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Potassium is an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a mineral that
dissolves in water and carries an electrical charge. In your body,
potassium, sodium and chloride are the electrolyte minerals.
Since the body is made mostly of water, these electrolytes can be found
everywhere in your body.
Electrolytes keep you body in balance. They keep the amount
of water in your body in balance, carry impulses along your nerves, help
make your muscles contract and relax, and keep your body from becoming too
acidic or alkaline. You need electrolytes to carry glucose (blood
sugar) and other nutrients into your cells and to carry waste products and
extra water out again. Electrolytes also regulate your blood
pressure and your heart beat.
The levels of these three electrolytes have to be kept in balance. Too
much sodium and not enough potassium , and your blood pressure could shoot
up to unhealthy levels
Every single living cell on earth - plant or animal - needs potassium,
sodium and chloride, which means that there's plenty of them in your food.
One of the reasons processed foods are a problem - very high in sodium
(salt). Too much sodium, not too little is a much bigger health
When a person is sick with vomiting or diarrhea, you might quickly lose
so many electrolytes (especially potassium) that you run short.
Unless you replace the fluids and electrolytes quickly this can be
serious, especially in small children.
If you are low on potassium, you might get muscle cramps in your legs
(this sometimes happens to athletes who sweat a lot in really hot
weather). If you're low on potassium, you might feel nauseous and
very weak and listless.
Sodium and chloride deficiencies are uncommon since you get both
elements from salt. Even when you sweat buckets, you still have
plenty of salt in your body. It's much more important to replace the
There is a balance of potassium & salt which is 2:1.
Balanced food is when you get this - twice as much potassium as
salt. Processed foods show the potassium and salt on the
labels and it is good to check. If you're eating too much
salt, you need to balance it with food high in potassium
Where do I get potassium?
Potassium is high in the following:
Avocado - 1/2 medium - 550 mg
Banana - 1 medium - 451
Beef, ground - 3 ounces - 205
Black beans - 1 cup - 801
Broccoli, cooked - 1/2 cup - 228
Cantaloupe - 1 cup - 494
Carrot, raw - 1 medium - 233
Cauliflower, cooked - 1/2 cup - 200
Chicken - 3 ounces - 195
Chickpeas - 1 cup - 477
Corn - 1/2 cup - 204
Flounder - 3 ounces - 292
Kidney beans - 1 cup - 713
Kiwi - 1 medium - 252
Lentils - 1 cup - 731
Milk - 8 ounces - 381
Okra - 1/2 cup - 257
Orange - 1 medium - 250
Orange juice - 8 ounces - 474
Potatoes, baked with skin - 1 medium - 844
Prune Juice - 8 ounces - 706
Spinach, cooked - 1/2 cup - 419
Strawberries - 1 cup - 247
Sweet potatoes - 1 medium - 397
Tomato - 1 medium - 397
Tomato juice - 6 ounces - 658
Watermelon - 1 cup - 186
Wheat Germ - 1/4 cup - 259
So a hamburger with tomato and french fried potatoes - yes, but how
much salt is on those french fries or put into the beef, or in the buns -
just things to think about. You need a lot more potassium to balance
that sale intake.
What does potassium do? Fun Facts
How does potassium regulate blood pressure. It is believed it has
something to do with potassium's ability to pump sodium out of the body's
cells and reduce body fluid. It also effects the blood vessels tone,
or resistance. It may modify the way blood vessels react to
circulating hormones that affect blood pressure.
Potassium is also necessary for good muscle contraction, healthy
electrical activity in the heart and rapid transmission of nerve impulse
throughout the body. This is why heartbeat irregularities are
considered a classic sign of potassium deficiency. Other symptoms of
deficiency can include muscle weakness, numbness and tingling in the lower
extremities, nausea, vomiting, confusion and irritability.
Most people get around 2650 milligrams of potassium every day.
That's not enough. You should add at least three more
servings of potassium right fruits and vegetables to your diet every day.
(a serving is about the size of your fist).
Why not simply take a supplement? Dietary sources of potassium
are better tolerated then pharmacologic preparations, experts agree.
They may be necessary to those who take diuretic medications because these
drugs help the body lose excess water but also deplete the potassium
supply. You should be getting about 3500 milligrams.
Too much potassium ( more than 5000 milligrams) can upset the balance
of minerals in your body and cause heart and kidney problems. Other
potential side effects include muscle weakness, tingling in the hands,
feet or tongue and a slow or irregular pulse.
People with diabetes or kidney disease should consult their doctor before
taking potassium supplements, as should people on certain medications,
including anti-inflammatory drugs, ACE inhibitors and heart
medicines such as heparin.
For more information, see SALT
or supplements -
MegaFood Vitamins has a Calicum/Magnesium &
Potassium supplement. It is a whole food
supplement that your body recognizes, assimilates and
You can read
about it here Megafood - Cal, Mag & Potassium - 60
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We have used our best judgment in compiling this information. The Food and Drug Administration may not have evaluated the information presented. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease