The daily recommended dose for potassium is 4,700 mg, but the average American only gets about 2,640 mg a day.
But why do you need so much potassium?
Potassium plays a role your heart health, muscle movement, nerve health and kidney health. And while potassium doesn’t treat any disease, getting enough can help in several ways.
1. Increased Bone Strength
Potassium is the underdog of bone strength, usually being overshadowed by calcium (but rightfully so). Potassium works with calcium and other vitamins and minerals to make your bones stronger and healthier.
You don’t want to wait until your bones are weak to realize you need more potassium in your system. Osteoporosis can also be prevented by taking potassium (and calcium), which makes potassium beneficial to your diet.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
More than 70 million Americans suffer with high blood pressure. A lot of people have high blood pressure because of poor diet choices and a lack of adequate exercise.
Lowering blood pressure is one of the major benefits of increasing your potassium in your diet. Potassium relaxes your blood vessels and promotes healthier blood flow, which can help decrease blood pressure.
3. Better Cardiovascular Health
As an added benefit to lower blood pressure, increasing potassium helps to improve overall circulation.
Increasing your blood flow helps the oxygen and nutrients in blood reach the heart, brain, and other vital organs that could be negatively impacted by poor blood flow.
4. Increased Muscle Function
Your muscles are constantly moving and functioning throughout the day. Potassium helps them function without getting fatigued or cramped during exercise.
Potassium helps repair the cells in your muscles quickly, letting you keep on the move without tiring out.
5. Increases Your Metabolism
Potassium could be the solution to that weight loss plateau you’ve hit despite regular exercise and proper dieting.
When potassium levels are low, your metabolism can slow down and cause more fat storage in the body. Potassium helps other minerals do their job to get metabolism going. Consume more potassium and see if that helps to boost your metabolism.
6. Decreases Stress
Who isn’t working on decreasing their stress to some extent? Stress is harmful to your body and heart. Stress increases your blood pressure and strains your muscles.
Reducing your stress is one of the benefits of more potassium in your diet. With healthy blood pressure and improved blood flow, muscles can relax and give you that feeling of relieved tension.
Increasing your potassium intake can make a difference in reducing your daily stress and prove it doesn’t have to be as bad as it may be.
7. Improved Brain Function
Your brain constantly fires neurons, sending signals to the rest of the body to act, react, and help all parts of your body function.
Without proper nutrients, such as potassium, the brain suffers and doesn’t function correctly. Potassium helps get more oxygen to the brain and without enough potassium, you may notice you feel sluggish and forgetful.
8. Balance Bodily Fluids
Along with calcium and sodium, potassium plays a vital role in maintaining a crucial fluid balance in your blood.
Getting sufficient amounts of each nutrient creates a better balance to keep your electrolytes up and give you the energy you need.
Staying hydrated is just as important to keep things flowing (no pun intended) and regulated.
9. Manages Headaches
Low potassium levels can lead to headaches and even migraines if potassium levels stay low. As previously mentioned, potassium helps muscles relax and loosen up.
Therefore, without sufficient potassium, muscles can tense up and cramp, causing severe headaches. Making sure to eat enough potassium will help keep tension headaches at bay.
10. Relieves Anxiety
Increasing potassium can make a world of difference when it comes to your health. People who suffer from anxiety and depression can find some relief by making sure they consume enough potassium.
Potassium works to balance levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, which is released when you are stressed or anxious. Cortisol is a hormone that, in excess amounts, can be harmful to the body.
Next time you’re feeling anxious, grab a banana and let your body relax a little.