You Need Potassium
POTASSIUM is one of the lightest metals known and is so soft that it can be cut with a knife. Though its amount in the human body is only one third of 1 percent, it is, nevertheless, termed a “macro mineral,” because that is quite a large percentage compared to other essential minerals such as iron and copper.
You need some potassium every day. This is because the human body does not store it as it does other minerals, and potassium is essential for the body’s cells to live. We are told that when the potassium content of the cells becomes low, sodium intrudes from the fluid around the cells. This changes the acid-alkali balance in the cells, bringing about a toxic condition, which can lead to death.
Another reason why potassium is essential is that it plays a leading role in the utilization of proteins and carbohydrates. Potassium is also an essential for muscular activity, particularly so for that tireless muscle, the heart.
If you do not get enough potassium, you may suffer from weakness of muscles, poor reflexes, back pain, headaches, constipation or sleeplessness. You may also find yourself subject to such states as apathy, listlessness, depression or mental confusion, not to say anything about a heart attack. All such states could be due to insufficient potassium. In fact, specialists tell us that potassium deficiency has been found to be far more common than it was once thought.
To make sure that your body has enough potassium there are certain things you need to guard against. For one thing, you should be careful not to live almost wholly on foods that contain little or no potassium. Among such are all the highly refined foods, such as those consisting largely of white flour and white sugar.
But even more important is it to be sparing in the use of food items that are known to be “robbers” of potassium. The most common thief is sodium chloride, better known as common table salt. While salt is needed, it is wise to be moderate in one’s intake of salt. Another “robber” of potassium is licorice.
Then again there are certain drugs, such as those used to aid the kidneys, known as diuretics, and certain hormones given medicinally, such as cortisone, that rob the body of potassium.
While nearly all foods contain some potassium, to make sure you get enough of this mineral, you may want to give thought to those foods with high concentrations of it. Meats, such as beef, lamb, liver and turkey are high on the list, even as are such seafoods as codfish.
Among the vegetables that are rated high in potassium are beets, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and spinach. And among the fruits, which provide one of the most pleasant ways to get your potassium, are apricots, bananas, oranges, peaches, prunes and dried figs. All nuts are also high in potassium. Not to be overlooked are such food supplements as bone meal, brewer’s yeast, molasses, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
Since you need potassium, it pays to make sure you get enough.