Potassium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body where it acts as an electrolyte. Similar to other electrolytes it assists in fluid regulation, sending signals, and contracting muscles. It is necessary for maintaining optimal fluid balance of sodium levels in your cells.
Potassium is predominantly found within muscle cells where it controls the amount of water inside of cells, conversely sodium controls the amount of water outside of cells. This electrolyte balance and concentration is known as osmolality.
Under intense activity or hot environmental conditions it is important to restore fluids lost through sweat to maintain optimal performance. Potassium next to sodium is the second greatest mineral lost through sweat. Consuming potassium rich foods can ensure you maintain optimal electrolyte balance.
Potassium and sodium send electrical signals through nerves that regulate muscle contractions, reflexes, and heartbeat. Having low and high concentrations of potassium can effect how these signals are sent through the body. Improper levels will alter the ability to effectively generate nerve impulses.
Because of its ability to alter and maintain sodium levels, potassium also helps support healthy blood pressure. Higher intake of potassium may help blunt the effect of increased sodium intake on blood pressure.
Very few people consume optimum levels of potassium so it can be an important mineral to focus on. The recommended daily intake for potassium in the U.S. is about 4.7 grams a day. It can be easily consumed through a healthy diet containing potassium rich foods. Bananas are commonly referred to as a good source, but salmon, potatoes, avocados, mushrooms, yams and beans are fantastic sources as well.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.