Fitness plays a key role in a person’s life, both physically and mentally. In order to enjoy life to the fullest, one needs to be fit and healthy. The main component for achieving it is by having a healthy lifestyle which comprises of a healthy diet, exercise and recommended rest.
For a diet to be healthy, it needs to be a balanced one. With the word ‘balanced diet,’ the terms vitamins, calcium, and proteins come in our mind at first, and so the importance of potassium is usually overshadowed. This is because most people are not aware of its benefits with respect to fitness.
What is potassium?
Potassium is a mineral that is essential for the body to meet its daily intake requirements as well as for optimal human performance. According to experts, an average adult needs 4,700 milligrams of dietary potassium in a day as part of their balanced diet.
The foods rich in potassium are sweet potatoes, bananas, potatoes, yogurt, white beans, and broccoli.
Why is potassium essential for fitness? Based on several research and studies, six benefits of potassium for fitness have been discussed below.
Note that patients suffering from kidney problems should consult a doctor before consuming potassium as they can’t digest it well. Also, you should keep in mind to not overconsume potassium, and if you choose to include potassium supplements in your diet, consult your doctor first.
- Muscle integrity
Potassium, just like sodium, plays a vital role in muscle relaxation and contractions, especially after a strenuous workout. This is why; athletes and fitness trainers recommend and practice eating a banana after a workout.
This not only prevents muscle cramps and anxiety, which are a common outcome of low potassium levels in the body but also ensures the proper growth of muscle tissues which leads to an increase in muscle strength.
Metabolism is the process by which the body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Potassium gives your body those necessary components that provide energy for physical activity. Thus, it boosts metabolism levels in the body that aids in becoming fitter with each passing day.
More interestingly, potassium increases cell-growth and muscle protein synthesis, making muscles stronger and leading to a further increase in metabolism.
- Water retention and pH balance
Potassium and magnesium are electrolytes that are widely utilized by the body, and these electrolytes should be included in your daily diet. As the intake of sodium results in water retention and bloating that hinders the fitness of the body, proper consumption of potassium pulls excess sodium and water out of cells through the electrolyte pumps and excretes them via urination. This can result in a harder and less-bloated physique. Also, the electrolytes present in potassium balance the pH levels in the body.
- Improves bone health
Fitness is not only linked to a good physique, but also with stronger muscles and bones. Excitingly, potassium not only enhances muscle integrity but bone health as well. It balances several acids in the body, which aids in preserving calcium, which is essential for the strengthening of bones.
- Improves brain functionality
The benefits of potassium even extend to the regulation of overall neural function. This involves higher brain functioning like enhanced and better learning and memory. More importantly, potassium deficiency, due to dysfunction of potassium channels has been linked to epilepsy.
- Stabilizes blood pressure
Sodium is the main culprit in the misbalance of healthy blood pressure levels in the body, and potassium aids in reversing the effects that sodium has on blood pressure. This leads to a minimized risk of diseases that are related to an unbalanced blood pressure levels such as heart diseases and hypertension.