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All You Need to Know About Potassium and Low Potassium Side Effects

What is Potassium?

To sustain the pH level of fluids in our body we need potassium to be healthy. Some people don't know the importance of potassium in our body system. Maybe you will ask what is potassium, and its role in our body. Potassium is best known as an important nutrient. One of the role of potassium is in protein synthesis, muscle growth, contractions and nerve cells functions. It also helps to regulate the outside of the cell and the water balance in our body. Potassium rich foods are important to regulate our nervous system, adrenal and muscle activity, heart and kidney function, bone mass and maintain good blood pressure. To avoid health problems and diseases a balanced diet and foods with potassium is recommended by eating fruits, vegetables and other foods with good potassium level. Complete list of Potassium Rich Foods

What are the Foods with High Potassium Content

Foods Rich in PotassiumServing SizePotassium Content
Raisins1 Cup1089 mg
Banana1 cup594 mg
Cantaloupe1 cup427 mg
Apricots, dried10 halves407 mg
Papaya1 medium360 mg
Strawberries1 cup254 mg

Foods Rich in PotassiumServing SizePotassium Content
Potato, baked1 potato1081 mg
Lima beans1 cup959 mg
Tomato products, canned sauce1 cup909 mg
Winter squash1 cup896 mg
Artichoke1 cup595 mg
Beets (cooked)1 cup519 mg
Steamed spinach½ cup415 mg
Kidney beans½ cup355 mg

Other Foods
Foods Rich in PotassiumServing SizePotassium Content
Molasses1 teaspoon498 mg
Cooked Tuna3 ounces484 mg
Almonds2 ounces412 mg
Yogurt6 ounces398 mg
Milk1 cup377 mg
Cottage cheese1 cup217 mg

Low Potassium Content

A person who eats with low potassium in foods will be having a deficiency in potassium or hypokalemia. Hypokalemia is a condition when our body fails to maintain the minimum needed requirements of potassium and you are required to undergo in potassium screening for a potassium test. A person who are afraid in needle or injection can also try potassium test kit.

The normal values for urine are between 25 and 120 mEq/L per 24 hours. Normal levels of potassium in feces range from 5 to 10 mmol per day per 100 to 200 mL of stool. Potassium test kits are useful in the determining the potassium levels in urine or stool. A person with low blood pressure has a metabolic deficiency from potassium. Potassium is dietary element and requirements for the cells of the body, particularly in nerve and muscle cells.

How to get the potassium you need

Specialists suggest that adults should take 4,700 mg of potassium daily. But for American as a whole, it is recommended to to eat food with potassium levels of 3,200 mg for men and 2,400 for women daily. Patients who are suffering from kidney disease should consume from 1,500 mg to 2,700 mg of potassium daily. To get the potassium you need it is recommended to eat a potassium diet and maintain the daily average intake of potassium level of foods.

Recommended Daily Serving for Potassium

  • Fruits - 1 to 3 servings with low-potassium content ( strawberries, papaya, water mellon, peach)
  • Vegetables - 2 to 3 servings with low-potassium content ( carrots, broccoli, cabbage)
  • Dairy and calcium rich foods - 1 to 2 servings with low-potassium content (cottage cheese, milk)
  • Fish, meat or meat alternatives - 3 to 7 servings with low-potassium content (salmon, chicken breast)
  • Grains - 4 to 7 servings with low-potassium content

Symptoms of Plant Nutrient Deficiencies in Potassium

Plants are required the right mixture of nutrients for growth, to reproduce and to live. Plants will be malnourished if they show the sign of being weak. There are two categories of plant nutrients, the micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients that naturally acquired by the roots from the soil. Micro-nutrients include manganese, zinc, iron, boron, copper, molybdenum, and chlorine. Macro-nutrients include the phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and potassium. These are elements that relatively needed in large amount.

You will notice the symptoms if potassium has nutrient deficiency, if the the leaves droop or drying out. Plants interveinal chlorosis (pale yellow-green plant ) starts at the base and dried from leaf margins. You need a healthy soil and enough water for plants to get enough potassium.

Potassium lowers blood pressure

Potassium is recommended for people with high blood pressure and can it can be determined by potassium screening. The Third National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES III) proved that potassium has a big role to lower the blood pressure. In February 2001, adults with more than 17,000 confirmed that enough potassium consumption from vegetable and fruits can lower blood pressure. It also shows that a person with low sodium-to-potassium percentage (low-sodium, high-potassium) will less experience the heart diseases.

Low Potassium Side Effects

  • Nausea and frequent vomiting
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Insomnia and headache
  • Low blood pressure , high cholesterol and heart attacks
  • Kidney problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue and cramps
  • Increase in the blood pressure level
  • Nervousness and Irregular Heartbeat
  • Mental confusion and irritability
  • Dry skin
  • Edema or abnormal fluid beneath the skin or in that produces swelling.

Causes of Low Potassium

Potassium screening will discover if you have low potassium or hypokalemia, results in muscle weakness, abnormal urine ability in concentrating, arrythmias (irregular heart beat) and polydipsia (excessive thirst). It is because of loss of potassium in renal or due to gastrointestinal. Other medication and illness and use of water pills (diuretic) may also decrease the potassium levels. Other causes of low potassium or hypokalemia include:

  • Kidney losses such as adrenal disorders, magnesium deficiency and leukemia
  • Potassium loss in stomach and intestines like vomiting, enemas, diarrhea, and after ileostomy operation (surgical opening constructed by bringing the end or loop of small intestine)
  • Effect of medicines like using water pills, medicine for asthma (bronchodilators, theophylline and steroids) and aminoglycosides (type of antibiotic)
  • Malnutrition or decreased in food intake like anorexia, bulimia, bariatic surgery and alcoholism.

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