Potassium is needed in the body to regulate water balance, acid-base balance, blood pressure, and neuromuscular functions.
This mineral also plays an important role in the transmission of electrical impulses to the heart. People who have low potassium levels and undergo heart surgery are at risk for developing cardiac arrhythmia.
Potassium and sodium in the body work together to maintain muscle tone, blood pressure, water in the body, and other functions. Many researchers believe that the problem of high blood pressure caused by too much salt (which contains sodium) increases if there is not enough potassium in the diet.
Potassium And Food
Bananas and most fruits are excellent sources of potassium. Beans, milk, and vegetables also contain significant amounts of potassium.
The best way to get an additional amount of potassium is to consume several fruits a day as well as an increased number of vegetables. Daily intake of 2.5 to 5.8 g of potassium is through food. The amount allowed in tablets is very small (1000 mg in one pill) if you consider that one banana contains about 500 mg. Potassium needs should not be met by consuming several tablets a day. Such a high concentration of potassium can irritate the stomach, and dietary potassium will not cause such problems.
A large deficit of potassium is rare, except in cases of prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, or the use of diuretics that stimulate potassium secretion. People using these drugs should consult a doctor about additional potassium supplementation.