Basic Information about Potassium
Potassium is one of the essential minerals in the human body required for proper health. Potassium is an electrolyte. This means the potassium helps to conduct electricity throughout the body. Potassium along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and potassium help with the proper flow of electricity throughout the human body.
There are other important roles which potassium plays in the body. The heart functions of the body need a supply of potassium for proper health. The bones in the body also need parts of potassium in order to form and grow properly. Potassium is also important for anyone who is looking to work out for extended periods of time. Potassium will help to regulate the control of the muscle groups in order to gain muscle mass. In smooth muscle control, potassium is essential. Smooth muscle fiber is normally the muscles in the body which are autonomic. Most of these muscles require a solution of potassium in order to function properly.
Due to the importance of potassium with smooth muscles, potassium also plays a key role in the digestive tract in the body, and other muscle functions.
Food Sources of Potassium
There are bits and piece of potassium in many foods. A person should be able to get an adequate supply of potassium through the foods which they are eating. In a full well balanced diet there should be little to no shortage of potassium—especially diets which are rich in fruits and green vegetables.
Here is a list of foods which are very rich in their potassium levels: beef, poultry, salmon, cod, pork, flounder, nuts, milk, yogurt, butter, most dairy products, potato, spinach, sunflower seeds, legumes, whole grains, citrus fruits, bananas, and most fresh vegetables.
The levels of potassium in the body are affected by the amounts of different minerals in the body. Sodium and potassium levels in the body will alter the amount of potassium the body is able to metabolize and store. For example a traditional western diet contains high levels of salt. The higher the salt in a person’s diet the more potassium their bodies will also require. Other elements may also affect the amounts of potassium the body needs in order to function.
Health Benefits of Potassium
There are recent studies which show a strong connection between potassium levels in the body and bone health. This research is very important for adult women. Women going through menopause will lose anywhere from ten to twenty-five percent of their bone mass. It is recommended that women try to get as much calcium into their bones as is healthy before they turn thirty. By increasing the amount of calcium they have in their bones earlier in their lives they will decrease the amount of bone mass they will lose later in life. Potassium can help as well according to the new studies; however, researchers are asking for more time to verify their findings regarding potassium’s role in bone health and development.
Chronic heart disease is one of the top killers in the United States each year. Heart disease is especially high among older females in the United States. Recent reports indicate that women are less likely to take care of their hearts as they age, and they are actually at a higher risk than men of health complications due to heart disease. The emphasis placed on men and heart attacks is largely due to the predominance of men in the workplace, and misconceptions due to improper social understandings. New studies indicate that there may be a connection between potassium levels in the body and the likelihood of a person developing heart disease.
Researchers have found that people with low levels of potassium in their diet also have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the first warning signs of someone who is at a higher risk of developing chronic heart disease. There is a new study which shows that taking potassium supplementation can help to lower a person’s blood pressure. Yet, there is contradicting information at this time regarding the veracity of those studies. There are questions about the methodology used in the studies, and there have been researchers who have struggled to duplicate the findings of the study (which is very bad, because duplication is one of the foundations of medical science). It still appears there is some correlation between potassium, blood pressure, and heart disease—more time will be needed to figure out the exact correlation.
Potassium also appears to help lower a person’s chances to have a stroke, and it appears to help with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a disorder in which people struggle to absorb nutrients. Some studies indicate that potassium may help people suffering from IBD get more nutrients in their diets.
How to Get Enough Potassium in a Diet
Potassium is one the essential minerals the body needs in order to function properly. The best way to get the right amount of Potassium in the body is through a proper diet. A healthy low fat diet which includes fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats is usually enough, depending on the health of the individual, to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals the body requires.
Yet, the simple truth is very few people actually eat a full enough diet not to be lacking an essential vitamin and mineral. When the body is lacking an essential vitamin or mineral it will not function properly. The other problem is many of the essential vitamins and minerals, like potassium, cannot be easily stored in the human body. The body needs a constant daily intake of some essential vitamins and minerals.
The best way to ensure the body gets the nutrients it needs is by taking a reputable daily multivitamin. A good daily multivitamin will help to fill in the gaps of a normal healthy diet. The multivitamin will also help to bridge the deficiencies which occur due to changing health issues.
When looking for a good multivitamin look for one which is gender specific. Why? There are two major reasons. First, males and females need different amounts of vitamins and minerals. A gender specific vitamin will be able to give more of the vitamins and minerals which males and females normally struggle to obtain. Second, there are many sub-par vitamin manufactures. For the health of the person taking the vitamin it is important to find a manufacture which is reputable. A manufacture with differing vitamins for males and females is a helpful indication of their legitimacy—although it is always recommended to investigate any vitamin company before making a purchase.