Potassium is an essential mineral that performs several vital functions in the body. Like sodium and chlorine, it is an electrolyte.
Cramps and lack of energy can be clear indicators of a potassium deficiency. The first instinct to remedy this is to include foods that contain it in your diet to avoid major health problems.
The drop in potassium levels can affect the nervous system. It also disrupts communication with muscle cells in the digestive system, heart, and other muscles. Most of the potassium in the body is found in the cells. A balanced diet keeps blood potassium levels stable without problems.
But how do you know if you have a potassium deficiency? Here are some signs:
You feel tired and weak
The first symptoms of a potassium deficiency are usually muscular. Muscle pain, cramps and abnormal weakness are common. This weakness not only affects the arms or legs, but also the respiratory and gastrointestinal muscles.
Low potassium levels prevent muscle cells from quickly recharging with energy. This causes abnormal and general muscle fatigue. Spasms and tingling or numbness may indicate that the potassium deficiency is getting worse.
Lack of potassium for a long time can affect the heart by altering its normal functioning. The first symptom will be an irregular heartbeat with no apparent cause. Potassium deficiency can also slow your heart rate and therefore cause dizziness.
There are different types of arrhythmia. Some make the heart beat too fast, others make it slow. All types of arrhythmia can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from dizziness to fainting. An irregular heartbeat can also be accompanied by shortness of breath, chest pain, and sweating.
High blood pressure
Many factors influence blood pressure, including family history, being overweight, and salt intake. A potassium deficiency is also decisive. Both the excess and its deficit can cause changes in blood pressure. Eating too much salt and too little fruit and vegetables contributes to high blood pressure.
Muscle activity and relaxation depend on potassium. This relaxation can be voluntary or involuntary, depending on the type of muscle that is working. In case of potassium deficiency, the muscle continues to contract and causes cramps. If painful leg muscle spasms tend to recur, it may be due to a lack of potassium. This is very common in athletes who train a lot. If this is your case, it’s a good idea to drink an electrolyte-rich drink that includes potassium once in a while.
Foods that help fight potassium deficiency
Whenever we talk about potassium, we think bananas are a great source. Although it is true that they are a good source of this mineral, it is not the only food. Some of the options that will help you remedy potassium deficiency naturally include:
It is well known that the banana is rich in potassium and provides 370 mg per 100 grams of pulp. Just remember that if you have diabetes, you should not consume this fruit indiscriminately.
If you are one of those who loves a good mashed potato, this is for you. Potatoes provide 418 mg of potassium per 100 grams. It is advisable to eat it baked, grilled or steamed and avoid fried options.
Cabbage provides 450 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
This food provides 487 mg of potassium per 100 grams. Take the opportunity to enjoy it in a cold salad.
Spinach is a seasonal vegetable that you can eat in different dishes. It provides 554 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Now that you have a list of foods that contain them, it’s a good idea to include them in your diet regularly.
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