High potassium foods supply an essential mineral, potassium. It is used by the body to maintain function in every cell in the body. It does this by maintaining an electrical potential across the cell membrane. It is especially important in nerve cells, muscle cells, and secretory cells, such as those secreting mucus or acid, or those exchanging minerals, like the filtering in the kidney.
In nerve cells, a small change in the presence of potassium leads to the nerve impulses that allow us to think, move body parts and feel, see, hear, smell and taste. In muscle cells it works with calcium to allow the cell to contract and to elongate, allowing motion. In the secretory cells, it moves fluids and other molecules across the cell membrane, including molecules stored in secretory sacs, such as mucus molecules or acid molecules. In short, it is involved in almost every action of a cell.
Since it is so important, you would think that we must get enough or else we would die. The body is incredibly forgiving. We can abuse it a lot before it gives up. But in the meantime it sends us signals that we are doing something wrong. For potassium, it tells us by raising our blood pressure, weakening our bones or giving us kidney stones.
In addition, reports of dietary practices of a number of groups of people have established that U.S. individuals basically receive roughly 50% of the level that is viewed as preferred for protecting against these conditions. A typical North American obtains approximately just two grams but needs to receive 4.7 g daily. Mainly individuals who have Addison’s disease or bad kidneys, those taking diuretics that retain potassium, or patients with one of several remaining unusual disorders are able to get an excess.
In contrast, the usual U.S. citizen consumes a far greater quantity of sodium than they need to. The top amount proposed for sodium is considered to be 5.8 g and in excess of 95% of U.S. adult males and 75% of adult females consume in excess of this total.
Any people who have a high potassium diet and low sodium diet routinely exhibit a decreased prevalence of elevated blood pressure, cerebrovascular event, heart disease, thin bones, and stones in the kidneys. Through typically minimal adjustments in your dietary regimen, you will enjoy equivalent results.
Roger Olson has had an interest in nutrition and healthy foods, such as high potassium foods, for several decades. His main interest focused on high potassium foods as studies emerged showing their health advantages.