The potassium is an essential mineral for body. It greatly helps the functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It also has a very important role in the assimilation of certain nutrients. That is why it is interesting to know what are the foods rich in potassium.
The human body is made up of 5% potassium. The absorption of this mineral is closely linked to sodium and vitamin B6.
What is potassium and why is it important?
Potassium is a mineral found in the blood that the body obtains through the consumption of certain foods, mainly fruits and vegetables. It is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and its functions are essential for it to function properly.
It helps in the transport of electrical signals to the cells of the body. Thus, potassium is very important for nerve and muscle cells to function properly, especially the muscle cells of the heart.
The body absorbs potassium when food reaches the small intestine , where the assimilation of the mineral reaches 90%. The remaining 10% is expelled through the urine.
One of the most important functions of potassium is that it helps significantly in the production of proteins . In addition, it has a very important role in the breakdown and assimilation of carbohydrates by the body, keys to obtaining energy both physically and mentally.
In addition, potassium is very important for the development of the muscular system . That is why the consumption of foods rich in this mineral is especially recommended in athletes and children.
Potassium is also responsible for regulating the level of water in the body, essential to obtain adequate hydration.
Recommended daily amount of potassium
The recommended daily amount of potassium is highly dependent on age.
- From 0 to 6 months: 0.4 grams.
- From 7 to 12 months: 0.7 grams.
- From 1 to 3 years: 3 grams.
- From 4 to 8 years: 3.8 grams.
- From 9 to 13 years: 4.5 grams.
- From 14 to 18 years old: 4.7 grams.
- 19 years and older: 4.7 grams.
In the case of lactating women , they need to consume a higher daily amount of potassium: 5.1 grams. Even so, it is best to consult a doctor to determine what is really the amount that the woman needs.
Potassium rich foods
To take care of the bone and muscular system, as well as the cardiovascular system, it is essential to follow a diet with foods that provide a large amount of potassium to the body.
Avocados, along with bananas, are one of the fruits with the highest amount of potassium, 490 mg per 100 grams of food. There are countless ways to incorporate avocados into your diet . In addition, they can be taken at any time of the day.
Although currently the consumption of seaweed is not very widespread in the West, little consumption is increasingly common. It is the food with the highest potassium content . In certain species it can reach 10,000 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, algae are very rich in other nutrients such as iodine , phosphorus and calcium . Also in iron, so they are essential to avoid certain diseases such as anemia.
Plums are another of the foods richest in potassium that exist. Its content is approximately 1,000 grams per 100 grams of product. One of the main advantages that plums offer in relation to their consumption is that they can be eaten as pieces of fruit or incorporated into a large selection of recipes .
Sesame seeds are very rich in potassium, with a contribution of 468 mg per 100 grams of food. In addition, they are very rich in fiber , so they help prevent constipation and improve intestinal transit.
These seeds also provide a large amount of iron , an essential micromineral for the body as it fulfills a large selection of functions: oxygen transport, hemoglobin and collagen production, etc.
The consumption of spinach is especially recommended among athletes thanks to its high level of potassium . The contribution is 560 mg for every 100 grams of food.
In addition, spinach is very rich in vitamins, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. A cocktail of nutrients that help regulate blood pressure, strengthen bones and improve metabolism activity.
Thistles, along with algae, are one of the least popular foods. However, its consumption is highly recommended to ensure that blood potassium levels are adequate. They provide 400 mg for every 100 grams of food.
In addition, its high inulin content makes thistles a very healthy food for people with diabetes . This food also takes care of the liver and greatly favors its functioning.
One of the most consumed foods globally is potatoes. They are an extraordinary source of potassium, with a contribution of 420 mg per 100 grams of product. To avoid the excessive contribution of unhealthy fats to the body, it is best to consume baked or steamed potatoes .
One of the best known foods in relation to its contribution of potassium, 592 grams per 100 grams of food. In the sports field , banana is precisely one of the foods that are most consumed after training and high intensity activities.
Another of the great benefits of bananas is that they are very rich in antioxidants , which is why they are of great help to prevent premature aging of both the skin and the cells.
Brussels sprouts are another of the most recommended foods to avoid a potassium deficit in the body. Provides 450 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, they are very rich in vitamin C , so they protect and strengthen the immune system. They are also high in fiber, so Brussels sprouts are highly recommended to promote intestinal transit.
Mushrooms also contain a lot of potassium, 370 mg per 100 grams of food. They are a very important source of high-quality plant proteins . In addition to potassium, they contain many other minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and zinc.
They are also rich in B vitamins, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. To all this we must add that mushrooms are very low in fat and calories.
Potassium deficiency diseases
It is important that potassium intake is adequate depending on age and health status. The deficiency of this mineral in the body is called hypokalemia . The potassium level in the blood is generally between 3.6 and 5.2 mmol / L. When the level is less than 2.5 mmol / L it is a high risk, life threatening situation.
The causes of this disorder, in addition to the lack of consumption of foods rich in potassium, can be the taking of diuretic drugs or diseases that affect kidney function.
In a high percentage of cases, low potassium is diagnosed in a routine blood test. It is not very common for hypokalemia to give rise to specific symptoms. The most common signs are weakness, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
The most serious complication that can arise from low potassium levels in the blood is arrhythmia , especially in older people and / or with undiagnosed heart disease.
Potassium excess diseases
In the same way that the deficiency of potassium can lead to different health complications, the excess of this mineral in the blood can also be dangerous. It is called hypokalemia when the potassium level in the blood is greater than 5.5 mmol / L.
The most common causes are two. On the one hand, a chronic kidney failure . And, on the other hand, taking medications to treat diseases of the cardiovascular system.
It is an asymptomatic disease, the main indication of which is the change in heart rhythm.
5 curiosities of potassium
Finally, we want to point out some curiosities about potassium that are interesting to know.
- The mineral of balance: in many cases, potassium is known as the mineral of balance because it participates in a wide range of functions; transmission of nerve impulses, both cardiac and muscular contraction, hydration, etc.
- Potassium and sport: it is the athletes who should ingest the greatest amount of this mineral. The reason is that potassium is largely eliminated through sweat and, furthermore, it is essential for the synthesis of glycogen in the muscular system.
- No to diabetes: not consuming the recommended daily amount of potassium causes the body to produce less insulin. Therefore, the best way to prevent diabetes is by ensuring adequate consumption of foods rich in this mineral.
Taking into account which are the foods richest in potassium , it is advisable to incorporate them into the daily meal plan. Its consumption is of great help for the body to function properly. As we have pointed out, both the excess and the deficit of this mineral are detrimental to the state of health, so it is essential to remember what the recommended daily amounts are according to age.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.