Potassium is an excellent ally against fatigue, and more: here are all the benefits of a diet rich in one of the most important mineral salts and which foods contain it.
Potassium is a fundamental mineral, involved in many biological functions – for example, it contributes to the functioning of the heart ! But the organism is not able to produce it autonomously, so we have to get it through food. Let’s find out together what are the properties of potassium and in which foods we can find it.
Potassium, what is it for
It is important to keep potassium levels within limits, without exceeding and without deficiency – both are in fact very dangerous situations. This mineral is involved in numerous processes that regulate fundamental activities of the body .
In fact, potassium regulates the functioning of cells, controls blood pressure and heartbeat, participates in the process of transmitting nerve impulses, maintains the body’s pH and its water balance, promotes digestion and keeps bones in shape. In short, it seems that the mineral has many benefits, which have not ended here: it keeps the levels of sodium, phosphorus and calcium balanced, regulates the functioning of the muscles and it is in fact essential to take it regularly, especially for athletes.
Finally, it helps eliminate excess fluids by regulating and helping to eliminate water retention and cellulite .
Where is potassium found? Foods that contain it
It is evident, from what has been said so far, that a diet rich in this mineral leads to numerous benefits for our body. The daily potassium requirement is around 3 grams for adults, which increases to 5 grams for pregnant and lactating women.
The foods richest in potassium are legumes , especially beans and peas. It is also found in large quantities in vegetables (asparagus, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach) and fruit (apricots, bananas, avocados). Other sources of this mineral are fish , especially salmon, cod and sardines, milk and yogurt.
Of course, the food par excellence that is always mentioned when it comes to potassium and sports are bananas. You may not believe it, it is not the fruit rich in potassium par excellence, there are many others, but it is certainly the most famous. Think that a normal sized banana contains about 400 mg. Grapes, and especially raisins, are also a source of this mineral. In fact, about 100 g of product contain 800 mg of Potassium. Not only raisins, apricots and dried figs are also foods rich in potassium: a dozen of these dehydrated fruits contain about 1000 mg (but pay attention to sugars and calories).
We have also mentioned legumes and, among all, it is the beans that receive the gold medal for their high potassium content. In fact, just over 100 g of boiled beans contain 500 mg of the precious minerals, followed closely by sois.
If your blood levels drop beyond their normal value, unpleasant symptoms such as muscle weakness , cramps, fatigue and palpitations may occur. This occurs when this mineral is excreted from the body in an excessive way, due to vomiting, diarrhea or the use of diuretics (but also due to a bad and incorrect diet which is often the main cause of deficiency in the body).
Excessive sweating , such as when performing an important physical activity, can also cause a situation of hypokalaemia (this is the technical term for a potassium deficiency). In severe cases, it can cause cardiac arrhythmias and even cardiac arrest.