The Definitive Mineral Guide For Vegetarians

Chapter 5 – Potassium: Can It Make You Smarter?

Potassium, a soft silvery metal is an essential electrolyte. Elemental potassium is very reactive with water, creating enough heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction and burning with a blue flame. 0.2% of your body is potassium, which makes it eighth or ninth most common element by mass. That means most adults have a total of about 120 g of potassium within them. We all have in us the same amounts of potassium as sulfur and chlorine. Only calcium and phosphorus are more abundant in our bodies.

What It Does

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Potassium is crucial for neuron (brain and nerve) function, and for osmotic balance between cells and the interstitial fluid, which is the fluid outside of your cells. It helps to lower blood pressure in men and women more so in people with high blood pressure and in black men and women. So given today’s high sodium diets, potassium is your ally as it combats the blood pressure-raising effects of a high sodium diet.

How Much Potassium?

We need 4.7 grams of potassium per day but approximately 10% of men and less than 1% of women get this amount of potassium. Most people take in roughly 60% of the amount of potassium that is recommended. (1)

Potassium triggers three of the five types of taste sensations, according to concentration so it can be detected by taste.
So small amounts of potassium are sweet, making moderate concentrations in milk and juices palatable. But larger concentrations are more bitter and salty to the taste. As a result liquid drinks with high-dose potassium supplementation are a challenge for consumers.

Potassium Rich Foods

White beans, parsley, spinach, dried apricots, dried milk, chocolate, various nuts (especially almonds and pistachios), potatoes, bamboo shoots, bananas, avocados, soybeans, and bran, most meats and fish.

Total Usual Potassium Intake
The graph above shows that less than 5% of people (in 2003-4) are reaching 100% of what’s considered to be ‘adequate’ levels of potassium.

That means the majority of people, due to inadequate potassium levels, are experiencing low energy, cramping, anxiety and more…


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