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What Helps a Body Absorb Potassium?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
What Helps a Body Absorb Potassium?
Leafy greens contain lots of potassium. Photo Credit DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

Low levels of potassium can cause feelings of weakness, muscle spasms or irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will tell you if you have clinically low levels after running a simple blood test. Potassium levels may also temporarily become lower after a sweaty workout or after a bout of diarrhea and vomiting. To help absorption, raise your potassium levels by eating potassium-rich foods and foods with magnesium.

About Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that is essential for nerve and muscle communication and function. It's one of the electrolytes that you lose via sweat, as it helps cells clear out waste and take in nutrients. Low levels of potassium, called hypokatemia, can occur in conjunction with serious conditions such as kidney disease and eating disorders. Antibiotic use and overuse of laxatives or diuretics can also cause low levels of potassium. If you fear you have a chronically low level of this mineral, it is critical to see your doctor to be examined and treated.

Potassium-Containing Foods

Many foods contain ample amounts of potassium, but sometimes, they are sometimes from a diet that is heavy in processed foods. To naturally boost your levels, consume more leafy greens, vine fruits -- such as grapes and blackberries, root vegetables and citrus fruits. Specific foods rich in potassium include avocados, baked potatoes, bananas, carrots, lean beef, peanut butter, spinach, tomatoes, oranges, yogurt and wheat germ. Before taking a potassium supplement, consult your physician.

Role of Magnesium

The mineral magnesium, another electrolyte, helps calcium and potassium ions travel across cell membranes, allowing the potassium to do its job in cell function and maintenance. Low magnesium levels can actually cause low potassium. Foods that help boost your magnesium level include almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, shredded wheat, soymilk, black beans, edamame and avocado. Many of these foods also contain potassium.

Additional Interventions

If you take diuretics to treat heart failure and high blood pressure, speak with your doctor about switching to a potassium-sparing formula. Rather than taking laxatives to regulate your digestive tract, consume more foods with fiber. Drinks that have electrolytes can help boost your potassium, sodium and magnesium levels after a heavy sweat session or severe diarrhea.

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