Potassium is a major mineral as well as an electrolyte, this means is has an electrical charge. Potassium, sodium and chloride are all electrolytes (minerals which, when dissolved in water, conduct electricity). The three are very closely related. They always operate in pairs: a positively charged molecule (sodium or potassium), with a negatively charged one (chloride [chlorine]). Although all are important, potassium is the key, it’s the most important of the three.
One of the most important functions of potassium is its role in muscle contraction. Potassium ensures that all of your muscles, including your heart, are able to contract and relax properly. Other benefits from potassium include bone health, pH and fluid balance, and prevention of kidney stones.
Lack of potassium causes sodium (salt) to accumulate in the body. The result can lead to edema, high blood pressure, and heart failure. Other deficiency symptoms include constipation, extreme fatigue, muscular weakness, low blood sugar and nervous disorders. Potassium and sodium must be kept in proper balance at all times, or serious problems develop. Too much sodium in the diet disrupts the potassium/sodium balance in the body.
- A low potassium, high sodium diet helps produce cancer, cardiovascular disease (heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.)
- A high potassium, low sodium diet protects against those diseases.
You can easily take too much sodium, but you can’t take too much potassium. (Unless you have a kidney disease. Kidney disease prevents the removal of excess potassium, so when your potassium levels get too high it is called hyperkalemia. Since potassium is critical to the function of nerve and muscle cells, including those in the heart, Hyperkalemia can lead to cardiac arrest and death.)
Sources of Potassium
- All vegetables, especially green leafy ones
- Thick white potato peelings
- White and Lima Beans
- Sunflower seeds
There is a lot of potassium in fruits and vegetables, and almost none in processed foods. There is relatively little sodium in fruits and vegetables, and far too much (often extremely too much) in processed foods. This is why having a healthful diets is very important.
Don’t forget to Pray, eat healthy and exercise.
- Ferrell, V., & Cherne, M.D., H. (2008). Natural Remedies Encyclopedia (Sixth ed.). Altamont, Tennessee: Harvestime Books.
- Buse, Mark BSc., Ct., CWR, Synergistic Vitamins & Supplements