Potassium (K)

Potassium

Potassium-rich foods
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Including potassium rich foods in the daily diet can be beneficial to every cell in the body. Potassium is necessary for normal functioning of all of our soft tissues: blood vessels, capillaries, muscles, especially the muscles of the heart, brain cells, liver, kidney, endocrine glands and other organs.

Potassium is a mineral that carries a small electrical charge, helping to maintain proper fluid-electrolyte balance in the body. It is necessary for the electrical activity in the heart, nerves and brain. This mineral helps with smooth and skeletal muscle functioning and contractions, including proper functioning of the heart. Essential for cell growth. This nutrient helps with metabolism and energy production, breaking down carbohydrates and using proteins to help build muscle. Potassium helps with digestion and with the efficient elimination of waste from the body.

nutshell In a nutshell
nutshell Potassium is necessary for healthy functioning of blood vessels, heart and brain.
nutshell Getting enough potassium in the diet can help reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, kidney stones.
nutshell Due to Potassium and Sodium chemically are very similar, Potassium chloride very often is added to table salt in order to reduce consumption of sodium.

Potassium deficiency

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Potassium deficiency is called hypokalemia and may cause symptoms that include:
• Fatigue;
• Muscle cramps;
• Muscle weakness;
• Abdominal pain;
• Constipation;
• Intestinal paralysis;
• Muscle paralysis;
• Abnormal heart rhythm.

Deficiencies in this nutrient may occur from taking certain medications, including diuretics and laxatives, illness resulting in vomiting and diarrhea, excessive sweating, and diseases that affect the intestines, kidneys, or adrenal
glands.

Overdose and Toxicity Symptoms

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Too much potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia and may result in dangerous abnormal heart rhythms that may lead to cardiac arrest. Other symptoms include muscle weakness, tingling sensations in the hands and feet, and muscle weakness or paralysis.

Recommended Daily Intake and sources of Potassium

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Daily Recommended Intake. The recommended daily intake of this mineral is:
• Infants: 300 – 700 mg;
• Children aged 1 – 3: 3000 mg;
• Children aged 4 – 8: 3800 mg;
• Children aged 9 – 13: 4500 mg;
• Ages 14 through adults: 4700 mg.

There are no additional requirements for pregnant women, however breastfeeding women should try to get 5,100 mg. of potassium every day. While it is best to obtain this mineral from natural food sources, supplementation can helps if recommended by a physician.

The best potassium-rich foods are dried fruits, beans, nuts, vegetables and raw fruits. Some great choices are:
• Tomatoes: sun-dried -1851 mg;
• Apricots: 1 cup dried – 1550 mg;
• White beans: 1 cup cooked – 1004 mg;
• Avocado: 1 average whole – 975 mg;
• Potatoes: 1 baked with skin – 926 mg;
• Acorn squash: 1 cup baked – 899 mg;
• Spinach: 1 cup cooked – 839 mg;
• Orange juice: 1 cup -496 mg;
• Portabella mushrooms: 100g grilled – 450 mg;
• Bananas: raw (one banana) – 400 mg.

Meats, fish, and dairy products also have potassium, so eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you get enough of this nutrient.

Potassium was extracted by soaking ash of plants…

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The metal element potassium was discovered in 1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy. The term potassium comes from the word “potash” because the element was extracted by soaking ash of plants in a pot of water. Symbol of potassium is K- Kalium. Kalium is derived from Arabic word “alkali” which means “ash of plants”.