When we get sick, our bodies lose essential vitamins and minerals. The depletion of these minerals can prolong our illness and often worsen our condition. Through stomach viruses and the flu, we can also lose electrolytes, substances that become ions when in a solution. The most common electrolytes in our bodies are sodium, potassium and chloride. An electrolyte imbalance affects vital organs like our kidneys, heart, and lungs. Specifically, a lack of potassium can be a result of diarrhea, vomiting, medication or a poor diet. You might have low potassium levels if you experience any of these five issues:
1. Water Retention
A lack of potassium can result in high sodium levels since potassium helps regulate the amount of salt in our bodies. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet, you might feel like you’re constantly retaining fluids. An added side effect to this issue is high blood pressure.
2. Digestive Problems
Low potassium levels can specifically lead to difficult bowel movements. Gas and constipation may mean our sodium levels aren’t properly balanced. Make sure you consume enough potassium to maintain your digestive system running smoothly.
3. Nerve Issues
Potassium is responsible for a significant portion of the well-being of our nerves. When we don’t get enough potassium, we often experience a tingling sensation in our extremities. Numbness is also associated with low potassium.
4. Heart Irregularities
Potassium, like the other electrolytes affect our bodies’ ability to conduct electricity. Since our heart beats according to electric impulses, when we lose the ability to conduct electricity due to low potassium levels, the rhythm that are heart beats to can be altered. When we lack potassium, our heart can begin to flutter and palpitate.
Your body needs potassium to operate properly, and when you get sick and lose important electrolytes, you often feel run-down and lethargic. General weakness is a sign of low potassium levels.
So, if you discover that you’re constantly battling with one or more of these problems, try supplementing your diet with foods that will boost your potassium levels and get you back on track to better health:
Fruits like pomegranates, apricots, and avocados are perfect for anyone who lacks potassium. Pomegranates, great for both their seeds and the tasty juice, are a great way to get more potassium. Containing over 650 milligrams of potassium, a whole pomegranate can give you other important vitamins as well.
Apricots, especially the dried ones, work to boost your potassium levels and help keep your weight in check. Only half a cup of dried apricots can provide you with almost 800 milligrams of potassium.
Last on our list of potassium-rich fruits is a fruit that’s high in healthy fats rather than carbohydrates. The avocado contains over 1000 milligrams of potassium, making it a true superfood with a powerful punch.
2. Coconut Water
Potassium not only comes in a solid, but also in a liquid form. Natural coconut water packs a hefty amount of potassium, clocking in at 600 milligrams per cup. Make sure that the brand you choose doesn’t have any added preservatives or sugars.
Popeye’s favorite vegetable kept him strong and healthy and gave him an added boost of energy. Although it’s a cartoon, the lesson carries over to real life. Spinach contains high amounts of potassium, and tastes great either raw in a mixed salad or cooked.
4. Sweet Potato
The orange sweet potato is not just high in potassium, at around 850 milligrams, it’s color makes it high in beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Sweet Potatoes also taste great and are better for you than normal white potatoes.