Majority Of Americans Are NOT Getting Enough Of This Critical Nutrient
Written by: Janet Early
Potassium is vital for the proper function of your body’s cells, tissues and organs. Yet, fewer than 2% of U.S. adults consume the recommended daily amount of this essential nutrient.
Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a key role in healthy muscle contraction, digestion and muscular function, as well as heart function, bone health and blood pressure. It is regulated in your kidneys to ensure that your body keeps a stable water balance between cells and bodily fluids.
The nutrient has a complex relationship with sodium, which is typically out of balance since 99.4% of U.S. adults consume more than the American Heart Association’s’ daily recommended amount of salt. Consuming too much salt and too little potassium more than doubles the risk of heart attack and substantially increases chances of hypertension.
If you experience the following issues, you may not be getting enough potassium:
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Constipation and other digestive irregularities
- Tingling or numbness
- Extreme thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Osteoporosis and related bone problems
Having too little potassium produces a condition called Hypokalemia. This condition is underscored by experiencing a combination of the above symptoms and usually results from the body losing too much potassium in urine or within the intestines.
Common causes of this potassium deficiency are:
While these are known contributors, the reasons for potassium deficiency are largely unknown. If you think you may be falling short of your body’s potassium needs, you can run a simple blood test through your primary practitioner to check your levels.
You can manage your potassium levels in several ways: By taking potassium supplements, lowering your intake of salty, processed foods and, most importantly, eating a diet rich in this important mineral.
Great sources of potassium are:
- Butternut squash
- Fish (especially halibut, tuna and mackerel)
- Sweet potato
Studies show that healthy amounts of potassium in your body reduce risks for stroke, hypertension, kidney stones, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Plus, you’re going to feel a heck of a lot better!
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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