You don’t always hear about potassium, but it is extremely important for muscle strength, nerve functions, and the cardiovascular system. You can find this nutrient in several types of yummy food such as melon, avocados, bananas, and white beans. The recommended amount of potassium is 4700 mg per day, according to research. Even if you incorporate these foods into your diet, you still may not be getting enough potassium. If you feel any of the seven symptoms below, you may be experiencing a potassium deficiency.
Always Feeling Tired
Do you constantly feel fatigued? This may be a key indicator that you are not getting enough potassium in your diet. If you are always feeling exhausted even though you are getting enough sleep, it may be due to lack of potassium. Another sign of low potassium levels is if you feel wiped out after a regular workout session. However, a lot of factors can cause fatigue (stress, diet, etc.) so make sure it isn’t any other factor before you blame low potassium levels.
You Feel Dizzy Often
Feeling dizzy and faint may be another key sign that you are missing potassium in your diet. Potassium levels can fluctuate throughout the day, causing your heartbeat to slow. Another sign may be if you are feeling tingling and numbness in your body akin to pins and needles. If this feeling is common for you, it may be because you don’t have enough of this important nutrient in your diet. If you are experiencing frequent spells of dizziness or faintness, you should see your doctor to determine the cause.
Potassium is an important element in controlling muscle contractions including the heart muscles. If you have low levels of potassium, you may experience body aches and spasms throughout the day especially while exercising. Research shows that potassium smooths out muscle contractions, so when your levels are low, you will be more at risk for spasms, aches, and fatigue. Eat some form of potassium, such as a banana or papaya before working out and after to make sure your muscles don’t cramp up. You can also take potassium supplements before you work out to minimize the risk of muscle cramps.
You are Always Bloated
Are you feeling bloated on the regular? When you aren’t getting enough potassium, your body may be struggling to regulate your sodium levels. This will cause your body to hold onto sodium and bloat. Potassium ensures that cells, tissues, and organs are operating properly and circulating body fluids. Try to incorporate potassium-rich foods, such as bananas and potatoes, if you want to reduce fluid buildup within the body. Also, try cutting back on the salty foods as this is the number one cause of bloating in the body.Related: Bloated All the Time? 11 Reasons Why
High Blood Pressure
If you are not getting enough potassium in your diet, your blood vessel walls can become constricted. This results in hypertension, which can cause heart palpitations. Potassium helps relax the blood vessels and regulate blood flow. High blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and accounts for about 2/3 of all strokes. It is important to monitor your blood pressure to make sure it isn’t off the charts. If your doctor does say that you are experiencing higher blood pressure than normal, boost your potassium intake and monitor how you feel.
You Eat a Lot of Processed Foods
If you eat a lot of processed foods, there is a good chance that you aren’t getting enough potassium. There is very little nutritional value in processed foods so if you are eating mostly out of boxes and bags, it’s almost a guarantee you aren’t getting the proper amount of potassium. There is also a lot of sodium in processed foods (even if it doesn’t always seem obvious). According to research, the more sodium you intake, the more potassium your body secretes. Cut back on the salty stuff to hold onto more of the potassium you are eating.
ConstipationRelated: Never Throw Away Bananas with Black Spots
This may not seem related, but low potassium levels can slow down your digestive system. Use potassium as a way to regulate any constipation you may experience. If you have this issue focus on fruits and vegetables with potassium and fiber such as avocado, kidney beans, and broccoli. Make sure you are getting the necessary daily amount to rule out potassium as the key reason for constipation. Constipation can be caused by many factors, so if dietary changes don’t produce the desired effect, make sure you visit your doctor to determine any other causes.