• Potassium is one of the of most important minerals in the body
  • The right amount of potassium in your diet helps your body to stay healthy
  • Most adults should get 4.700 milligrams of potassium a day

Potassium is one of the most important mineral and electrolyte in the body[14]. 98% of potassium is found inside of our cells such as muscle cells, liver cells, red blood cells as well as bone cells. [14].
In order to maintain a healthy life style, it is crucial to involve it in our daily menu by consuming food that include almost 4.7000 mg potassium[14]. Potassium is found in many plants and animal food [14].
Some of the most excellent sources of potassium are: spinach, broccoli, potatoes, tuna, peas, claims, mushrooms, leafy greens followed by milk, yogurt, orange juice, tomato juice as well[14],[15].

Potassium rich-foods. Image adopted from [17].

In the following paragraphs, you will read about 4 benefits of a potassium-rich diet:
1.Hypertension and stroke prevention

2.Kindey and stone prevention

3.Bone health improvement

4. Avoids digestive problems

1.Hypertension and stroke prevention

High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition which leads to many health complications such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack as well as aneurysm [16]. Since the imbalance of sodium and potassium results in changes of vascular smooth muscles, it leads to blood flow restriction in hypertension [1]. Increasing the level of potassium into the cells push sodium out of them[2]. High levels of potassium relaxes the wall of blood vessels, as well as decreases risk of heart attacks and stroke due to vasodilation and higher urinary excretion[3],[6]. Data have shown that the increase of potassium intake in people with high blood pressure lowered their systolic pressure by 3.47 mmHg, and their diastolic pressure by 1.96 mmHg [3]. Changes in the structure of brain arteries can cause poor brain blood flow which lead to brain stroke too[4]. In a systematic review of 16 existing studies about dose-response relation between potassium and stroke risk was confirmed that 90 mmol potassium daily intake lowers the risk of stroke by 95% [5].

2.Kidney stones prevention

Kidney stones form as a result of deposition of dissolved minerals and salts inside your kidneys due to low urine volume, high presence of calcium or low urinary citrate concentration.[7],[8]. Stones in the form of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate tend to be the most common type of kidney stone[7]. An increased potassium intake tends to lower urinary calcium excretion which potentially causes kidney stones development[8]. A cohort study of 45.619 men between 40-75 years old proves that men which consumed  more than 4,02mg/day had 51% lower disk compared with the others that consumed less than 2.895 mg/day[10].

3. Bone health improvement

Calcium is the most important mineral which contributes in development of bone structure [11]. Lower levels of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a condition characterized with low quality and density of bones [11].  Studies have found that consumption of potassium bicarbonate, and potassium citrate lower urinary calcium excretion, which shows a benefit to bone health since it helps to preserve bone tissue[12].

4. Avoids digestive problems

Since potassium is an essential electrolyte which spreads electrical messages from brain and along nerves, it provides contraction of intestine muscles which are crucial for digestion, nutrition and waste elimination [13]. This function is controlled by autonomic nervous system[13].  Studies have found that maintaining normal potassium levels avoids intestinal mobility inhibition, cramps as well as intestinal paralysis[13].

Conclusion: It is amazing to know that sticking to a healthy eating plan rich in potassium provides us with energy to be active throughout the day, reduces our risk of developing hypertension, stroke, as well as keep our bones strong.

COPYRIGHT: This article is the property of We Speak Science, a non-profit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli and Dr. Argita Zalli. The article is written by Rexhep Sahatçiu, University of Prishtina, Kosovo.

References:

 1 . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathophysiology_of_hypertension


2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/potassium_and_sodium_out_of_balance


3. . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23558164

4. https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5121516/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27455317?dopt=Abstract

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525130/

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777061/

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674806?dopt=Abstract

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8441427?dopt=Abstract

11. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/bonehealth/conditioninfo/calcium

12. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00198-014-3006-9

13. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/potassium-digestion-8978.html

14 https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-rich-in-potassium#1

15. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/#en16

16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150109.php

17 http://askmyhealth.com/foods-high-in-potassium-list-rich-foods/