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Dear Women, This Is Exactly Why You Can’t Go Low On Potassium!

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 19 August 2022, Updated on - 20 August 2022

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Our body requires several micro and macro nutrients to ensure proper functioning. While macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are required in high amounts, micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins are scarcely required in the body. However, one such mineral, potassium, is not only essential for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves but also protein synthesis and metabolism of carbs. However, our high-fat, processed diet contains high amounts of sodium, while it lacks the potassium required by our body. While everyone requires potassium, it is more crucial for women as the requirement increases during pregnancy and lactation.

 

Why do we require potassium? 

Potassium is required to fulfil several functions in the body, some of which include: 

 

  • Aids in maintaining fluid balance in the body
  • Maintains blood pressure, thereby preventing stroke
  • Helps in the transfer of signals across the nerves
  • Helps in controlling heart and muscle contractions
  • Prevents the retention of water in the body
  • Prevents diseases such as osteoporosis and kidney stone 

 

How much potassium do women need?
 

Age

Potassium requirement for females

0–6 months

400 mg/day

7–12 months

860 mg/day

1–18 years

2,000 mg/day

19+ years

2,600 mg/day

 

It must be noted that the requirement for potassium increases to 2,900 mg during pregnancy and reduces to 2,800 mg during breastfeeding.

 

What are the risks of having potassium deficiency?

The lack of potassium in the body, medically called hypokalemia, can result in numerous health issues, some of which include: 

 

  • High blood pressure
  • Risk of developing kidney stones
  • Low levels of calcium in the bones

high bp

 

What are the signs of potassium deficiency?

While cases of mild potassium deficiency may not exhibit any symptoms, warning signs may include:

 

  • Constipation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle spasms and twitching
  • Numbness and tingling in extremities
  • Low blood pressure
  • Extreme thirst
  • Urinating frequently
  • Severe muscular wasting results in paralysis
  • A feeling of faintness or dizziness

 

Excess potassium in women

As we all know, excess of everything is bad. Hence, excess potassium in the body can result in hyperkalemia. If the levels of potassium in the body increase to dangerous levels, the kidneys would no longer be able to excrete sufficient amounts of potassium, resulting in kidney diseases. People suffering from hyperkalemia may experience: 

 

  • Breathlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain

chest pain

 

List of some potassium-rich foods 

Some of the best food sources of potassium include:

  • Beet greens
  • Yams
  • Pinto beans
  • White potatoes
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach and kale
  • Salmon
  • Bananas
  • Peas
  • Avocado

 

Potassium can also be found in dried fruits, beans, and other plant-based meals. Now we know that the mineral helps in controlling blood pressure and maintains the health of the heart, bones, and kidneys. It must be noted that those with kidney problems must consult a doctor before consuming potassium-rich foods. For more information,

 

Consult An Apollo Expert

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

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