Minerals are exceptionally crucial for our body to perform several functions including regulating heartbeat, controlling blood pressure, proper functioning of the nervous system, muscle contraction and much more. One of these crucial minerals is potassium which is also an electrolyte that plays a significant role in many functions of the body. Potassium can be found in various fruits, vegetables and seeds naturally. Have you ever thought about how much potassium do you need per day? Low and high levels of potassium are rare if a person has normal kidney function.
Read on to know how much potassium do you need per day!
Also read: 10 Potassium Rich Food You Need In Your Diet
What is Potassium?
Before we get onto how much potassium do you need per day, it’s important to know what exactly potassium is! Potassium is actually a mineral and an electrolyte which is naturally found in foods like leafy vegetables, legumes, fruits and also in fish. Fun fact: 98℅ of the potassium in the body is in the cells, out of which 80℅ is inside the skeletal muscles and 20℅ in your bone, RBC’s (Red Blood Cells) and the liver.
Potassium has a great significance in our body yet many people do not get enough of this vital mineral. You may get enough of it in your diet or you may not. Your body’s potassium levels get affected by kidney diseases, diabetes, vomiting, hormonal imbalance or even due to side effects of certain medications.
Benefits of having Potassium-rich diet
If you have a diet rich in potassium and other vitamins and minerals, there can be various huge health benefits you can amass. If you already consume a protein-rich diet, great and if you don’t, here are some benefits of eating a potassium-rich diet:
Helps in reducing blood pressure
High blood pressure is a very common risk factor not only for old-age groups but also for adults and a probable cause of deaths worldwide. A potassium-rich diet may help reduce the chances of high blood pressure by removing excess sodium. Elevated sodium levels in the body can increase the chances of blood pressure. People who consume fruits and vegetables and 4100 mg potassium per day can help lower blood pressure.
Lowers the risk of strokes
Strokes are considered as the major cause of severe disability in adults and a common cause of deaths. There are several studies which have found that consuming a potassium-rich diet may help reduce the risk of getting a stroke. People who are more potassium had 24℅ fewer chances of stroke than others who didn’t.
Improves bone mineral density
Good bone health is associated with robust amounts of calcium in your body which is an important mineral. A condition called osteoporosis can make your bones hollow and porous. Fortunately, many studies have shown that having a potassium-rich diet may help prevent this condition. It can do so by reducing the amount of calcium the body loses through urine. So, for a healthier bone mineral density, potassium can be very beneficial.
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Prevents kidney stones
Calcium which is a common mineral in kidney stones can be reduced by potassium citrate. It can lower the calcium levels in urine to help fight kidney stones. People with kidney stones can eat fruits and vegetables rich in potassium citrate to halt the formation of stones inside the kidney.
Best Food Sources of Potassium
Severe deficiency of potassium is very common among people who have absorption disorders like kidney disease, eating disorders, congestive heart failure, frequent diarrhea and vomiting etc. Hypokalemia is a condition which is another name for potassium deficiency that can cause bloating, muscle weakness, fatigue, abdominal pain, cramping and constipation.
So, if you have a potassium deficiency, you can add this potassium-rich food in your diet:
- Baked Potatoes: One medium baked potato includes about 926 mg potassium which is more than a quarter of your daily requirement.
- Non-fat Yogurt: a cup of plain yogurt without any fat is a good source of potassium with about 500 mg.
- Bananas: Bananas are known to be a very good source of potassium with about 400 mg of potassium, fibre and B Vitamins.
- Tomato: Tomato and tomato products are also a great source of potassium. A ½ cup of tomato puree has about 530 mg of potassium.
- Raw Spinach: spinach is not so favourable for most of us but this green leafy vegetable is a good source of potassium with about 558 mg of potassium.
- Salmon: a farmed and cooked salmon contains 384 mg of potassium.
- Dried Apricots: Dried apricots are a rich source of potassium Vitamin A, iron and niacin. ½ cup of dried apricots contains 720 mg of potassium.
- Beet Greens: Beet greens contain an ample amount of potassium and are a nutrient-rich food. A cup of cooked beet greens has about 1310 my potassium.
Also read: How To Make Your Diet More Green And Tasty!
How Much Potassium Do You Need Per Day?
Let’s get onto the last and real question, exactly how much potassium per day is healthy for you? There is no particular recommended daily allowance standard for potassium. However, most nutritionists recommend you consume about 3000-4700 mg of potassium per day if you are a healthy adult. Pregnant women require about 5100 mg daily for good health because their infant needs a portion of their consumption.
Children and infants below the age of 13 require about 400-3800 mg depending on their weight and size. You can easily and naturally consume potassium in your diet by eating green leafy vegetables and fruits rich in potassium. Moreover, if you are not able to meet the sufficient amount of potassium per day, you can take potassium supplements, but make sure you talk to your doctor first!
Potassium is a highly crucial mineral for your body and should be taken in an ample amount to keep your bones, heart and overall body healthy. If you feel you are potassium-deficient, you should eat vegetables and fruits rich in potassium rather than going for supplements.