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A High Potassium Diet Has Many Health Benefits

A high potassium diet may be more important than you think. Look at a few facts that have come out of recent research into the importance of high potassium in the diet.

 

  • Scientists and researchers have linked low levels of potassium to many common disorders and diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

  • Potassium is one of the five most commonly prescribed supplements for people with congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and diabetes.

  • Researchers found that approximately one in five people admitted to hospitals for other reasons have low levels of serum potassium. In addition, about 14% of those who visit a doctor for other reasons show low levels of serum potassium.

  • Supplementing the diet with potassium or increasing the consumption of potassium rich foods have helped lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack, improve the use of insulin in the body, reduce the incidence of heart arrhythmia and improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Why A High Potassium Diet Is Good For You

Potassium is a key electrolyte in your body. The balance between sodium and potassium helps regulate blood pressure and heartbeat. When there’s too much sodium and not enough potassium, the result is high blood pressure, which puts a strain on your heart and many other bodily systems.

 

Potassium also helps your body make proteins from amino acids, and turn glucose into glycogen. Because those are primary sources of energy for your body, if there’s not enough potassium in your system, the result is chronically feeling tired, muscle fatigue and muscle cramping.

 

Your body needs a high potassium diet especially during pregnancy and adolescence, when bones and muscles are developing. Potassium is essential in building strong bones and muscle, and may help prevent bone loss from osteoporosis.

 

Potassium helps keep neural pathways clear and healthy. Low potassium levels may lead to depression, confusion, hallucination and psychosis. More commonly, low levels of potassium may contribute to a general lack of energy, mild irritability and that ‘blah feeling’ that scientists tend not to talk about – because really, how scientific is ‘that blah feeling’?

 

It is very real, though. Because potassium is a factor in so many bodily processes, people who have chronically low potassium levels may not be technically ill – they’re just not functioning at the top of their body’s capability. The heart has to work a little harder, the body doesn’t rid itself of wastes properly, proteins and sugars aren’t being metabolized completely, muscles may feel tight and ‘jumpy’ – in short, you just don’t feel good.

 

Eating Potassium Rich Foods Boosts Energy Levels

Potassium isn’t hard to find in foods. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest nutrients to get. High potassium sources include citrus fruits, apples, bananas and apricots; cod, flounder, sardines and many meats; potatoes, lima beans, peas, nuts and other legumes; and green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce and kale.

 

Including potassium rich foods in your diet is an important step in feeling better and staying healthy – but for many people, it’s not enough. Because there are many factors that deplete potassium, even a high potassium diet may not provide enough potassium for your nutritional needs. If you take daily medication for edema, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or heart arrhythmia, or if you have diabetes, your body may need more potassium than what’s generally recommended. Those medications and conditions can seriously deplete potassium supplies. Other common factors that deplete calcium include smoking, drinking coffee, exercising heavily, illness with vomiting and/or diarrhea, and excessive sweating. In addition, because the body needs to maintain a fine balance between sodium and potassium, diets that are high in sodium or rely heavily on canned and processed foods can contribute to potassium deficiency.

 

In those cases, most doctors will recommend taking a potassium supplement, either on its own or as part of a multi-ingredient nutritional supplement. In fact, supplementing your diet with a total health nutritional supplement that contains potassium is an excellent way to be sure that your body is getting enough – but not too much – of one of the most necessary nutrients for health.

 

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