Potassium – Anna’s Research Project

I’m very proud of my 10 yr old, Anna, working hard to complete her first project of the school year. I learned some great facts about potassium. Keep the added salt at bay and increase your intake of potassium-rich foods!

High-potassium-food

Potassium,​ ​the​ ​nineteenth​ ​element​ ​on​ ​the​ ​periodic​ ​table,​ ​is​ ​an​ ​essential​ ​mineral​ ​for​ ​the human​ ​body.​ ​Potassium​ ​was​ ​discovered​ ​in​ ​1807​ ​by​ ​Humphry​ ​Davy.​ ​How​ ​does​ ​potassium​ ​help​ ​us as​ ​humans?​ ​It​ ​is​ ​an​ ​electrolyte.​ ​Electrolytes​ ​produce​ ​electricity​ ​and​ ​move​ ​electrical​ ​signals throughout​ ​your​ ​body.​ ​For​ ​your​ ​brain,​ ​nerves,​ ​and​ ​muscles,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​the​ ​creation​ ​of​ ​new​ ​tissue, these​ ​electrical​ ​signals​ ​must​ ​take​ ​place.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​helps​ ​to​ ​regulate​ ​the​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​water​ ​in​ ​your​ ​body and​ ​keeps​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​blood​ ​pH​ ​level.​ ​Your​ ​body​ ​must​ ​perform​ ​a​ ​balancing​ ​act​ ​between​ ​potassium and​ ​sodium,​ ​another​ ​electrolyte.​ ​When​ ​one​ ​of​ ​these​ ​electrolyte​ ​levels​ ​goes​ ​up,​ ​the​ ​other​ ​one​ ​goes down.​ ​While​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to​ ​have​ ​sodium​ ​in​ ​our​ ​body,​ ​we​ ​can’t​ ​have​ ​too​ ​much​ ​of​ ​it.​ ​Too​ ​much sodium​ ​can​ ​cause​ ​many​ ​illnesses​ ​or​ ​diseases,​ ​and​ ​Americans​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​regularly​ ​eat​ ​fresh​ ​fruits​ ​and vegetables,​ ​while​ ​eating​ ​foods​ ​prepared​ ​and​ ​flavored​ ​with​ ​too​ ​much​ ​salt.​ ​This​ ​keeps​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of potassium​ ​down.​ ​Therefore,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​potassium​ ​up​ ​by​ ​eating​ ​and drinking​ ​the​ ​right​ ​foods.

Potassium​ ​is​ ​the​ ​third​ ​most​ ​prevalent​ ​mineral​ ​in​ ​the​ ​human​ ​body.​ ​The​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​potassium are​ ​critical​ ​to​ ​life—if​ ​potassium​ ​levels​ ​get​ ​too​ ​high​ ​or​ ​too​ ​low,​ ​the​ ​heart​ ​and​ ​nervous​ ​system​ ​can completely​ ​shut​ ​down.​ ​Potassium​ ​is​ ​a​ ​key​ ​to​ ​keeping​ ​kidneys​ ​healthy​ ​especially​ ​in​ ​the prevention​ ​of​ ​kidney​ ​stones.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​keeps​ ​the​ ​brain​ ​and​ ​muscular​ ​tissues​ ​healthy.​ ​Potassium plays​ ​a​ ​key​ ​role​ ​in​ ​keeping​ ​the​ ​body​ ​hydrated​ ​and​ ​can​ ​be​ ​helpful​ ​in​ ​preventing​ ​problems​ ​such​ ​as muscle​ ​cramping​ ​and​ ​nausea​ ​and​ ​even​ ​arthritis​ ​and​ ​depression.

Potassium​ ​is​ ​mainly​ ​found​ ​in​ ​plant-based​ ​foods​ ​with​ ​the​ ​addition​ ​of​ ​some​ ​fish​ ​and​ ​dairy products.​ ​Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​great​ ​snacks​ ​that​ ​have​ ​a​ ​good​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​potassium:​ ​Sweet​ ​potatoes​ ​with regular​ ​potatoes​ ​or​ ​a​ ​mixture​ ​of​ ​dried​ ​fruits​ ​such​ ​as​ ​apricots,​ ​peaches,​ ​and​ ​figs.​ ​You​ ​could​ ​also have​ ​watermelon​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​up​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​potassium.​ ​Lentil​ ​hummus​ ​with​ ​carrots​ ​is​ ​a​ ​great choice.​ ​What​ ​about​ ​a​ ​banana​ ​and​ ​orange​ ​juice​ ​smoothie​ ​or​ ​blueberry​ ​oatmeal?​ ​Some​ ​meals​ ​that have​ ​high​ ​levels​ ​of​ ​potassium​ ​are:​ ​spaghetti​ ​and​ ​meatballs​ ​with​ ​a​ ​spinach​ ​salad,​ ​salmon​ ​with​ ​a side​ ​of​ ​black​ ​beans​ ​topped​ ​with​ ​avocado​ ​slices.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​always​ ​a​ ​spinach​ ​salad​ ​mixed​ ​with​ ​beets and​ ​tossed​ ​with​ ​an​ ​orange​ ​vinaigrette.​ ​Another​ ​meal​ ​you​ ​can​ ​create​ ​is​ ​a​ ​bean​ ​and​ ​fennel​ ​soup.​ ​A sweet​ ​treat​ ​is​ ​a​ ​nice​ ​way​ ​to​ ​end​ ​your​ ​meal,​ ​so​ ​you​ ​can​ ​enjoy​ ​yogurt​ ​with​ ​chopped​ ​apricots​ ​and/or peaches.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​an​ ​athlete​ ​or​ ​an​ ​active​ ​person,​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​hydrated​ ​is​ ​by eating​ ​a​ ​banana.​ ​Studies​ ​have​ ​been​ ​done​ ​that​ ​show​ ​food,​ ​like​ ​bananas,​ ​are​ ​better​ ​at​ ​keeping​ ​your performance​ ​level​ ​up.​ ​They​ ​even​ ​beat​ ​sports​ ​drinks​ ​which​ ​have​ ​too​ ​much​ ​sugar​ ​and​ ​too​ ​much sodium​ ​which​ ​makes​ ​the​ ​potassium​ ​and​ ​sodium​ ​levels​ ​unequal.

Since​ ​you​ ​know​ ​what​ ​potassium​ ​is​ ​and​ ​how​ ​it​ ​helps​ ​your​ ​body​ ​function,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​watch what​ ​you​ ​eat​ ​and​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​you​ ​are​ ​getting​ ​foods​ ​that​ ​are​ ​high​ ​in​ ​potassium​ ​and​ ​eating​ ​less​ ​salty food.​ ​Now​ ​go​ ​get​ ​some​ ​potassium​ ​flowing​ ​through​ ​your​ ​body.​ ​Grab​ ​a​ ​banana​ ​and​ ​water​ ​for your​ ​after-school​ ​activity!

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