Potassium is an amazing mineral that has so many incredible benefits. But unfortunately, many people aren’t getting enough. Keep reading to discover all the wonderful benefits of potassium as well as how to get more in your diet.
When it comes to minerals, magnesium tends to steal the spotlight. And for good reason – it’s amazing.
Magnesium is required for over 3,400 chemical reactions in the body!
It is one of the most important minerals when it comes to your health.
But potassium is also amazing, and in my opinion, it’s a completely underrated mineral.
It is estimated that almost 98% of Americans don’t get anywhere near the daily recommended amount of potassium.
I truly believe many health issues people suffer from are due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
So I wanted to do a series on minerals to highlight their importance and help you get more of them in your diet.
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I began the series by discussing sodium (specifically salt) and its amazing benefits. You can click the link below to check it out.
And for part two of this series, I’ll be sharing all the incredible benefits of potassium as well as how to ensure you are getting enough in your diet.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is an essential mineral. All the tissues in the body need it. It is also referred to as an electrolyte because it carries a small electrical charge.
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium has many different benefits. You can discover a few of them below.
Helps Improve Thyroid Function
Your body requires adequate amounts of potassium to be able to respond to thyroid hormones in the bloodstream.
If your body has adequate amounts, then it will be able to respond to thyroid hormones appropriately.
You can read this study to learn more.
Regulates Fluid Balance
Potassium, along with other electrolytes, helps the body regulate fluids. Potassium, specifically, can help reduce water retention and excess swelling.
Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
Potassium can help to lower your blood pressure because potassium can lessen the effects of sodium which can raise your blood pressure.
You can click here to learn more.
Improves Kidney Function
Potassium helps the kidneys flush out excess salt, which can damage the kidneys over time. Potassium also helps the body regulate calcium which can help prevent kidney stones.
Those are just a few examples of how potassium works in the body. Potassium is also extremely beneficial for the nervous system, the heart, and the bones.
You can click here to learn more about the benefits of potassium.
Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
Below are several symptoms associated with potassium deficiency.
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle weakness
- and more!!
Several lifestyle factors can contribute to potassium deficiency, including a poor diet, vitamin D supplementation, diuretic therapy, laxative use, chronic stress, and more.
Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Potassium
Although potassium has many health benefits and most people aren’t getting enough, there is such a thing as too much.
Too much potassium can be extremely dangerous. Below are signs and symptoms of too much potassium in the body.
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
You can click here to learn more about signs of too much potassium in the body.
The Relationship Between Sodium & Potassium
Sodium and potassium work together. Negative symptoms associated with too much sodium are frequently due to a lack of potassium in the body.
Potassium helps to remove excess salt from the body.
Potassium and salt also work together to create an energy gradient in your cell membranes. They also work together to maintain fluid and blood volume.
Your potassium-to-sodium ratio should be somewhere around 4:1.
Many health issues associated with a high-sodium diet, like high blood pressure, are due to consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium.
The answer is not always to cut back on sodium. The better solution might be to increase your potassium intake.
How Much Potassium Do You Need Daily
A healthy adult should try to consume around 4,700 mg of potassium daily from foods.
That is a lot of potassium, so it’s no wonder most Americans aren’t getting enough!
How to Test Potassium Levels
Potassium is an intracellular mineral. This means that over 95% of the potassium in your body is found in the cells and tissues, especially your muscle tissue.
The majority of the potassium in your body is not in the blood, which is why testing for potassium in the blood will not give you accurate results.
The blood transports minerals, but the tissues store them.
Testing the tissue will provide a much more accurate result for potassium levels in the body. This is typically done by testing the hair tissue using what is referred to as a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA).
Best Sources of Potassium
The best sources of potassium are food sources. Below are foods that contain an abundance of potassium.
- Coconut water
- Aloe vera juice
- Cream of tartar
- Orange juice
- Cooked spinach
How to Get Enough Potassium
Sometimes it is difficult to get enough potassium from food alone. I believe food should be your number one source of potassium.
But there are a few other ways to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of potassium daily.
Consume Adrenal Cocktails
Adrenal cocktails are one of my favorite ways to consume potassium as well as sodium and vitamin C. You can click here for the recipe.
Electrolyte Drink Mixes
I think electrolyte drink mixes are great for people severely deficient in potassium and sodium.
But not all electrolyte drink mixes are created equal. Most are full of artificial flavoring, coloring, and other toxic additives.
And others have terrible sodium-to-potassium ratios.
I consider myself somewhat of an electrolyte drink mix connoisseur because I have researched many different brands and tried so many different ones.
And there are very few that I recommend. Below are my favorites.
- Paleo Valley Essential Electrolytes (watermelon flavor)
- Jigsaw Pickleball Cocktail (blue raspberry flavor)
- Trace Minerals ZeroLyte (watermelon flavor)
None of these electrolyte drink mixes have perfect ratios or ingredients, but they are the best I can find.
I’ll be sharing a post dedicated entirely to electrolyte drink mixes soon.
Popsicles are a fun way to ensure you are getting plenty of potassium. I have several homemade popsicle recipes that are rich in potassium that you can check out below.
It’s not just essential to ensure that you are consuming an adequate amount of potassium daily, but it is also important to avoid things that cause potassium wasting.
Potassium wasting is when the kidneys remove too much potassium from the body.
Diuretics, excessive alcohol intake, and excessive sweating can all cause potassium wasting.
But you might also be surprised to learn that synthetic vitamin D supplementation can cause potassium wasting.
This is why I avoid vitamin D supplementation and prefer to get vitamin D from the sun and food.
You can click here to learn more.
I honestly don’t think my health would be where it is today without intentionally consuming an abundance of minerals, especially potassium.
Once I began hyper-focusing on my potassium intake, my energy and sleep improved, I felt much calmer and grounded, my anxiety decreased, and I just looked healthier.
My under-eye bags looked less noticeable, and I just looked more hydrated and healthy.
If you’re not getting the recommended amount of potassium in your diet, hopefully, you are ready to do something about that!
If you have any questions, please let me know!