Why is potassium good for you?


Quick Answer

According to MedlinePlus, potassium is good for you because your body needs it to build proteins and muscle. Potassium also helps the body break down carbohydrates, maintain body growth and control electrical heart activity. Additionally, potassium helps maintain blood pressure by weakening the effect of sodium on the body, notes the American Heart Association.

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Full Answer

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps muscles contract and not cramp, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy also reports that potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones recurring and possibly reduce bone loss in the elderly. Potassium assists in digestion by helping the body break down and utilize carbohydrates.

According to the American Heart Association, potassium is available in a variety of foods, such as bananas. Potassium is also found in leafy greens, such as spinach, Swiss chard and the leafy tops of beets. If greens are not enticing, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers also contain potassium. In addition, root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, are potassium rich. The American Heart Association suggests 4.7 grams of potassium daily for adults. This number is estimated to be about twice what most Americans consume daily, so it does not hurt to replace a candy bar with a filling banana as an afternoon snack.

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