Nutrition Basics

Raising Increasing Potassium Levels

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Tips for increasing potassium levels:

Potassium is a necessary nutrient for healthy body functions. Low levels of potassium (called hypokalemia, by medical professionals) is a common problem for many people. Those who have low potassium levels can suffer from muscle cramps, commonly called a 'Charlie horse', to more serious conditions effecting the heart. Symptoms of low levels of potassium in the body include, fatigue, diarrhea, confusion, irritability, muscle spasms, and high or low blood pressure.

There are many causes of low levels of potassium in the human body. Athletes can suffer from low potassium due to perspiration during strenuous exertion. Diabetics and persons diagnosed with diseases of the kidneys, lungs and heart can also exhibit symptoms of low potassium. The use of diuretics (water loss pills) can lower levels of potassium to dangerously low levels. Starvation and fad diets are also culprits of decreased potassium levels. If you suspect that you are suffering from low levels of potassium, see a doctor. A nutritionist can also be helpful.

There are many foods available to eat or drink that increase levels of potassium:

Artichokes, avocado, apricot, bananas, kidney beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, chard, cabbage, mushrooms, eggplant, garlic, halibut, honey, deep green lettuce, mango, onion, oranges, potatoes, parsley, bell pepper, papaya, pear, plantain, radish, spinach, strawberries, squash, tomatoes, oat bran, lima beans.

Eating a variety of these foods rich in potassium will help to increase those levels. Avoid highly processed, overcooked foods since the nutrients found in them are usually poor in nutritional value. During periods of strenuous exercise or activities that cause perspiration, drinking or eating something that will replace the lost potassium quickly is a must. Orange juice is a great quick fix for people who have no limits on their diet. An electrolyte replacement beverage is another alternative.

For people who must take medications for fluid imbalances, a doctor will usually prescribe potassium in the form of a pill. This is not the best way to replace potassium in the body, but it is the quickest. Unless a person has a serious illness that requires supplements, it is best to avoid potassium in pill form.

The best way to increase potassium levels is by getting it through proper nutrition. Finding foods from the above list that is pleasing to the taste and consuming them on a daily basis should be enough to increase potassium to healthy levels.

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