Potassium is important for muscle strength, nerve functioning, and a healthy cardiovascular system. It’s in lots of foods we like, such as bananas, melons, avocados, kiwi and almonds. The recommended daily value of potassium is 4,700 mg per day. Even if we are definitely getting that much every day, we still might have a deficiency. How could that be? It’s because, the more sodium we consume, the more potassium our bodies excrete.
Some symptoms of having a potassium deficiency are:
- You feel worn out - Every cell in your body needs the right amount of potassium to function, and a sustained dip can result in generalized fatigue. So if your regular exercise session leaves you exhausted and you know you’re getting enough sleep, potassium might be the cause.
- You eat more salt than you should - Consuming processed foods almost ensures that you have low potassium because of all the sodium chips, crackers, and frozen meals contain. Cut back on the salty stuff to help your body hold on to more of the potassium you’re eating.
- Your muscles feel cramped - Potassium plays a role in smooth muscle contraction, so when levels are low, you might experience aches and even spasms.
- You have high blood pressure - Potassium helps relax blood vessels. Without enough of it, they can become constricted, which causes blood pressure to soar.
- You sometimes feel faint - A large drop in potassium levels can slow your heartbeat enough to make you feel like you’re going to pass out.
- You are constipated - Low potassium levels slow down other bodily functions, and your digestive system is no exception. Bloating and abdominal cramping can also occur.
- You feel that “pins and needles” feeling in your extremities - Potassium helps keep your nerves healthy, and without it, you may experience that annoying pins and needles sensation.
Potassium is part of every cell in the body, and life would be impossible without it. However, potassium is often taken for granted, in spite of its role in maintaining fluid balance, and keeping your brain, nerves, heart, and muscles functioning normally on a constant basis. It’s important to eat enough potassium every day to feel your best, and to help prevent certain chronic conditions.