Over the years, we have seen people being more conscious about what they eat and especially post-pandemic, the focus has shifted to the nutrients in their diet. By now, we all know how important it is to eat foods enriched with protein, fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C. But still, there are some essential nutrients that are highly ignored and underrated – one such being potassium. Do you know, potassium supports various bodily functions including maintaining a healthy heart and strong nerves? You heard us. According to a report by the Harvard School of Public Health, potassium is also referred to as an electrolyte as “it carries a small electrical charge that activates various cell and nerve functions”. You will easily find potassium in the everyday food ingredients available in your pantry.
Considering the multiple roles it plays in our daily life, we decided to bring your attention to the importance of loading up on potassium. In fact, we will also take you through the topmost health benefits of having foods containing potassium.
Link Between Potassium And Sodium: Why Is It Important To Consume Enough Potassium?
Discussion on the importance of potassium remains incomplete without mentioning its counterpart – sodium. Potassium and sodium are closely connected but have opposite effects on the body. While potassium helps maintain normal fluid levels inside our cells, sodium does the same outside the cells. Experts state it is important to keep up the sodium-potassium balance in our body to keep it functioning properly. Having more amount of sodium and less potassium not only leads to several health hazards but can also be detrimental at times, explains a report by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5 Health Benefits Of Eating Potassium-Rich Foods:
As mentioned earlier, potassium is easily available in our everyday foods. All we need to do is, eat them consciously to keep up the recommended amount of potassium in our body. Let’s look into some of the major benefits of potassium.
1. Manages blood pressure:
Experts suggest that the more potassium you consume, the more sodium you lose with sweat and urine which further helps keep up the balance. Moreover, the nutrient also eases tension on the walls of your blood vessel, lowering the blood pressure levels in your body.
2. Maintains heart health:
High blood pressure is considered one of the biggest contributors to heart risks. With potassium intake, one can not only manage blood pressure but also maintain strong heart health. Besides, it is also known to prevent hardening of the arteries which leads to several serious cardiovascular diseases.
3. Keeps your nerves strong:
Potassium is considered great to keep up the electrochemical balance across cell membranes, a vital factor to transmit nerve signals. This further helps keep your nerves strong and prevents associated risks.
4. Prevents mood swings:
Potassium is also considered good for your hormones. It assists different types of hormones in your body including serotonin and cortisol, and relaxes your tension nerves, making you feel calm. It may also help prevent anxiety and mood swings.
5. Keeps up water balance in the body:
As mentioned earlier, the key role of potassium is to maintain normal fluid levels inside our cells. This is done by regularly flushing out excess sodium and toxins from the body, further preventing oxidative stress and dehydration.
How Much Potassium Should You Consume In A Day:
According to a report by the Harvard School of Public Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for potassium differs from person to person, as per their age, gender and tolerance. “It is estimated that the average daily intake of potassium in adults is about 2,320 mg for women and 3,016 mg for men,” the report reads. Check the detailed list below:
|Gender||Any Condition||Age||Adeuate Potassium Intake/Day|
|Women||19 and above||2600 mg|
|Women||pregnant/lactating||depending on age||2500-2900 mg|
|Men||19 and above||3400 mg|
Considering all the above factors, we say to include an adequate amount of potassium in your daily diet to keep up a physiological and psychological balance for overall good health. But, do not forget to consult an expert to understand your level of tolerance and the exact amount of potassium you can consume daily. Remember, excess of everything is bad for health.
Meanwhile, click here to find some of the best sources of potassium you can include in your daily diet.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.