Health experts say that our bodies need about 3500 milligrams (mg) of potassium each day. A varied diet that includes dairy foods, meat, cereals, vegetables, and fruit provides about 800 to1500 mg of potassium for every 1000 calories of food consumed. Particularly good sources are oranges and orange juice, bananas, potatoes, spinach, and legumes. In fact, many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium and, at the same time, low in sodium. Some salt substitutes contain potassium, and these products can contribute a significant amount to the diet. However, they may not be a good choice for everyone. Individuals on high blood pressure medication should check with their physician before using a salt substitute. Potassium is one of those nutrients best consumed in foods rather than as a dietary supplement. It works in balance not only with sodium but also with magnesium and calcium. Large amounts will interfere with the functions of these other minerals and could be toxic to the body. On the other hand, it is unlikely that a person would consume too much from foods alone. The new FDA-approved health claim will appear only on foods that are naturally low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, and that provide at least 350 mg of potassium per serving. So, a food like orange juice can carry the health claim, while potato chips, high in potassium but also high in fat and sodium, cannot. This health claim will provide more nutrition information to consumers, even though the advice that it offers it not really new. The American Heart Association has long recommended a diet that includes at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables and several servings of low-fat dairy foods, all good sources of potassium. But it may make it easier to spot potassium-rich foods on grocery shelves, and serve as a reminder to consumers to pick up a few more fruits and vegetables when they shop for food. Health conscious consumers in the US may have noticed that some orange juice containers now include the statement that, "diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium [like orange juice] may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke." This is a "health claim," one of 13 authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recognize foods that may contribute to a particular health benefit. In this case, the focus is on potassium, an essential mineral needed for nerve stimulation and muscle contraction. It also works with sodium to maintain normal fluid balance. When levels of potassium are low, the body retains sodium and fluids, which in turn elevates blood pressure. Vegetables and legumes: globe artichoke, asparagus, black eyed peas, beets, broccoli, collard greens, sweet corn, kale, lima beans, okra, parsnips, green peas, potato (especially with skin on), pumpkin, sauerkraut, spinach, squash (especially winter varieties), sweet potato, tomato, tomato paste, turnips, vegetable juice cocktail, yams. Fruits: dried apricots, avocado, banana, blackberries, black currants, dates, dried figs, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, orange, papaya, dried peach, dried pear, dried prunes, raisins. Grains: barley, cornmeal, millet, brown rice, wild rice.
Causes of Potassium Rich Foods
Potassium is an intracellular cation that plays an essential role in maintaining the acid-base and water balance in the body. A proper balance between sodium, calcium, and potassium is necessary for proper cardiac function. Potassium and solium work together across cell membranes to regulate muslce contractions. If there is too little potassium, a condition called hypokalemia can result. Potassium and Calcium are directly related to a healthy functioning heart. Increased or decreased levels of potassium or calcium can adversely affect the HEART with DANGEROUS ARRHYTHMIAS.
Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Rich Foods
Symptoms include fatigue, muslce weakness and cramping. Intestinal complications may occur along with cardiac abnormalities leading to decreased cardiac function.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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