Potassium is an essential mineral in the body that is needed by the nerve cells and muscles in the body – including the heart – to function properly, but is there really a need to take it as a regular supplement as recent reports claim that many fail to meet the recommended daily requirements for the body.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in a study, revealed that in the United States, many people fail to meet the recommended daily intake of potassium of 4,700 milligrams for adults.
“We don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables, “ said Sonya Angalone, the spokesperson for the Academy, adding that “over –the-counter supplements contain minute amounts of the mineral “ and that it does not really help at all.
A slight decrease in potassium levels could cause symptoms like fatigue, constipation, cramps and muscle weakness, while a significant drop from the body can cause abnormal heart rhythms, especially for people with heart disease and other cardiovascular-related conditions.
Also low-potassium syndrome or hypokalemia that results as a side effect from using antibiotics or diuretics could lead to more serious conditions like hyperthyroidism or kidney disease.
There are in fact a lot of potassium-rich food sources which may be good sources of potassium and awareness about these items would allow people to be more conscious to include these in their regular diet.
Beans. Every cup of cooked while beans yield 1004mg or 29% of recommended daily values. Other bean varieties on the other hand like Adzuki beans (35%), Soy (28%), Lima (28%), Kidney (20%) and Pinto (18%)
Green Leafy Vegetables. A cup of cooked spinach yields 839mg or 24% of daily values, Swiss Chard (27%), Kale (8%) and Collards (6%)
Root crops. A baked potato with skin on weighing about 173 grams could yield 926 mg or 26% of potassium, while sweet potatoes with skin on at 114 grams gives about 15% of the recommended daily values.
Other fruits and vegetables with high potassium content are apples, bananas, peaches, raisins, prunes, pumpkin, squash , zucchini, avocado and mushroom, among others.
Wild salt-water fish like salmon, pompano, halibut, tuna, anchovies, mackerel and herring.
Among the major reasons potassium levels in the body drop is due to medication for a chronic disease or those taking diuretics, which causes potassium to exit the body through urine.
Vomitting and diarrhea are also among the causes, as well as perspiration and fluid loss resulting from physical activities like exercise and fitness workouts.
If you feel you fall short of the daily requirement, make sure to consult should you take a potassium supplement to add to your regular diet in order to control intake and not get an overdose.
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