Potassium, together with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus are one of the minerals that the body needs in large quantities and for this it is known as – along with the other six minerals – “macro minerals” or “macro elements”.
What are the benefits of potassium?
Several functions are guaranteed within the organism due to potassium: “Together with sodium it monitors and controls the correct functioning of the muscles, the heart rhythm, and fulfils a fundamental function in regulating the water content in cells to maintain balance, it also participates in the synthesis of proteins and the transformation of sugars into glycogen, activating many enzymes which are involved in energy metabolism. It is also essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and controlling blood pressure, as well as maintain proper chlorine and acid-base ratio which helps to regulate water retention,” explains Dr. Manuela Pastore, dietitian at the Clinical Institute Humanitas.
Most foods rich in potassium are vegetables, especially potatoes, cabbages, spinach, asparagus, dried beans and peas, particularly legumes. Among the fruits, the main potassium rich fruits are bananas and apricots. It is important that these foods are eaten fresh: to facilitate the absorption of potassium is crucial, says the expert, “consume fresh products which have not undergone any artificial conservation methods”. There should be a provision of at least 5 servings a day of vegetables: consume 5 portions a day between vegetables and fruit – concludes Pastore – The RDAs suggest you consume 3 grams a day, the levels of intake of Reference nutrients and energy for the Italian population.”