Potassium- Food Sources, Daily Requirement, Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms, Uses

Potassium- Food Sources, Daily Requirement, Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms, Uses

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an important essential mineral that the human body requires. Like sodium and chloride, it belongs to the electrolyte family. These electrolytes conduct electricity that acts within and outside the cells of the body. It is a very essential mineral since the normal function of the body typically relies on tight control of its concentrations.

History of Potassium

In 1807, Sir Humphry Davy discovered potassium when he extracted it for the first time through a method called electrolysis. Its chemical symbol, K, derived from Kalium, its German name. It is silvery-white, a soft solid color, and it can be sliced with a knife. In water, it is insoluble since its density is less than water density.

What are the Major Food Sources Of Potassium?

A healthy diet must contain a decent amount of potassium, as per the guidelines of health experts. One can start with citrus fruits, vegetables, and grains to list the most important dietary sources of potassium. Yet, bananas are the most essential source of potassium.

Good sources of potassium are vegetables, including broccoli, lima beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes with skins, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes. This mineral's excellent source also includes chard, crimini mushrooms, and spinach. 

Healthy Non-vegetarian sources of potassium are all foods, including red meat and chicken, and fish including salmon, cod, flounder, and sardines. 

Cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes, and apricots are fruits that contain essential sources of potassium for health.

Great sources of potassium also include milk and yogurt, as well as nuts

Some high, medium and low potassium Foods Sources

Potassium varies from a high, medium, and low levels in foods. The foods with high potassium are those with more than 200 mg per serving. Medium foods containing potassium are those that have 100 to 200 mg per serving. Although low potassium foods are those that per serving have less than 100 mg.

Some high potassium foods are:

  • Banana
  • Mushroom
  • Broiled salmon
  • Roasted turkey
  • Yogurt

Some medium potassium foods are:

  • Peach
  • Watermelon
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Salted peanuts

Some low potassium foods are:

  • Egg
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Green beans

What is the Daily Requirement of Potassium?

Since potassium helps to manage blood pressure, improve muscle control, and stimulate nerve responses, it is certainly beneficial for anyone to meet the regular requirements. Of course, the daily requirement for potassium varies in each age bracket.

Between ages 1 – 3

Children under this age bracket can consume about 3 grams or 3000 milligrams of potassium each day. Since potassium-rich foods are easily available, it is easy to maintain a good level of potassium. Include Milk, yogurt, and banana in the meals.

Between ages 4 – 8

Because the body is continuously developing, so is the need for potassium. The daily requirement of potassium is 3800 milligrams. Again, kids are fond of consuming fruits like raisins, oranges, bananas, and apples under this age bracket. It is not an issue to find excellent potassium sources.

Between ages 9 – 13

Children within this age group can get around 4500 milligrams of potassium daily when approaching puberty. Meats such as chicken, salmon, fish, and turkey will assist them in fulfilling the requirement.

For ages 14 and above

It should be possible for teens and adults to eat 4800 milligrams of potassium daily. Since people are more hesitant to consume healthy foods in this age group, it is very easy to incorporate potassium into their daily diet regimens. Include tomato juice, baked potatoes, and nuts as some fun snacks.

If you experience the symptoms of having an inappropriate amount of potassium in your body, it is always best to contact your doctor.

Health Benefits of Potassium – Things You Should Know

If you do not know the health benefits of potassium or how to use nutrient-rich foods to combat disease and help you recover from injury, you should take a moment to learn the many health benefits of this essential mineral.

To preserve good physical and mental health, potassium is the third most common mineral in the human body and is one of the most important substances. You should know that more potassium in your diet will help you reach your goals, no matter whether you are struggling with poor eating habits, or you are trying to increase your marathon time.

Potassium is an electrolyte 

One of the main functions of potassium for health is to act as an electrolyte. You know that when you are exercising at a very rigorous pace, electrolytes are lost in your sweat. Every time you go to the toilet, however, potassium is lost, and if you drink a lot of water, soda, coffee, or beer and use the toilet on a very regular basis, you are likely to flush all of these essential electrolytes and potassium out of your body. On this same note, you can also prevent kidney stones by consuming enough potassium.

In addition to functioning as an electrolyte, this mineral is vital to maintain the human body's heart, brain, kidney, muscle tissue, and other essential organs in good shape. Among others, potassium chloride is the principal variety of this mineral. To perform a variety of essential body functions, it acts in combination with sodium.

