One of the three most important minerals you can have in your body is potassium. It is important for the proper functioning of nearly every cell in your body, and without it we wonâ€™t be able to function, and will die. It is important, therefore, that we make sure to have enough potassium in our bodies â€“ from either the food we eat or supplements.
Our bodies are individual chemical labs, manufacturing more chemicals than a pharmaceutical company. These chemicals all have a function in helping the millions of tiny cells (such as skin cells, liver cells and brain cells) to work together in cooperation. Potassium is extremely important to these cells by assisting in the communication process between cells, from any part of our body to our brains. Potassium is a great brain food
The element potassium (symbol K on the periodic table) help our cell to control what enters and leaves them, and the messages they send. It is one of them most basic elements, and also one of the most vital. Your heart cannot contract normally without potassium, and it is critical for nerve and brain function.
Picture for a moment a nerve cell in your finger. That cell doesnâ€™t usually do too much, except when you touch something. That touch sends a message along a chain of many nerve cells to your brain through the release of chemicals to the cells. That message helps your brain to understand what it was you just touched.
Potassium plays a role in the release of these chemicals. Without potassium assisting the bodyâ€™s chemicals the messages wonâ€™t get passed on. Every time you blink your eyes, exercise, walk or talk you are releasing chemicals that communicate with your cells to allow you to do these functions. Imagine what would happen if there was no chemical reaction because your bodyâ€™s supply of potassium was depleted!
Researchers at Swedenâ€™s Karolinska Institute conducted 10 different medical studies that evaluated the connection between low potassium levels and stroke. Throughout this study, more than 268,000 individuals were involved. Their findings, reported in the July 2011 edition of the medical journal Stroke, concluded that for every 1,000 mg per day increase in dietary potassium, stroke risk dropped by 11%.
The element is not hard to find. All fruits and vegetables supply at least 300 mg of potassium per cup. One big source of potassium is a banana. You can get close to 500 mg of potassium in one large banana. Other potassium giant suppliers are soybeans, sweet potatoes, spinach, lettuce, beans, salmon and halibut â€“ supplying from 450-850 mg per serving.
Amazingly, even with this abundance of potassium, the National Health and Nutrition Surveyed of over 9,000 American adults in 2008 and found that the average American womanâ€™s diet included less than 2,300 mg of potassium daily and the average man about 3000 mg. An adequate level is considered to be about 4,700 mg. What this tells us is our regular diets are not doing an adequate job of supplying us with enough potassium to keep our brain cells, and all the cells of our body, communicating as they should.
In addition, many people take diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure and water retention. This can cause problems for the kidneys in regulating the potassium in our bodies. Although getting the mineral through your food is the best alternative, your doctor may need to prescribe a potassium supplement and run a periodic check of your potassium levels.
Keeping adequate supplies of potassium in your body will help to keep your brain sharp and functioning at itâ€™s best. Contact your physician to make sure your potassium level is in line, and if not make sure he prescribes the correct supplement for your needs.
AARP â€“ High Potassium Foods May Protect Your Brain: http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/heart-smart-living/potassium
Mineral Information Institute â€“ The role of elements in Life Process: http://www.mii.org/periodic/lifeelement.html;