How to Get Enough Potassium

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Potassium

Potassium

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Potassium is an essential mineral that many Americans don’t get enough of, yet it’s vital for healthy blood pressure; proper function of the heart, kidneys, muscles, and nerves; and for normal metabolism of carbohydrates and protein.

Until recently, not all experts viewed lack of potassium as a problem. But when new food labels were introduced in January 2020, listing of potassium content became a requirement because government dietary surveys have found that Americans generally don’t get enough of this mineral.

Processed foods are a major contributor to the problem, as they are generally high in sodium and contain little or no potassium. The ratio in healthy foods is tipped in the opposite direction—fruits and vegetables contain much more potassium, with little or no sodium. In the long-gone days of hunter-gatherers, it’s estimated that the paleolithic diet contained 16 times as much potassium as sodium.

This ratio is important because potassium and sodium work together. When there’s enough potassium, excess sodium is more easily excreted, helping to maintain healthy blood pressure and to avoid the perils of hypertension, including heart disease and stroke.





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