Potassium Deficiency 101: 25 Potassium-Rich Foods to Try

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If you suspect you might have a potassium deficiency, this post is a nice resource. We’re sharing everything you want to know, from common potassium deficiency causes, to indicators and signs to watch for, to a list of 25 potassium-rich meals you can add to your diet to assist in giving your physique a boost!

What Is Potassium?

Potassium is an important mineral that our physique must function. It helps to regulate fluids, ship nerve signals, retains our blood pressure at a regular level, and regulates muscle contractions. Potassium carries a small electrical cost and is sometimes called an electrolyte.

It works alongside sodium to assist maintain physiological balance. They work as a team to regulate the fluid balance in our cells. When ranges of potassium go up, sodium ranges go down, decreasing your blood pressure. And the opposite, when potassium ranges go down, sodium ranges go up, increasing your blood pressure. Sodium is an electrolyte as well, and discovering the proper balance between the 2 can assist with hydration.

Most of us get the potassium we want from the meals we eat such as beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. However, these that consume mostly processed meals have decrease ranges of potassium. You can additionally take a potassium complement if you’re not assembly the recommended daily allowance – 2,600 mg for women and 3,400 mg for men.

What Causes a Potassium Deficiency?

Low potassium, or hypokalemia, happens when the extent of potassium in our blood is below 3.5 mmol per liter. Women are extra likely than males to have low potassium.

A potassium deficiency is usually not associated to a poor diet alone. There are typically different factors involved that decrease potassium ranges including:

  • Malnutrition
  • Fluid loss
  • Too a lot alcohol
  • Certain medications such as diuretics
  • Shock
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Low ranges of magnesium
  • Excessive sweating
  • Kidney failure or different medical conditions
  • Consuming an excessive amount of licorice

7 Symptoms of a Potassium Deficiency

Even slight changes within the extent of potassium can have an effect on our bodies. If your physique is poor in potassium, you may expertise a number of signs such as:

  1. High blood pressure – Potassium helps to regulate the degrees of sodium in your physique by eliminating any extra through your urine. Without sufficient potassium, the extent of sodium in your blood is higher, and also you can develop hypertension over time.
  2. Numbness and tingling – Without sufficient potassium, you may expertise some tingling and numbness in your legs, feet, hands, or arms. Because potassium helps support wholesome nerve function, not getting sufficient can weaken nerve signals, inflicting numbness and tingling.
  3. Abnormal heartbeat – Potassium is key for a wholesome heart, particularly coronary heart muscle contractions. Low potassium can disrupt your heart’s regular rhythm, inflicting a coronary heart arrhythmia. This is a serious situation that requires immediate medical attention.
  4. Digestive problems – Potassium helps meals transfer through your digestive system by permitting your mind to ship signals to your digestive muscles telling them what to do. Those signals contract the muscles and push the meals through on the proper pace. Too little potassium can result in issues with your digestive system such as constipation and bloating.
  5. Breathing difficulties – Potassium is important for muscle contractions, together with your diaphragm, which permits your lungs to inhale and exhale. Without sufficient potassium, your lungs cannot work properly, resulting in shortness of breath.
  6. Weakness and fatigue – Fatigue and weakness are usually a few of the primary signs of a potassium deficiency. Low potassium means that your muscles cannot function normally, resulting in muscle weakness. It can additionally have an effect on different vitamins in your body, such as insulin, making you really feel fatigued.
  7. Muscle weakness and cramping – Potassium directly impacts our muscles and helps them contract. Not having sufficient potassium can trigger muscle weakness. It can additionally result in uncontrollable contractions which causes muscle cramps.

4 Dangers of Low Potassium

If your ranges of potassium are too low, you may expertise harmful conditions such as:

  1. An irregular coronary heart rhythm
  2. Sudden cardiac arrest or a coronary heart attack
  3. For infants – dystonia (muscle floppiness) and difficulty breathing
  4. Dehydration

How Is a Potassium Deficiency Treated?

When it involves treating potassium deficiency, it’s best done by a medical professional.

Adding extra potassium to your diet is usually not sufficient to raise your levels. Your physician may prescribe oral potassium dietary supplements or adjust different medications you’re currently taking to assist you get extra potassium.

Another way to deal with any deficiency is by addressing underlying causes such as consuming disorders, vomiting, or diarrhea. In excessive cases, your physician may recommend IV therapy.

25 Potassium-Rich Foods

If you’re experiencing low potassium levels, you ought to always seek the advice of your physician first. However, adjusting your diet to incorporate extra potassium-rich meals will result in higher overall health. Check out this list of 25 potassium-rich foods:

  1. Beans and legumes – pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, soybeans
  2. Bananas
  3. Grapefruit
  4. Oranges
  5. Melon – cantaloupe and honeydew
  6. Dried fruits – prunes, dates, raisins
  7. Low-fat dairy – milk and yogurt
  8. Certain types of fish – trout, cod, tuna, halibut, rockfish
  9. Certain fruit juices – tomato, apricot, prune, orange, grapefruit
  10. Meat and poultry
  11. Nuts
  12. Molasses
  13. Brown and wild rice
  14. Whole-wheat pasta or bread
  15. Bran cereal
  16. Leafy greens
  17. Pumpkins
  18. Peas
  19. Zucchini
  20. Cucumbers
  21. Sweet potatoes
  22. Potatoes
  23. Cooked spinach
  24. Cooked broccoli
  25. Mushrooms

By including 2 to three of these meals to your diet every day, you’re well in your way to getting the potassium your physique needs. If you’re involved that you could be have a potassium deficiency, be certain to attain out to your physician to keep away from any serious well being consequences.

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