How to Increase Potassium in Your Diet
Why Do you Need to Increase Potassium in your Diet?
What is potassium and why is it so important? Potassium is one of the essential minerals required by your body to perform a number of routine but very significant functions. This indispensible mineral is necessary for the following critical operations:
1. The formation of proteins;
2. Build up of muscles;
3. Utilization of carbohydrates by breaking them down;
4 Promotion of smooth and normal body growth;
5. Regulation of the acid-base balance of the body;
6. Maintenance of the electrical activity of the heart.
For all the aforementioned reasons, it is crucial to increase potassium intake to ensure that your body gets enough of this mineral to keep it safe from the adverse effects of low potassium levels
What are the Effects of a Low Blood Level of Potassium?
Will your body react adversely to low potassium levels in the blood? Yes, your body can develop a condition known as hypokalemia which leads to weakening muscles and erratic heart rhythms. You will be at a high risk of suffering from hypokalemia if you have severe vomiting, prolonged diarrhea, certain kidney problems and adrenal gland disorders, excessive laxative intake, use of diuretics for the alleviation of high blood pressure or for the prevention of heart failure.
What are the Best Food Sources of Potassium?
Now that you know just how beneficial potassium is for your health, the next step is to find out how to increase potassium in your diet. Fortunately, potassium is a naturally occurring mineral in many food sources so even if your taste buds do not approve of one potassium containing food category, you can very easily increase potassium in your diet from other food sources!
- Vegetables: stock up on peas, tomatoes, lima beans, potatoes with their skins on, winter squashes and sweet potatoes to increase potassium in your diet.
- Fruits: increase potassium in your diet by consuming citrus fruits, apricots (especially the dried variety), kiwi, cantaloupe, prunes and bananas.
- Consuming red meat, chicken and fish (especially salmon, flounder, cod and sardines) is a great way to increase potassium intake.
- Yoghurt and milk.
Is too Much Potassium Bad for Health?
Knowing how your body will react when you increase potassium in your diet is just as important as knowing how to increase potassium in your diet! Yes, too much potassium is bad for health and leads to a condition known as hyperkalemia which results in erratic and dangerous heart beat rhythms. Now don’t shun all those nutritious natural foods just yet; natural potassium containing foods will not cause hyperkalemia. This condition is caused by very severe infections, heart medicines known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and angiotensin 2 receptor blockers (ARBs), poor kidney functioning, and potassium sparing diuretics such as amiloride.