Potassium is one of the seven vital minerals that the body needs, along with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride and sulphur.

An ample intake of potassium is associated with a 20 percent lower risk of death from all causes, a lower risk of stroke and blood pressure, and a reduction in kidney stone formation.

The primary functions of potassium in the body include helping build and move muscles, allowing kidneys to filter blood, synthesizing proteins, managing the electrical activity of the heart, maintaining body fluid volume and keeping up normal cell function.

Potassium doesn’t cure or prevent heart disease. But a high potassium intake can protect your heart in several ways. Potassium helps control blood pressure. A study found that taking potassium reduced systolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and low-fat foods can help decrease systolic blood pressure by more than 10 points. Take potassium pills only after checking with your doctor.

Potassium helps improve problems related to heart rhythm. It facilitates your heart beat, so if you suffer from heart rhythm problems, potassium may be highly beneficial.

Foods rich in potassium create an alkaline environment in the body that combat the regular acidosis caused by an unhealthy diet. Highly acidic foods like meat and processed cereal trigger metabolic acidosis. This results in a loss of bone mineral density and weakens the muscles. A study found that people who ingested 5,266 milligrams of potassium per day had an average of 1.6 more kilograms of lean tissue mass than people who’s potassium intake was 50 percent lower. Research also shows that a high potassium intake increases bone density.

What are the best food sources of potassium?

Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is the best way to increase your potassium intake. Dairy products, whole grains, meat, and fish are also sources of potassium.

Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, tomatoes, fresh fruits like bananas, oranges and strawberries, avocados, spinach, beans and peas, and dried fruits.

How much potassium do you need?
It is recommended that you maintain an intake of 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day for good health. The simplest way to get this amount is by including high-potassium fruits and vegetables in your diet.