A well-designed diet containing large quantities of vegetable matter will deliver more potassium than you can possibly deliver by supplements. Here’s what you need to know about potassium.
Potassium and sodium work together to maintain healthy fluid levels in the body. Low levels of potassium or an imbalance of sodium and potassium levels can cause fluid retention and lead to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, potassium is crucial for reducing and preventing high blood pressure.
Potassium is also needed to ensure normal muscle contractions and a regular heartbeat. Deficiency and low levels of potassium can lead to heart arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and muscle weakness. Deficiency can also cause headaches, fatigue and mood swings.
Bananas, potatoes and avocados are excellent sources of potassium. Dried fruit, sun-dried tomatoes and bell peppers also contain significant amounts of potassium. Other good food sources include squash, melon, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peas.
High-strength potassium supplements should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor, as high doses of potassium can cause a dangerous imbalance of salts in the body. In severe cases, high doses of potassium can even cause cardiac arrest.
A good multivitamin and mineral complex often contains safe levels of potassium, which can be helpful for some people. Potassium is excreted in sweat, urine and diarrhea, which means that people who use diuretics or experience chronic bouts of diarrhea may benefit from a mineral complex that includes potassium.
Potassium is needed for the body to maintain normal levels of salt and fluid. It can be found in a range of foods, most notably bananas, potatoes and avocados. Some people may benefit from taking low-dose supplements, but high-strength potassium supplements should only be taken on the advice of a medical practitioner.