Potassium is one of the most abundant mineral in the body and at the same time, one of the most popular. However, next we remember the importance of this element in our body, its functions and the food where you can find it .
Potassium and its functions
This mineral is recognized for its relationship with neromuscular system, hence its importance in athletes . However, its functions are much more extensive than we think:
Contributes to the balance of liquids
Potassium is a mineral that behaves like an electrolyte, that is, it contributes to the balance of fluids inside and outside the cells. So, along with sodium and chlorine, potassium is essential when we look for good hydration .
In this way, after a long-term effort in which we have lost not only liquid but also electrolytes by sweating, it is essential to drink water with potassium and other minerals if we want to recover properly and prevent, among other things, muscle cramps.
Involved in the nervous system
Not only because of its role as an electrolyte, potassium is essential in athletes, but the start of the nerve impulse and the speed of its transmission depend on its levels inside and outside the cells .
Thus, it is fundamental for the processes of contraction and relaxation of muscles , both voluntary as our biceps or quadriceps, as those that contract spontaneously as the heart.
Hence, to take care of heart health and to prevent hypertension, it is also essential to take care of the levels of potassium in our body, since the lack of it can cause from muscle weakness and fatigue to rhabdomyolysis or severe cardiovascular problems.
Influences protein synthesis
As suggested by a study published in Experimental Cell Research potassium is key to the proper synthesis of proteins , because when their levels fall to the intracellular level this metabolic process is reduced.
This is confirmed by another investigation that indicates that the potassium inside the cells is determinant of the cellular growth and fundamental for a suitable transport of amino acids, of there that before its deficit, the synthesis of proteins is limited.
For this function potassium is also a fundamental mineral for growth as has been observed in rodents , and for the creation of muscle as well as post-workout recovery.
Promotes glucose control and bone health
Potassium is necessary for the correct metabolism of glucose and the decrease of the mineral in blood causes a reduction in insulin secretion as indicated by a study published in 201 , hence adequate levels of potassium are considered an important factor to reduce the risk type 2 diabetes.
Likewise, potassium is required to transform glucose into glycogen and once again, that is why it is essential for athletes.
On the other hand, by its intervention in the synthesis of proteins and by favoring an adequate pH in the organism, potassium levels contribute to the conservation of bone matter , and potassium is also part of the mineral structure that forms our bones.
The foods where you will find more potassium
The deficit of potassium in the habitual diet is rare, since many foods can offer this mineral to the organism.
Thus, among the foods with more potassium that can help us achieve the daily quota of 3500 mg are:
- Dried algae : among the different types of algae , dried or dehydrated are those that concentrate more potassium than 1000 mg per 100 grams of food. The kelp dehydrated seaweed can even double the daily quota of potassium with only 100 grams of it. With seaweed we can make from salads to breads or pancakes .
- Dried fruits : all are a good source of potassium , providing between 700 and 1000 mg per 100 grams, although some specimens such as peach and apricot apricots or prunes are especially concentrated in the mineral. With these ingredients we can make energy bars , cakes or a braised pork loin concentrated in potassium.
- Nuts and seeds : these ingredients mostly exceed 400 mg of potassium per 100 grams, with almonds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts being the most concentrated in the mineral in question. With nuts and seeds we can make sweet cookies without added sugar , bars , crackers , whole grain breads , or, simple and healthy snacks .
- Green leaves : Swiss chard and spinach are in general source of potassium in amounts higher than 400 mg per 100 grams, but we can also obtain potassium of watercress, arugula or other green leaves. With these ingredients we can make fresh salads , muffins , pancakes or as many preparations as our imagination allows.
- Coles : Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and others are examples with high potassium content, exceeding 450 mg per 100 grams. With them we can prepare salads , spoon dishes , hamburgers , cakes and many other recipes .
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes : both have around 420 mg of potassium per 100 grams and are very versatile ingredients that can be used to make chips , salads , pure or other preparations rich in this mineral.
- Grapes, figs and fresh banana : all exceed 200 mg of potassium per 100 mg and it is best that we can easily consume a larger ration, which allows us to enter a significant amount of the mineral to the body. We can add these fruits to a dessert , a salad , skewers or other preparations.
- Herbs and spices : the vegetables are in general source of potassium, therefore, many herbs and spices that we use in dehydrated form can provide an appreciable amount of potassium. For example: dill, saffron, paprika, tarragon, dried oregano and others especially in its dehydrated or dried version.
These are some of the main sources of potassium for the organism and with them we can easily reach the quota of this important mineral for the proper functioning of the whole organism.
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