Potassium is one of the minerals required for the functioning of nerves in the body.
It’s also required to regulate muscle contractions and maintain electrolyte balance. Potassium works with other minerals such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium to maintain fluid balance in the body.
In this article, we will take a look at various foods rich in potassium that should be included in your diet to prevent its deficiency.
Are You Getting Enough Potassium in Your Diet?
Most adults don’t meet their daily recommended intake of potassium. Potassium deficiency is also called hypokalemia. This medical condition can also occur due to the following reasons:
- excessive fluid loss due to diarrhea or vomiting
- low magnesium levels or hypomagnesemia
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- medicines, including theophylline, insulin, and antimicrobials.
- kidney disease and failure
- Disorders like Bartter syndrome, Gitelman syndrome, and Fanconi syndrome.
It’s often recommended to perform a blood test to monitor the levels of different electrolytes in the body.
Why You Need Potassium
Potassium works with sodium to maintain an electrical charge in the cells.
Sodium is usually present outside the cells, while potassium is present inside. This phenomenon is extremely crucial in generating nerve impulses. Potassium is also required for heart and muscle contractions and is often added to heart-healthy table salts. A deficiency in potassium levels can lead to irregular or abnormal heartbeats.
Low potassium can cause weakness and fatigue. It’s one of the minerals that prevent muscle cramps. Potassium prevents the deposition of calcium in the respiratory tracts, preventing asthmatic attacks.
Improper fluid balance in the body can lead to polyuria or frequent urination. It can also trigger polydipsia or increased thirst. Potassium deficiency is also associated with high blood pressure.
Foods rich in Potassium
Here’s a look at six such foods:
Spinach is a leafy green popular all around the world. It can be used in various dishes and cuisines. Spinach is often used in soups, stews, and curries to enhance the flavor. It’s rich in potassium and other minerals, including magnesium.
It’s rich in dietary fiber and keeps the gut healthy by promoting the growth of good probiotic bacteria in our gut. It’s also rich in non-heme iron. Iron-rich foods can prevent anemia and keep our red blood cells functioning.