© 2013 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
One secret—and quickly cured— source of fatigue for many is a low level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is an essential electrolyte and the third most prevalent element in the body. It helps your brain, muscle, and heart functions, lowers blood pressure, and increases the body’s processing of carbs and protein. The right amount of potassium can also prevent strokes.
Especially during the hot weeks of the year, a person can sweat away potassium and end up depleted, feeling strangely lousy. Low potassium may cause vague thinking, dry skin, fatigue, less muscle control, more muscle cramps, and heart function oddities. People who are very athletic or who have high blood pressure often have low potassium levels. Basic blood tests will tell you if your potassium is low.
So what to do? The USDA recommends you get 4500 mg of potassium every day. Yes, you can drink sports drinks, which will also contain other electrolytes, and sometimes large amounts of sugars or artificial sweeteners. Sugars can fatigue you after the initial kick, encourage future diabetes, and hurt your teeth if you don’t rinse with water. Artificial sweeteners can be hard on your kidneys and favorable to cancers.
Of course, you can take supplements. And your doctor can prescribe potassium tablets. However, you can quickly bring up your potassium levels by eating from a list of very pleasant foods. Good sources of potassium include bananas, orange juice, avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes, potatoes, lima beans, fresh or cooked spinach, flounder, salmon, cod, chicken, and other meats. Some examples: Whole almonds have 1006 mg per cup, bananas 806, roasted cashews 774, lima beans 765, avocados 728, orange juice 496, baked potato 239, fresh spinach 167 (that’s 1 ounce of fresh spinach in the cup). Rotisserie chicken breast has 284 mg per 100 g (almost 4 oz), and broiled salmon 384 per 100g. Love filet mignon? It has 357 mg potassium per 100 g. Love your Caesar salad? That romaine lettuce has 247 mg potassium per 100 g.
So enjoy your proteins, fresh fruits and veggies! You’ll get lots of potassium and notice you feel better. Your doctor will smile, and so will you. Have an energized summer!
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