How Overdose and Deficiency of Potassium Can Affect Status Quo of The Body
Who doesn’t want to have healthy heart, kidneys and proper digestive system? We all want to lead a healthy life and for that, our diet schedule demands inclusion of healthy and nutritious foods. Among the important nutrients needed for sustaining a healthy living, potassium comes at number third. We will discuss this vital mineral in detail.
Why we need potassium?
There are plenty of reasons why a person should include an adequate amount of potassium in his or her diet. It is the third most abundant mineral in the body that is needed to maintain healthy electrolyte balance. Below are some of the most important benefits of having this mineral.
Boosts cardiovascular health
Reduces muscle cramps
Potassium strengthens muscles and reduces cramp arising from low potassium levels or dehydration. It also prevents cramps related to premenstrual syndrome.
Needed for proper food processing
Potassium is required to properly process and utilize carbohydrates intake. Children and adults need it to build protein and muscles.
Bone density can be increased if potassium is consumed in adequate amounts.
Daily dietary requirements - How much potassium we need?
WHO recommended intake of potassium is 3,510 mg/day. But the organization says the majority of the population is not meeting this criterion. Other bodies such as Institute of Medicine give different guidelines for potassium intake as mentioned below.
- 0-6 months - 400 mg/day
- 7-12 months - 700 mg/day
Toddlers, Children and Teens
- 1-3 years - 3,000 mg/day
- 4-8 years - 3,800 mg/day
- 9-13 years - 4,500 mg/day
- 14-17 years - 4,700 mg/day
- 18 years and up - 4,700 mg/day
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How much potassium pregnant and breastfeeding women needs?
As mentioned, healthy dose of potassium is needed daily for appropriate functioning of the body. In pregnancy, since an extra life needs proper nurturing, failing to get an adequate amount of potassium can create various complexities.
Potassium regulates blood pressure in pregnant women and also plays a crucial role in muscle contraction and release of energy from important nutrients she gets. Similarly, breastfeeding women also need adequate amount of potassium for keeping the newborn healthy.
- Pregnant women - 4,700 mg/day
- Breastfeeding women - 5,100 mg/day
What are the dangers of excess and deficiency of potassium?
Every vital mineral should be in the optimal range. Potassium also needs to be in the proper range. Failing to maintain it can give rise to severe conditions such as:
In certain cases such as kidney disease, prolonged exercise, diabetes, illicit drug intake and taking too much supplements can create imbalance in the ratio. High potassium levels can create complications such as tiredness, palpitation, abnormal heartbeat or even heart failure.
On the contrary, low potassium levels are also not good for the health. It can occur due to kidney disease, magnesium deficiency, diarrhea, excess sweating, vomiting, overuse of diuretics medicines and use of antibiotics. This can cause mild to severe complications such as weakness, muscle spasms, cramping, constipation and irregular heartbeat.
While high levels of potassium occur rarely and due to certain medical conditions, low levels can be managed easily by changing lifestyle including change in diet.
Top foods rich in potassium
If you are one of those who are suffering from low potassium levels, adding below foods to your diet chart can make a world of difference.
Fruits rich in potassium – Relishing and nourishing
Dietary value – 4 medium slices of cantaloupe contains about 736 mg of potassium, which is around 25 percent of daily recommended intake.
A powerful antioxidant, pomegranate helps improve memory and protects you from different types of cancer. Pomegranate with yogurt can be a wonderful afternoon snack.
Dietary value – An average size pomegranate gives 666 mg of potassium, which meets 19 percent of the daily requirement.
Banana besides an excellent source of energy also contains fiber that improves your digestive health. Whether you take banana in breakfast or as an evening snack, it works great.
Dietary value – A single large banana can give you 487 mg of potassium which translates to 14 percent of your daily requirement.
This fruit is cheap and found in abundance. Coconut water is not only a rich source of potassium but also aids in reducing blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
Dietary value –1 cup of coconut water can give 600mg of potassium. This is 17 percent of the daily requirement.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Citrus fruits have high amount of potassium contents. Oranges are one of richest sources to get maximum potassium content. And they are loaded with vitamin C as well.
Dietary value – A cup of orange pieces gives 326 mg of potassium while a single orange contains 237 mg of potassium. Better to go for 1 cup orange juice which can give 496 mg of potassium,about 14 percent of daily requirement.
Low in calories, grapes passes various beneficial nutrients to you including potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
Dietary value – Ten green grapes contains 96 mg of potassium and 1 cup of them gives you 306 mg of potassium. This is about 9 percent of daily requirement.
Vegetables rich in potassium – Time to go veggie
Dietary value – 1 cup of cooked spinach can provide 840 mg of potassium, meeting about 24 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Carrot contains powerful antioxidant including lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin needed for eye health and fight cancer. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A.
Dietary value - All you need is 1 cup carrot juice daily to get 689 mg of potassium, which fulfills nearly 20 percent of the daily requirement.
High in fiber, sweet potatoes are great for diabetic patients since it falls in the low glycemic index. Chop them or prepare a curry for your meal.
Dietary value –1 cup sweet potatoes gives 448 mg of potassium. That is 13 percent of the daily requirement.
This juicy vegetable is the one for getting toned skin and prevents you against various types of cancer.
Dietary value – 1 cup of sliced tomato contains about 400 mg of potassium. This translates to around 12 percent of daily potassium requirement.
There are other healthy foods that contain high potassium content. If you are not able to get potassium from these food sources due to some medical condition or some other reason, talk to a dietician for proper guidance. He will let you know other food sources and ways you can add them into your diet schedule.
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2. Potassium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals(2018, March 21). NIH read more
3. Potassium in diet(2016, April 24). MedlinePlus read more
4. Potassium(n.d.).OSU read more