Are you constantly feeling weak and tired? Well that normally is followed with swelling in the ankles and hands. If you are feeling this, then you might be suffering from potassium deficiency.
What is Potassium Deficiency?
One of the most important minerals in our body is potassium, and it is found in different foods. Also this mineral is an electrolyte, the electrical charges in our body that are contracting our muscles are assisted by this mineral, and that is the main thing that keeps our body moving.
The cells in our body are the ones that contain the most potassium. But even the slightest changes of the potassium levels in our body can have a big impact on the functions of our muscles, nerves and heart.
Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
Sometimes the signals that our body is sending that we are in lack of potassium can go unnoticed, or they are too mild to be noticed and sometimes we can even confuse these symptoms with some other symptoms from other health conditions.
When we are in lack of potassium our nerves, heart, muscles, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract are affected, and that is why we need this mineral in our body and we need to maintain its levels. When we are in lack of this mineral, here are the symptoms:
- Stomach cramps
- Cramping, tiredness or weakness in our leg or arm muscles, can be mild or severe, and sometimes it might feel like paralysis.
- Swelling in our angles, feet, abdomen and face
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure that causes fainting
- Depression, hallucinations, confusion, delirium, and psychosis
Mostly we might be in lack of this mineral from a not well-balanced diet and some other factors that might cause this condition to appear. Also the major cause for potassium deficiency can be dehydration diarrhea and excessive sweating, because when your body is moist you are losing this mineral through that process. And this is the main reason why professional athletes are consuming electrolytes, after their most intensive workouts, when they are sweating a lot.
Also there are some medications that might cause the potassium levels to decrease, like diuretics. Because these medications are promoting fluid release from our body.
Also if our body is missing the bodily fluid we might start to suffer from potassium deficiency, and there are many people who are not getting enough from the diets they are on. There are many foods that are a rich potassium source that we can include into our everyday diet, we need to consume these foods because our body isn’t producing this mineral naturally. So, consuming potassium-rich foods should be your main goal.
How to Avoid Potassium Deficiency?
The easiest way to make sure that you are never missing this mineral in your body is to be on a diet that contains a lot of potassium-rich foods. Also the foods that are rich in potassium are great for our health in general. Here is a list of the foods that contain the most potassium:
- Banana (420 mg of potassium per medium sized banana)
- Chard (510 mg of potassium per 1/2 cup)
- Kidney beans (600 mg of potassium per 3/4 cup)
- Halibut (430 mg of potassium per 75 grams)
- Sweet potato (500 mg of potassium per 1/2 cup)
The recommended daily intake for this mineral for adults is little less than 5,000 mg. But we are in luck, because there are many other types of food that are rich in this mineral and that we can include into our everyday diet.