May 19, 2013

Identify Low Potassium; Boost it Quickly and Deliciously

Potassium is a vital electrolyte that functions at the cellular level to enable your muscles to perform. Low potassium can create problems with muscles, nerves, and heart function. Athletes, adults, and children outside in the summer heat need to be especially aware of their electrolyte levels, especially potassium. Regular heart function is dependent on adequate levels of potassium.

Low potassium is called hypokalemia. 3.5 to 5.5 is considered the normal threshold for potassium levels. