, but they have opposite roles. Sodium raises your blood pressure, while potassium lowers it. An article published In the September 2012 issue of БThe American Journal of Clinical NutritionБ reports that 99. 4 percent of all Americans consume more sodium than the American Heart Association\’s recommended daily intake of 1,500 milligrams. This is in sharp contrast to getting just half of the recommended potassium. Consuming a diet high in sodium and low in potassium doubles your risk of dying from a heart attack, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The nutrients associated with building strong bones are calcium and vitamin D, but potassium also affects the amount of calcium in your bones. If your levels of potassium are low, your body produces less new bone, while also losing more calcium and minerals from existing bones. In addition to weakening bones, this loss of calcium increases the risk of developing kidney stones. To meet your recommended daily intake of 4,700 milligrams of potassium, you\’ll need to include sources of potassium at every meal.

Two of the best sources are potatoes: One baked potato supplies 610 milligrams of potassium and one sweet potato has 694 milligrams. One cup of yogurt has about 579 milligrams of potassium, while one banana contains 422 milligrams. YouБll get about 350 to 380 milligrams from 0. 5 cup of beans, 1 cup of fat-free milk and a 3-ounce serving of chicken and fish. Other good choices that supply 300 to 400 milligrams per serving include winter squash, spinach, celery, apricots, cantaloupe and orange juice.
Potassium does many important functions in the body. This essential mineral is mainly found inside the cells of our body. Low potassium levels are associated with many health conditions including hypertension, irregular heartbeat, and muscle weakness. PWe should take adequate amounts of potassium-rich foods for a healthy life. We need potassium to maintain the blood pressure within normal range. There should be a balance between sodium and potassium in the body to regulate our blood pressure. Too much sodium and too little potassium can. In addition, potassium is needed for the contraction of the heart.

Potassium levels in the blood should be kept nearly constant or within a narrow range for the proper pumping action of the heart. The heart may stop beating if we have high or low levels of potassium in the blood. Most of the potassium in the body is found inside the muscle cells. PIt is the main positively charged ion inside the cells. It is essentialPfor the contraction of muscles. Low levels of potassium are associated with muscle twitching, cramps and muscle weakness. Very low levels can cause paralysis of the muscles. Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is a disorder that causes occasional episodes of muscle weakness and paralysis caused byPlower levels of potassium in the blood. It is a genetic condition that runs in families. Sodium and potassium are needed to maintain the electrical potential across the nerve cells. This electrical charge is essential for the conduction of nerve signals along the nerves. Researchers found eatingPpotassium-rich foods is associated with reduced incidents of stroke. A recent study conducted inPpostmenopausal women supports the findings. One of the co-researchers says, post-menopausal women should eat more potassium-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, milk and unprocessed meats in order to lower their risk of stroke and death.

Water and electrolyte balance is maintained by the kidneys. This is one of the important functions of the kidneys. Aldosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands plays the primary role in the balance of sodium and potassium. The normal blood level of potassium is 3. 5 to 5 mmol/l. A level of less than 3. 5 is called hypokalemia, and more than 5 is called hyperkalemia. To achieve the normal blood level, we need to take about 4 to 5 gramsPof potassium per day. An average size will provide about 25% of daily requirement. It is recommended to eat foods that have plenty of potassium. In addition, your diet should contain low amounts of sodium (salt). Taking supplements is not a good idea. It can cause many side effects. People who have certain medical conditions such as chronic kidney failure should not eat large amounts of potassium-rich foods. People who take certain types of medications should consult aPdoctor about their potassium intake. Some may need additional intakePwhile others may need to restrict the intake of potassium rich foods.

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