When we think of foods rich in potassium, the banana always comes to mind, right? And if we had to relate an athlete with this fruit, it would be Rafael Nadal, right? Well attentive to the post because you will learn that potassium is not only essential for athletes, but we must incorporate it into the daily diet so that our body yields 100%.
What is potassium and why do we need it?
We are faced with a macromineral electrolyte (which is found in the blood) and that has important functions on the muscle and nervous system. Its presence is high in our body, since it is the third most abundant mineral of all metabolism.
Potassium is a mineral very soluble in water and the body obtains it thanks to some foods that we will detail below.
If something is a fundamental mineral in our body is that it performs functions such as regulating the water inside and outside the cells or improve communication between the nerves of the muscles.
Other important functions are:
- Basic for the correct growth of the organism.
- It is part of our bones.
- Control our heart level
- Together with amino acids, it helps in the production of proteins.
- Involved in the absorption and decomposition of carbohydrates.
- It helps in the permeability of cell membranes.
- Collaborate in chemical reactions.
- Involved in nerve transmission.
- He is a participant in muscle contraction and the development of them.
- It regulates the level of water in our body along with sodium.
What happens if we do not drink enough?
Logically, when a fundamental component in our body is absent, problems occur. The shortage of potassium is called hypokalemia and may be due to the lack of food intake with this mineral, a kidney disorder or taking diuretics and laxatives. The symptoms of hypokalemia are muscle weakness, tachycardia, low blood pressure, thirst, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or constipation.
Although there is also the possibility of having an excess of potassium in the body, in that case we would be talking about hyperkalemi. Its cause may be due to kidney failure or taking medications to treat vascular diseases or diuretics.
Foods rich in potassium
The WHO recommends the consumption of at least 3,510 mg of potassium per day. Starting with 100 gr of each food, these are some of the most potassium containing:
- Legumes (1,300 mg): chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas.
- Nuts (600 mg): nuts, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and chestnuts.
- Green leafy vegetables (550 mg): spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cabbage and chard.
- Fruits (300 mg): damask, banana, fig, kiwi, coconut, grapes, melon, oranges, lemons, nectarine, papaya, watermelon, tangerine, strawberries, raspberries, plum, raisins, pear, peach and avocado.
- Other vegetables (300 mg): artichoke, carrot, tomato, squash and zucchini.
- Roots (200 mg): beet, potato and sweet potato.
- Spices: garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, cumin, turmeric, pepper, oregano, coriander and parsley.
- Pure chocolate.
- Mushrooms and tofu.
- Fish: hake, swordfish, salmon, cod, trout, sardine, crab and lobster.
- Meats: chicken, turkey, veal, lamb, pork, duck…