The Importance of Potassium in Health and Fitness
When it comes to vitamins and minerals your body needs to function efficiently, you often hear about the B vitamins, vitamin C, iron and calcium. But, what about potassium? What does it do and why is it so important to your health?
It’s Role in the Body
Potassium does a number of great things for your body. It keeps your blood pressure from going too high, it protects your muscles during strenuous physical activity and it keeps your body’s hydration levels stable, just to name a few.
So, while it’s important for everyone to include potassium in their diet, it’s even more imperative for people who are active. You certainly don’t want blood pressure issues when you’re working up a sweat, muscle cramps that limit your progress or dehydration which will affect your ability to achieve total health and fitness.
Who is at Risk of a Deficiency?
Unfortunately, most diets do not contain the necessary amount of potassium in them. On top of that, there are certain conditions or situations that increase your risk of being deficient. They include:
- Eating fewer than 800 calories daily
- Consuming too much alcohol on a regular basis
- Being diabetic and not properly controlling your blood sugar
- Having chronic diarrhea (either due to sickness or by taking a lot of laxatives)
How Much You Need and How to Get It
The suggested Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of potassium is 4.7 grams daily. However, if you are extremely physically active, you may need more of this essential nutrient to help your body run as efficiently as possible.
While it’s possible to get some of it through supplementation, it’s always recommended to get most of it through food sources. This is especially important if you have high blood pressure already.
Some great potassium rich options are potatoes, bananas, orange juice, milk and yogurt. Incorporate these into your menu plans regularly and you’ll keep your potassium levels right where they need to be – and your health and fitness running strong.