Table of Contents Hide
- 1. Potassium Helps Keeps Your Nerves Functioning Right
- 2. Potassium Helps Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control
- 3. Potassium Helps Keep Your Heart Beating Normally
- 4. Lower Risk of Hypertension Means Lower Risk of Heart Ailments
- 5. Potassium is Key to Having Healthier Bones
- Your Top Potassium Sources
A 2007-2010 survey found that 100% of Americans weren’t consuming enough potassium.
Granted, that 100% only represents 16,444 Americans four years and older. Still, that’s a staggering number of undernourished individuals. Especially since the health benefits of potassium affect the entire body.
That includes the nerves, heart, muscles, bones, and yes, down to the cells.
This is why it’s very important to ensure that you’re getting enough potassium from your diet.
The question now is, what exactly are the benefits of potassium? What can happen if your body becomes too deprived of this mineral?
We’ll answer all these questions below, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Potassium Helps Keeps Your Nerves Functioning Right
The nervous system acts as a messenger between the brain and the body. It allows these two to communicate with each other through nerve impulses or “signals”. These signals are crucial for many body functions, such as heartbeat and reflexes.
The nervous system generates these impulses through sodium and potassium ions. Sodium ions need to move into the cells, while potassium ions have to exit the cells. This “flow” of ions then changes the cell’s voltage, which is what triggers a nerve impulse.
As such, a lack of potassium affects the nervous system’s ability to create these signals. Without enough potassium, the neuromuscular cells’ will be unable to “repolarize” or regenerate. This can then result in symptoms such as muscle weakness, cramps, and palpitations.
Muscle weakness itself isn’t something you should take likely, as this can put you at a higher risk of falls. A fall may then result in severe injuries, including fractures. In fact, an estimated 2.8 million injuries occur each year in the US due to falls.
By ensuring that you get enough potassium, you can keep your nerves healthy. Proper nerve function is key to reducing your risks of falls and fractures.
2. Potassium Helps Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Aside from nerve impulses, the nervous system also helps controls muscle contractions. Potassium’s role in this is similar to how it affects the generation of nerve impulses. Too little potassium can weaken muscle contractions, including the pumping of the heart.
This is why studies suggest that low potassium levels can lead to high blood pressure. A weak heart, after all, will try to pump harder to improve the flow of blood throughout the body. This increased pressure can then put more strain on the heart and the arteries.
3. Potassium Helps Keep Your Heart Beating Normally
The flow of potassium into and out of your cells is also vital for your heart to beat properly. As such, low levels of potassium can alter the pattern and the rate of your heartbeat. This can then lead to your heart being unable to pump enough blood to your major organs.
Moreover, irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia, is a deadly condition. Actually, arrhythmia has shown to cause sudden deaths in as many as 2% to 5% of people who suffer from it. That should be enough reason for you to get more potassium into your system.
4. Lower Risk of Hypertension Means Lower Risk of Heart Ailments
In the US, as many as 18.2 million adults 20 years and older suffer from coronary artery disease. While there are many causes of CAD, untreated hypertension is among the main culprits.
Again, this has something to do with how a lack of potassium can affect your heart’s ability to pump blood. This can then make you more susceptible to developing abnormal blood pressure levels. Left untreated, hypertension can damage the heart and its arteries, resulting in CAD.
As you can see, potassium is no doubt good for you, especially your heart. This is why you should introduce more of this into your system, starting now.
5. Potassium is Key to Having Healthier Bones
Potassium can also help prevent bone disease, such as osteoporosis. It appears to do so by reducing the amount of calcium you lose through urine. The more calcium you retain, the lower your risks of developing porous bones.
So, by ensuring that you have enough potassium in your system, you can keep your bones from becoming porous. The less porous your bones are, the less fragile they’ll be. As a result, you can worry less about fractures, which are very common in people with osteoporosis.
Your Top Potassium Sources
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, are some of your best sources of potassium. Broccoli, potatoes, and mushrooms also contain good amounts of potassium. Fruits, like bananas, cantaloupes, and apricots, are also tasty sources of this mineral.
Another great way to get more potassium is through beverages that contain cascara and potassium. Cascara, in itself, is already packed with potassium. It comes from the husks of coffee cherries, which you can brew and turn into delish teas.
Enjoy These Health Benefits of Potassium Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide on the health benefits of potassium and why you need more of it in your life. This mineral, after all, is key to keeping your entire body — from your nerves to your heart to your bones — working right. Too little of it, and you run the risk of suffering from many ailments.
So, as early as now, build your meals from potassium-rich fruits and vegetables! You can also spice up things by adding K-rich beverages, like cascara, into your diet. What’s important is to ensure that you get enough potassium into your system as soon as possible.
Ready for more life and health pro tips? Head over to the Health & Fitness section then, so you can check out more articles like this!