Other advantages of Potassium

Other advantages of potassium are- maintain regular blood pressure, transmit nerve impulses, monitor heart muscle contraction, and maintain healthy bones. 

It is an essential mineral for the body's healthy growth. This leads to the proper functioning of the cells. 

By making sure that enough oxygen flows to the brain, it smoothes the development of well-organized cognitive functioning. 

Finally, it supports the kidneys in the process of eliminating waste, thus minimizing the risk of kidney stones.

Good potassium benefits can include stroke, blood pressure, anxiety and stress, muscle control, metabolism, heart and kidney diseases, water balance, potassium nervous system, and other general health benefits.

What can potassium-rich foods do to our bodies?

The electrolyte family of minerals contains potassium along with sodium and chloride. They are electrolytes because they conduct electricity as they dissolve in water, which is critical in regulating muscle and nerve activity. Potassium-rich foods will help your muscles and nerves function properly, help protect against bone loss, retain your body's proper electrolyte and water balance, help lower your blood pressure, and reduce the risk of kidney stones.

How much potassium is present in water?

Although Potassium reacts wildly in water, via natural processes, it often ends up in seawater and settles primarily in the sediments. But potassium from dead plants and animals was first bound to clay materials in the soil before dissolving in water. 

Seawater contains a potassium of around 400 ppm. 

Rivers typically contain potassium of 2 to 3 ppm. The difference is largely due to the high concentration of potassium in oceanic basalts. 

Normal potassium concentrations typically range from 1.0 to 8.0 mg / L for drinking water.

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency

There can be very significant effects of getting too much or too little potassium in the body. Deficiency in the body of any nutrient is not ideal and, in this case, potassium is not an extension. Since potassium is present in so many foods, potassium deficiency is rarely caused by insufficient nutrition. However, even a mild decrease in potassium levels in the body can lead to sensitivity to salt and high blood pressure. The recommended dietary intake of 4.7 gm or higher may cause slightly lower blood pressure.

  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhea 
  • Kidney and adrenal gland disorders. 
  • Inactive reflexes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cardiac palpitations
  • Anemia
  • Extreme headaches 
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the glands
  • Diabetes.

Effects of too much potassium in the blood

Too much potassium is known as hyperkalemia in the blood. Reduced renal ( kidney) activity, abnormal protein breakdown, and extreme infection are some common causes of this. 

Decreased kidney function is the most common cause of hyperkalemia, especially in individuals undergoing dialysis for kidney failure. The capacity of the body to get rid of potassium is impaired by some medicines. These include diuretics sparing potassium and inhibitors of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).

Individuals on dialysis for kidney failure should stop eating too many items high in potassium. To prevent excess potassium in the blood, these individuals require specific diets.

Uses of Potassium In Our Lives

Potassium undoubtedly has a myriad of uses as the seventh most abundant element in the earth's crust, whether in health, agriculture, and industry. The important uses of potassium are described below.

In Bodily Health

As it plays an important role in controlling acidity levels and helps regulate our blood pressure, potassium is a very important nutrient in the body. Since it is an electrolyte, for the proper transmission of electrical signals from the nerves to the cells and the other way around, the right amount of potassium in the body is important. It is also important for the processing of hydration, muscle growth, and protein. Hypokalemia, leg cramps, increased fatigue and physical weakness, paralysis of muscles, and others can give you a deficiency of this mineral. Over-dosing can also involve concerns such as hyperkalemia. In other words, the right potassium concentration is always best for the body.

In Agriculture

Potassium is also an integral aspect of the overall well-being for plants. In plants, potassium helps regulate the functions of stomata. It allows the stomata in the plant to monitor water so that water losses are avoided. Since hydration is one of the key aids that potassium provides to plants, the lack of this mineral would make them more prone to disease and drying. If the soil in which the plant grows is not rich in potassium then fertilizers in the form of potassium nitrate are used.

In the Industry

As potassium is a highly reactive metal, its forms and uses are commonly found in nature in combination with other materials.

1. Potassium Hydroxide

A solid foundation is one of the most widely used. This is used to regulate pH to neutralize acids. Another application is for the method of saponification or soap making.

2. NaK

This is a potassium alloy with sodium which under atmospheric conditions is liquid. This is used with certain solvents to be desiccated.

3. Potassium cyanide

In gold mining, this is used because it can dissolve gold and silver. This is normally referred to as potash.

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