What Is Potassium Good For?

Potassium is good for health because it helps in the functioning of the heart, muscle contractions, transmission of nerve impulses and kidney functions. Potassium helps in metabolism, maintenance of water and chemical balance, states WebMD. Potassium deficiency increases the risk of hypertension, kidney stones, osteoporosis, carbohydrate intolerance, stroke and heart diseases according to SF Gate.

Potassium is found in all fresh and unprocessed foods. For adequate potassium, one should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, bananas, oranges and spinach, and dried fruits, such as apricots. Healthy Eating advises that potassium supplements should be taken only under a physician’s instruction because of their potential toxicity.

In the body, potassium facilitates conduction of nerve impulses that cause muscle contractions including in the heart. Potassium imbalance leads to irregular heartbeat that can result in stroke or cardiac arrest. Potassium maintains blood pressure by counteracting sodium’s effects through regulation of fluid movement in and out of cells; high sodium and low potassium lead to accumulation of fluid in cells, hence high blood pressure. Potassium acts as a buffer for neutralizing metabolic acidity, preventing osteoporosis and kidney stones. According to WebMD, the recommended dietary intake for potassium of 4.7 milligrams per day for an adult is essential for health.