When talking about potassium, the first thing that would surely come in to our mind is banana. Yes. Potassium is correlated with banana because it is one of the many fruits that is rich in potassium. When we have low potassium count in our body, our physician would suggest inclusion of banana in our diet. When we are eating banana, do we ever think of what does potassium do for the body? If no, now is the time to talk about that.
What does potassium do for the body?
Potassium is the major intracellular electrolyte while sodium is the major extracellular electrolyte. It is one of the most monitored electrolytes in the body because of its many beneficial and hazardous effects in the body. Potassium is beneficial to the body when it plays within the normal range and becomes hazardous when it goes up or down of the normal range.
Potassium has a significant role in the skeletal and cardiac muscles of the body. It helps regulate their activities by affecting their contractility. If the potassium level in the body is not balance, the skeletal muscles would frequently experience cramping which is a hindrance for those who play sports. Also, the cardiac muscles would not be able to have normal rhythm and contraction. When the heart does not contract properly, the blood would not be able to circulate well in the body thus affecting all body organs. Remember that the blood carries the oxygen and nutrients all cells in the body needs.
What is the normal level of potassium?
The normal range of potassium is 3.5-5 mEq/L. Its value in the body varies because it is frequently excreted by the kidneys. Other means of potassium excretion are through the sweat and the stools. When the potassium level in the body goes higher than5 mEq/L, it can cause cardiac arrest while a potassium level lower than 3.5 mEq/l can cause weakness, muscle cramps and worst respiratory and cardiac arrest. With that, it is important to replenish or bring back potassium in the body.
How can I normalize my potassium level?
There are many ways to normalize potassium level in the body. We can take in foods rich in potassium or take dietary potassium supplements. Dietary sources of potassium are as follows: banana, unsalted nuts, kelp, mushrooms, orange juice, potatoes, sea foods, molasses, seeds and grains. When cooking vegetables high in potassium such as cauliflower, eggplant, broccoli, tuna, squash, Brussels sprouts and spinach, be sure not to overcook them or stay them under the heat for quite some time so that the potassium and mineral components of the vegetables would not be lost.
When planning to take potassium supplements, it is better to have your blood potassium level check first and consult a doctor for the correct dosage.