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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What is potassium (K)?

Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte essential for healthy organ function. It is needed to build protein, break down and use carbs, build muscle, control the acid base balance in the body, and control the electrical activity of the heart. It also protects blood vessels from oxidative damage.

Adults should consume about 4,700 mg/daily and the mineral is found in bananas, avocados, nuts, citrus, green vegetables, milk, potatoes, yam, parsley, fish, meat, chocolate, coconut water, bran. Dried apricots have the highest concentration of potassium per calorie of any food. Many processed foods contain no potassium.

A low level of potassium is called hypokalemia and a high level called hyperkalemia. Low levels are caused from alcoholism, use of diurectics, abuse of laxatives, magnesium depletion, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and diet of only processed foods.

Studies show that diets high in potassium can reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.

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