Potassium: All you need to know, Health Benefits and Food rich in it


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Ever wondered about the role Potassium plays in the human body, it’s importance to the body, food rich in it and how much of it we need, or to start with, what it is?
Let’s break it down bit by bit!

What is Potassium?

Potassium is an important mineral in the body, that acts as an electrolyte, helping the body to regulate fluid, send nerve signals, regulate muscle contractions and so much more.

You might ask, what an ‘Electrolyte’ is…

An electrolyte is simply a substance that divides itself into either positive or negative ions when dissolved in a solution(take for example, in water).

Fun Fact: An Electrolyte has the capacity to conduct electricity, and Potassium is one of them.


Potassium ions carry a positve charge, and your body needs this electricity to manage a variety of processes.

The Important Processes Potassium helps the body to manage:

Helps to maintain Consistent Blood Pressure

One important function of Potassium is that it helps to counteract the effects of Sodium in the body. Now, Sodium which we mainly get from salt, leads to the body retaining a lot of fluid. When it (sodium) is too much, this can lead to High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) and other issues. Potassium helps to prevent this by balancing the effects of Sodium.

Helps in regulation of Heart and Muscle Contractions

According to Experts from Healthline.com, the Nervous system helps regulate muscle contractions. Now, altered blood Potassium levels in the body can affect nerve signals in the nervous system, weakening muscle contractions as a result.
Potassium is also important for maintaining a healthy heart, as it’s movement in and out of cells help to maintain a regular heartbeat. When it’s level is too high in the blood, the heart may become dilated. This can produce abnormal heartbeat.When it’s level is too low in the bloodstream, the heart does not beat properly and cannot pump blood effectively to the brain, organs and muscles. In some cases, heart arrhythmia can occur, leading to sudden death.

Also check for Causes of heart attack that you can control.

Helps to Maintain Healthy Nerve Function

nerve cells potassium
Nerve cells image via Pixabay
The Nervous system relays message between the brain and the body. These messages are delivered in form of nerve impulses and help in regulation of muscle contractions, heartbeat, reflexes and many other body functions.
Getting enough potassium from your diet can help you maintain healthy nerve functions.

Other Importance and Health Benefits of Potassium are:

  • It can Help reduce Blood pressure
  • It can Help Protect against Strokes
  • It can Help Protect against Osteoporosis (bone disease or condition when the bone density of the body decreases and the body stops producing as much bone as it did before.)
  • And, It can also Help Prevent Kidney Stones

How much Potassium does your body need daily?

The adequate intake recommendation for potassium is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day for Adults. Research indicates that Women consume less potassium than Men on average.
Now, Potassium supplements are available for you in stores and Pharmaceuticals, but it is best to obtain your Potassium mineral through food.

Yes, Food!

Which brings me to my next sub-topic…

Top 10 healthy Food Rich in Potassium

1. Fish

Fishes are some of the best sources of Potassium.
Fishes such as Halibut, Tuna, Cod and Snapper contain Potassium in good amout of about 480mg per 3-oz serving.
Salmon, Haddock and Perch contain about 300mg per 3-oz serving.

2. Bananas

Packs about 358mg of Potassium.

3. Yoghurt and Milk

Regular yoghurt packs about 573mg of Potassium while a cup of whole milk has more than 300mg of Potassium. The same amount of nonfat milk contains almost 400mg of Potassium.

4. Sweet Potato

A medium baked sweet potato has about 421mg of Potassium.
They are also rich in Vitamin A for your eyes and vitamin C for your skin.
Extra tip: They are very tasty too.

5. Avocado

Avocados are excellent sources of Potassium.
One half of an Avocado contains 487mg of Potassium. If you eat a full avocado, you’d get 20% of your daily potassium needs at once. Ain’t that cool?
Extra tip: Avocados are packed with good fat, and are great source of Vitamin K and folate.

6. WaterMelon

Large, delicious fruit with high water content good for you.
Just two wedges of watermelon gives you about 640mg of Potassium.
It is also a great source of Vitamin A, vitamin C, and also Magnesium.

7. Beans

Examples are:

  • Black Beans – 323mg
  • Cranberry Beans – 362mg
  • Pinto Beans – 394mg
  • Cooked kidney Beans – 379mg

8. Nuts

Examples include:

  • Almonds – 349mg of Potassium per one-third cup
  • Roasted Cashew nuts – 272mg of Potassium per one-third cup
  • Brazil nuts – 292mg of Potassium per one-third cup
  • Pistachios and Pine nuts – 420mg for Pistachios and 269mg for Pine nuts of Potassium per one-third cup
Extra tip: Eating nuts also help supply you with Protein, fiber and healthy fats.

9. Tomato

Tomatoes are considered as a high potassium fruit, but their form can make a huge difference.

Examples are:

  • Tomato Paste – 2455mg (1 cup serving)
  • Tomato Puree – 1065mg (1 cup serving)
  • Fresh tomatoes – 400mg (1 cup serving)

10. Beets

Beets are deep-purple vegetables, often boiled, pickled or added to salads.
One cup of boiled beets can give you 518mg of Potassium.
In addition, they are also a good source of folate and contain nitrates which have been shown to support heart health.

Now you know a bit about Potassium, how much of it you need daily and some food you can eat to get a good quantity of some Potassium. Stay Healthy!

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