You’ll be glad to know that there are other sources for potassium besides bananas (especially if you’re not a huge fan of the fruit), and your body won’t function well without it.
Read on to learn why potassium is an essential nutrient that everyone needs.
What’s So Great About Potassium?
Potassium as an element is represented by the letter K for Kalium. It is a natural salt that is very similar to sodium, which is universally known as salt. It can be found in many minerals, because it dissolves rapidly in seawater and occurs in ionic salts. It is recommended by health and nutrition experts that we each have an equal amount of potassium and sodium in our diet for maximum effectiveness.
Potassium is needed for several things: the heart, the kidneys, the muscles, the nerves, and the digestive system. Potassium is a good preventative for atherosclerosis, cataracts, dehydration, diabetes, hepatitis, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, and potassium depletion due to excessive fluid loss from diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating.
Potassium comes in oral liquid, powder, granules, effervescent tablets, regular tablets, extended-release (long-acting) tablets, and extended-release capsules. Potassium is usually obtained through those foods which you regularly eat. Sometimes, however, potassium must be taken like a medication rather than a natural vitamin, because the body can be deprived of it because of other medication and diseases that cause the deficiency. Even though one might take potassium as a supplement, the doctor may still advise that potassium-rich foods and beverages be taken as a follow up to the medication (i.e. milk, bananas, prunes, yams, lima beans etc.).
You must be careful also not to get overly zealous about eating cooked foods when trying to maintain a good potassium regimen. There is such a thing as cooking the nutrients – in this case, the potassium – out of your food. When you don’t take in potassium-rich foods raw, you may be losing more than half of the nutrients you need to remain in good health.
When a human – or even an animal – is lacking in potassium, it may cause cardiac dysfunctions. If someone/something is experiencing muscle weakness, confusion, irritability, fatigue, heart problems and/or chronic diarrhea; it could be a sign that there is a need for more potassium. Those who use certain diuretics or participate in regular, intense exercise likely need more potassium as well, since these types of activities and behaviors deplete the body of essential bodily fluids that potassium can quickly help to replace.
If ever feeling faint, worn out, tired and/or drained of energy, it might be best to begin eating more potassium-rich foods. However, if the feelings persist, you should contact your doctor immediately because you may be taking something or have something that works against the potassium that has tried to penetrate your body.