Unlike athletes who are well-aware of the fact that their body needs to maintain a balanced level of electrolytes for enhanced health and for the improvement of their physical performance, common people rarely give some actual thought to this aspect, missing out of their sight its importance and the effects it has.
Electrolytes are mainly responsible for the regulation of the fluid into the body. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes and it is mainly responsible for ensuring a proper electrical function.
Potassium and its importance
Only about 2% of the whole potassium quantity is to be found in the bloodstream, while the rest of it is located into the cells. Even a small fluctuation of its levels can cause severe health problems.
The body is relying on electrical signals to function properly and the potassium’s main job is to provide the support for this electrical function. As a result, the muscles depend on this electrolyte and, if its amount is not sufficient, their function might be affected.
Needless to say that the heart is the body’s most important muscle, so its proper function depends a lot on the level of potassium that is to be found within the body.
Low potassium levels – causes
A healthy diet has the ability to ensure the necessary amounts of potassium. However, there are many people who have some bad habits when it comes to their alimentation. But, there are also other factors that might cause a low level of potassium:
- Diuretics – They are designed to eliminate the excess of fluids within the body. The massive urination process can cause an imbalance into the electrolyte’s quantity.
- Kidney disorders – These organs play a crucial role when it comes to the electrolytes levels. This means that any kidney disorder will automatically influence these levels.
- Laxatives and sweating/vomiting and diarrhea – All of these processes cause a great loss of fluids within the body, so the electrolytes are also likely to be affected.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency
The symptoms of this deficiency are often overlooked, due to the fact that they are mild and vague. But this can turn out to be a life-threatening action. Here is what you need to look out for:
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Heart palpitations
- Abdominal cramps
- Low blood pressure
- Confusion, depression, hallucinations
- Fainting sensation
- Fatigue and weakness
How to increase the potassium levels
The best way to do that is to make sure that you have a healthy diet and that the foods you take in are high in potassium. Here are some foods that should not miss from your kitchen:
- Sweet potatoes
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
You can also eat bananas, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, almonds or papaya. A single cup of beet greens will give you 37% of the daily amount of potassium you need. Also, a cup of spinach will give a quarter of the daily dose of potassium.
Cooking the ingredients might destroy the potassium, so, in order to make sure that you get the whole amount, it is best to eat these foods raw, as much as possible.