Potassium is a mineral that works with sodium to regulate the balance of fluids in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, most people can easily get their recommended daily dose of potassium through their diet, making supplements unnecessary. Potassium can be found in a variety of natural sources with a broad enough range to appeal to just about every taste, including bananas, carrots, citrus fruit, nuts, potatoes, milk and sardines. The facts related to potassium reveal that it is essential to life on Earth even when not consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Abundance in Earth and Body
Potassium is the eighth-most abundant mineral in the atmosphere and even more abundantly represented inside the body. The only minerals with a greater presence in the human body than potassium are calcium and phosphorus, according to “The Medical Advisor.” This high quantity of potassium is related to its high quality in ensuring a functioning body. Potassium is essential for metabolizing carbohydrates, secreting insulin by the pancreas and synthesizing protein.
Foods With More Potassium Than Bananas
Bananas often are at the top of the list when referring to natural sources of potassium, but a number of other foods contain a higher percentage of potassium, some of which might be surprising. Dates, raisins and claims are better sources of potassium. At the top of the list of foods high in potassium are baked potato, raw cassava, prune juice and dried peaches, according to “Prevention Magazine’s Nutrition Advisor.”
Potassium is important nutritionally long before it ever makes its way into your body. Plants need potassium to thrive and a plant with a potassium deficiency is just as sickly as a body with a potassium deficiency. You can tell if your plants are not getting the proper amount of potassium when the leaves turn gray, yellow or brown, and the edges begin to curl. Potassium deficiencies in plants typically occur during the latter part of the season as a result of the mineral being used by developing fruits.
Why Potassium is Symbolized by a K
The chemical symbol for potassium is one of those choices that doesn’t seem to make as much obvious sense as other symbols. Potassium got its periodic table symbol “K” as a result of the Latin derivative “kalium,” for its name of origin, “potash.”
Uses of Potassium
Potassium’s uses in the body include regulation of the heartbeat and muscle contraction, as well as preservation of cell functions. Potassium also is used extensively outside the body in a variety of ways. The iodizing properties of potassium make it useful for manufacturing both fireworks and explosives. Potassium is used to develop photographs, make medicine and iodize salt.
- National Institutes of Health: Potassium Fact Sheet
- Facts-about.org.uk: Facts about Potassium
- "Prevention Magazine's Nutrition Advisor;" Mark Bricklin, Ed.; 1993
- "Reader's Digest 1001 Hints and Tips for Your Garden;" Fred Dubose, Project Editor; 1996
- Periodic-table.org.uk: Potassium