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Potassium – Sources, Deficiencies, and Overdose
Health benefits of potassium
Potassium is among the most essential nutrients for the body. It regulates the body fluids, sends the nerve signals and regulates the contraction of muscles. A certain amount of potassium is indispensable for the body to keep functioning smoothly. The key benefits of potassium include lessens the risk of strokes, lowers the blood pressure, maintains bone structure, prevents the formation of kidney stones, improves muscle strength and cardiovascular health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the recommended amount of potassium consumption per day should be 3,510 mg. While it is available in the form of supplements, it is more beneficial to directly ingest it in the form of fruits and vegetables.
Food rich in potassium
One can derive the health benefits of potassium by consuming several leafy greens and whole foods. The major sources of potassium-rich foods are avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, mushrooms, avocado, spinach, kale, and even salmon. The nutritional value of potassium is more when foods are consumed in unprocessed forms. Moreover white beans, soybeans, raw cantaloupe melon, and even bananas are great sources of potassium.
It is vital to maintain the right balance while consuming potassium-rich foods. The required amount can enrich your body with several health benefits by regulating the physiological functions within the human body. On the other hand, too much of it can also give certain ills and ailments.
Effects of potassium deficiency
Potassium deficiency within the body is termed as hypokalemia. To avoid deficiency, the potassium level within the body should range between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). The symptoms of potassium deficiency or hypokalemia begin to show when the level drops below 3.5 mmol/L.
Some of the signs that indicate potassium deficiency are malaise and fatigue, muscle weakness, pain all over the body and constipation. If the level fatally drops below 2.5 mmol/L then it may affect the body in the following ways:
- Extreme muscle weakness and paralysis
- Respiratory failure
- Constipation accompanied by painful obstructions in the gut
- A tingling sensation or absolute numbness felt in the body limbs.
- Frequent experience of muscle spasms
Effects of potassium overdose
Similarly, the consumption of higher amounts of potassium is also not advisable for it leads to hyperkalemia. It severely interferes with the kidney functions of the body where the kidneys cannot eliminate the excessive amount of potassium consumed. When the level of potassium ranges between 5.1 and 6.0 mmol/L, then hyperkalemia kicks in.
The state of hyperkalemia is usually characterized by heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pain. It is a life-threatening condition that can adversely affect the kidneys.
Potassium is a very essential mineral required by the body and it is important that individuals frame a sensible diet for themselves which does not exceed the level recommended or drop below the required amount. Moderation is the key and as long as one consumes it in the right portions, the health risks and side-effects can be avoided. Along with making healthier food choices, it is important to stock your kitchen cabinet with 100% pure and authentic ingredients. 24 Mantra offers a range of 100% certified organic products. Know more here: https://www.24mantra.com/products/