By Anthoney J. Andersen – Steroidal.com
Live hard. Play hard.
If you’re an exercise or outdoor enthusiast, then there’s a good chance that this motto fits into your daily lifestyle.
However, in order to push your body to new heights, you have to first fuel it with the proper minerals and nutrients so you can achieve optimal results.
One vital mineral to add to your daily diet is potassium.
Potassium is a crucial body mineral that plays an important role in maintaining cellular and electrical function. Potassium is a common type of electrolyte that can be found in the blood.
Electrolytes carry a small electrical charge throughout the body and are essential for the function for our cells and our organs.
Your doctor, with a simple blood test, can conduct electrolyte balance. Most physicians check for three common types of electrolytes: sodium, potassium and bicarbonate.
Sodium is the positive ion located in the fluid outside of cells.
According to Medicinenet.com, when sodium is combined with chloride, the end result is table salt. When the body becomes unbalanced ¾ and sodium drowns out your body’s water levels in the blood – this may cause a health condition called hypernatremia.
Causes of hypernatremia may include kidney disease, reduced water intake and loss of water due to vomiting.
Potassium is the positive ion found inside of cells. Proper potassium intake is essential for the regulation of your heartbeat, as well as proper muscle function.
When low levels of potassium are found in the body, it can cause a condition called hypokalemia. However, when potassium levels are dramatically increased, it can create a condition called hyperkalemia.
These two conditions can severely affect the nervous system and enhance your chances of developing irregular heartbeats – which can be fatal in some cases.
The bicarbonate ion plays the role of the buffer – sustaining proper levels of acidity (pH) in the blood and other fluids in the body.
Our body’s acidity levels are determined by the foods or medications that we take, and how well our kidneys and lungs are functioning.
According to WebMD, interference in bicarbonate levels can be attributed to diseases that disrupt our respiratory function, kidney diseases and metabolic conditions.
WHO NEEDS POTASSIUM THE MOST?
Well, isn’t it obvious? Everybody should be watching their potassium intake to ensure that all vital organs are being well maintained.
However, there are certain individuals who need to keep a closer eye on their potassium levels, as opposed to most.
According to Healthline.com, people battling with kidney disease are at a much higher risk of hyperkalemia, due to the fact that their bodies tend to retain higher levels of potassium because their kidneys – the body’s regulator of fluids and minerals – aren’t flushing out the excess potassium as normal kidneys would.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
At the opposite end of the spectrum, individuals who have high blood pressure are more at risk for having lower potassium levels because high blood pressure medications have the tendency to exhaust potassium levels in the blood.
POTASSIUM RICH FOODS
When people hear the word potassium, they most likely link it to bananas. Even though bananas are indeed high in potassium, it’s good to familiarize yourself on other foods that are also high in this important mineral.
According to Everydayhealth.com, other potassium rich foods to look out food include apricots, cantaloupe, beets, figs, honeydew melon and orange juice.
“Cantaloupe and honeydew are great sources of potassium because people tend to eat more cantaloupe in one sitting than they would bananas or dried apricots,” says Alexa Schmitt, a clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Other foods that are high in potassium are potatoes – with the skin on – soy foods, dairy products and meats.
Without knowing it, most of us already consume foods that are high in potassium. Nevertheless, it is always good to maintain regular blood work with your doctor and see if your body has the potential of becoming either hypokalemia or hyperkalemia.
Also, people with high blood pressure or kidney disease should also consult their physician on how to better maintain the proper potassium levels associated with their specific condition.
Be strong. And live well.