I am sure that you have heard of Potassium before, but did you know that potassium is an important electrolyte and third most abundant mineral in the body?!? Potassium is needed for numerous cellular functions and is the main compound that interacts with sodium to perform many important functions every single day. Read on to learn the incredible health benefits of Potassium and where you can find this powerhouse mineral in natural food sources!
This week’s Nutrients by the Alphabet: Potassium
That’s right, in this new series – Nutrients by the Alphabet – you will learn all about important nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), their health benefits, and easy and delicious ways to get more of the good stuff with a fun recipe to try each week (courtesy of my awesome student-intern from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School – Shelby Persechino)!
So, what are the health benefits of Potassium?
Potassium supports heart health since it helps to control the electrical activity of the heart that regulates blood pressure, circulation, and heart beat rhythms. Potassium also plays a role in fluid balance within the body. When potassium is combined with other minerals, like calcium and magnesium, it prevents fluid from building up in cells. Potassium supports a healthy metabolism because it is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, in the form of glucose, from the foods we eat and turning them into usable energy. Potassium prevents muscle spasms and pain by helping to breakdown carbs and proteins that muscles rely on for energy and repair. Potassium also helps maintain bone health and supports muscular and nervous systems. Since it is involved in thousands of cellular functions every day, Potassium is crucial for nerve impulses and electrical signaling that brain functions rely on. Potassium is needed for proper digestion which is responsible for balancing the amount of acid in the stomach, healing the gut and keeping the body at the optimal pH level. Now that’s a long list of awesome health benefits!!
So, how much Potassium do you need and where can you find it?
Adults age 19 and older should consume 4,700mg of potassium per day. You can find Potassium in white beans, lima beans, lentils, avocados, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, bananas, salmon, peas, sardines, grapefruit, raw milk, and grass-fed beef (to name a few!).
Looking for a quick and spicy recipe to increase your Potassium intake? Try this Spicy Sweet Potato Fries from PopSugar.
Try adding this little spicy side dish for tonight’s dinner and receive all of those amazing health benefits mentioned above!