- Essential for controlling the balance of fluids in the body.
- Essential for the normal functioning of cells.
- Needed for muscles contractions.
- A diet rich in potassium may lower blood pressure as it promotes the loss of sodium in the urine.
- It helps maintain steady heartbeat and it is vital for normal functioning of the cells and nerves.
- Low blood potassium can be a result of severe diarrhoea.
- Symptoms of low potassium in the blood include mental confusion, weakness and in extreme cases, heart failure.
- High potassium intake may result to stomach pain, diarrhoea and nausea.
- High doses of potassium from supplements may be harmful particularly if kidneys are not functioning properly.
Examples of dietary sources include:
- Meat (e.g. beef), chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, milk, fruits particularly bananas, vegetables (e.g. parsnips, Brussel sprouts), nuts, seeds, pulses.
Reference Nutrient Intakes (approximate values for adults):
- 3,500 mg a day for men
- 3, 500 mg a day for women
British Nutrition Foundation., 2016. [online]. Available from: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/
Harvard Health Publications., 2009. Listing of vitamins. [online]. Available from: http://www.health.harvard.edu
National Health Service. 2016. [online]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx
Department of Health. 1991. Dietary reference values for food energy and nutrients for the United Kingdom. London: The Stationery Office.