Potassium is an essential dietary mineral and electrolyte which is obtained from various foods that we eat. It is vital to maintain the potassium-sodium balance in the body. Potassium also helps to maintain the pH levels in our body and generally our normal body functions very much depends on the optimum levels of potassium inside and outside cells. In simple words, it is one of the most vital nutrients that are essential for maintaining proper fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
These nutrients are considered to be quite safe and healthy when derived from natural food sources. It is said that an average daily consumption of potassium in an adult must be around 4,700 mg. Potassium has various roles and responsibilities to perform within the body which includes: helping the muscles contract, manages blood pressure and keeps the heart functioning properly, maintains the electrolyte balance in body cells, releases energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during the metabolic process, aids in waste removal process etc.
Potassium is a mineral that directs the transfer of nutrients through the cell membranes, a function that decreases with aging accounting for the circulatory damage, lethargy and weakness of old people. Nutritionist state that a chronic low potassium levels or potassium deficiency leads to a variety of health disorders like lung disorders, kidney disease, hypertension, constipation, depression, nervousness, growth impairment, hormone fluctuation, salt retention and hypersensitivity to salt etc.
It is popularly a known fact that bananas are an excellent, naturally sweet fruit and the most common source of potassium. Apart from this fruit there are also a wide range of other foods that are hosts to this wonderful nutrient. High potassium content is mainly found in a variety of vegetables and fruits.
Vegetables rich in potassium: Raw carrots (carrot juice is good source of potassium and ¾ cup of carrot juice comes with 500 mg of potassium), Okra, Pumpkin, Spinach (cooked), Tomatoes, Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Bamboo shoots etc.
Fruits rich in potassium: Banana (one medium fruit does pack more than 400 mg of this heart-healthy mineral), Mango, Orange (3/4 cup orange juice offers 355 mg of potassium), Kiwi, Honey dew, Figs (dried), Raisins, Prunes (half a cup of stewed prunes have nearly 400 mg), Cantaloupe, Papaya etc.
Other Foods rich in potassium: Beans like white beans, kidney beans, lima beans are rich in potassium. (a cup of cooked white beans provides 1004 mg of potassium), Baked beans, Refried beans, Lentils, Legumes, Milk (has 382 mg of potassium in a cup of milk), Nuts and seeds, Yogurt (Eight ounces of plain non-fat yogurt contains 579 mg of potassium), dry fruits is most probably considered to contain the highest amount of potassium, 100 gms of dates give you a hearty offering of 680 mg of potassium, baked potato contains 1081 mg of potassium per potato etc.
Although fruits and vegetables are the main sources of potassium, there are few varieties of fish like salmon, halibut, tuna and anchovies that are also great sources of potassium. Potassium is nutritionally essential for the overall maintenance of normal health.
It is a very important mineral nutrient that keeps us healthy and is required in many physiological processes in the body including nerve conduction, muscle contraction, balance of fluids, production of energy, protein synthesis, and regulation of cellular membrane potential.
It facilitates cardiovascular functioning and also plays an important role in conversion of glucose into glycogen and a number of other metabolic processes in the body. Do include a variety of potassium rich fruits and vegetables. Consumption of food high in potassium and low in sodium controls hypertension.
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