Potassium-rich foods help prevent strokes. This mineral also fights high blood pressure. All cells, tissues and organs in the body rely on potassium to function smoothly. It helps regulate fluid and mineral balance into and out of body cells and facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses.
Potassium’s other roles include:
Assists in synthesizing proteins from amino acids
Helps muscles contract
Maintains stable acid-base balance
Necessary for normal body growth
Potassium also appears to protect against high blood pressure. One theory is that higher levels of potassium may cause the body to excrete increased levels of sodium, thereby lowering blood pressure. In addition, a potassium-rich diet appears to lower the risk of stroke beyond what would be expected simply from lowering blood pressure. Potassium also may help prevent bone loss and kidney stones.
The use of diuretics to control high blood pressure is a major cause of potassium deficiency. Other drugs that may lead to this condition include prolonged use of laxatives and use of steroid medications. Use of these medications may require patients to take potassium supplements to avoid deficiencies.
People with potassium deficiency may experience several symptoms, such as:
Irregular heartbeats or decreased heart rate
Muscle cramps and weakness
Following 12 foods are the richest source of potassium
1 baked sweet potato – 950 mg
1 baked potato with skin – 903 mg
1 cup prune juice – 707 mg
5 dried peach halves – 648 mg
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt – 520 mg
10 dried apricot halves – 482 mg
1 cup orange juice – 473 mg
1 banana – 451 mg
1/2 cup cooked spinach – 419 mg
3/4 cup tomato juice – 400 mg
1 cup boiled okra – 380 gms
1 cup milk – 370 mg
An adult male, on an average, needs daily Potassium consumption of about 4700 mg.
Caution: If you have kidney disease or take a diuretic medication, you may need to avoid high-potassium foods; check with your doctor.