Potassium is crucial for your overall health and wellbeing, but its role is often underplayed. In fact, every cell in your body has potassium and life would be impossible with it. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining fluid balance and keeping your heart, brain, nerves, bones, and muscles functioning right.

So, it is important to incorporate potassium into your diet in order to prevent chronic diseases. Here’s all you need to know about its benefits, food sources and recommended intake:

Why Do We Need Potassium?

It Regulates Fluid Balance

Your body is 60% water and around 40% is found within the cells called as intracellular fluid. The remainder of the water is found outside cells in the blood, spinal fluid and between the cells called as extracellular fluid.

The concentration of both intracellular fluid and extracellular is dependent on two main electrolytes potassium and sodium respectively. When there is an imbalance in either side, water from the side with fewer electrolytes will move into the side with more electrolytes to equalize electrolyte concentrations.

That is why it is important to maintain the right sodium-potassium balance and keep yourself well-hydrated. Eating a potassium-rich diet will help you maintain the right fluid balance.

Promotes the Nervous System Function

The nervous system relays the message between your brain and body through the form of nerve impulses. These nerve impulses are generated by the sodium-potassium pump. The sodium-potassium pump pushes three sodium ions out of the cell and moves two potassium ions inside the cell. Without the right levels of potassium in your body, it can affect the body’s ability to generate the nerve due to its deficiency.


Stimulates Brain Function and Prevents Stroke

Correct levels of potassium facilitate more oxygen to reach the brain, thereby improving its cognitive function. It acts as a vasodilator relaxing the blood vessels throughout the body. This means that blood circulates freely and is less likely to clot and break off to cause the stroke.


Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels

A decrease in potassium causes low blood sugar levels and there are chances of unpredictable spikes and plunges in the insulin level. In order to conquer diabetes, it is important to keep potassium levels normal.

Reduces Bone and Muscle Disorders

The presence of this mineral inside the cells is very important for regular contraction and relaxation of muscles since most of the potassium ions are located in the muscle cells. It stimulates the connection between muscles and the brain. The benefits of potassium extend to the bone as well by enabling calcium to be accessible for bone strength. It helps in neutralizing acid in the body by retaining and preserving calcium.


Stabilizes Blood Pressure

One of the most important functions, potassium regulates the blood pressure with its vasodilation properties. It thereby reduces heart diseases and hypertension.


Boosts Metabolism

They play a prime role in the synthesis of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is of great value in extracting energy from these nutrients.


Reduces Anxiety and Stress

This mineral helps to regulate various other hormones in the body especially the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. It is considered to be a powerful stress-buster along with improving efficient mental performance.


Top Food Sources of Potassium

The recommended intake of potassium is approximately 4.7 grams every day. Here is the list of the top potassium food sources:

  • Sweet Potatoes (Baked) – 475 mg
  • Banana – 358 mg
  • Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt: 369mg
  • Raisins, golden seedless per quarter cup: 250mg
  • Avocado – 485 mg
  • White Beans, Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, all contain 12 to 38% of the recommended daily intake
  • Yogurt Plain – 234 mg
  • Pomegranate – 236 mg per 100 gram
  • Spinach Cooked – 466 mg
  • Peas Cooked – 271 mg


Having Too much and Too Little of Potassium

The deficiency of potassium in the body causes hypokalemia. Ideally, potassium should be within the range of 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter. Low levels of it can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, constipation, paralysis, tingling in hands or feet and more. On the other hand, having too much of potassium overloads the kidneys. 

Potassium the third most abundant mineral in your body plays a pivotal role in a cheerful lifestyle. Ensure to include potassium-rich foods in your diet and stay healthy.

High Blood Pressure : Link to Insulin Resistance and Potassium Deficiency