As a ninth element in the periodic table, potassium is an influential mineral for maintaining health of all living beings. Its adequate amount in the body helps all the cells, tissues and organs to function at their optimum. It also acts as an electrolyte; this means it conducts electricity, together with other electrolytes, such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate etc.
Whether it is available in required amounts in diet or used in medicine, potassium is necessary to improve the quality of life in humans. Potassium is vital for proper heart functioning. In fact it is a key element required for contraction and expansion of heart muscles. Besides, as an electrolyte, helps to maintain proper fluid balance in the body.
Normally you do not require an extra amount of potassium supplement in daily life; the body requirement is sufficiently met by eating a balanced diet. Following are some of the foods that are rich source of potassium. Try to include at least one or two of them in daily diet. Bananas, strawberries, watermelon, orange, sweet lime, dried fruits, milk and other dairy products, meat, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, legumes, salmon and cod fish etc.
How Does Potassium Reduce Heart Disease?
Potassium has proven itself as an important element required for proper functioning of heart muscles. Your heart can stay healthy, if it gets the required amount of potassium. Let us know how it helps to prevent heart risks.
Potassium regulates heart beats: there is a process called sodium –potassium pump in our body. This process helps to trigger heartbeat. Proper contraction and relaxation of cardiac muscles circulates pure and impure blood from the tissues. If there is low potassium level in the body, it can lead to irregular heartbeats.
A person who is suffering from irregular heartbeats may benefit by taking potassium supplements. Low level of potassium may decrease cardiac output and this may give rise to swelling in legs. A word of caution is, before taking any potassium supplement; you should consult your physician. However, there is no risk from taking potassium rich food in such cases.
Potassium and blood pressure: The inner lumen of arteries consists of smooth muscles. Adequate potassium level helps the smooth muscles to contract and relax efficiently. Research has shown that people who consume sufficient amount of potassium in their diet may have less chances of suffering from hypertension.
Does Potassium Lower Cholesterol?
Studies have revealed that foods that are advocated to reduce cholesterol level contain good amount of potassium. Thus it makes sense for advocating the patient who is suffering from hyperlipidemia or high level of cholesterol in the blood to eat these foods. Generally people are advised to eat more of vegetables and fruits and other fiber containing foods when patient is suffering from high cholesterol.
If a person makes these foods regular portion in their diet, he consumes fewer calories. Low cholesterol level lowers the risk of coronary heart disease as well as hypertension. Thus potassium aids in preventing heart ailment.
Despite of the benefits possessed by potassium to reduce the risk of heart diseases, it has to be taken with care when as person suffers from kidney disease.
For an adult who wants to keep his heart healthy, he should consume at least 2000 milligrams of potassium per day. Foods containing potassium can easily suffice this amount. However, if you are suffering from heart ailment or high blood pressure, you can increase potassium intake as advised by the physician.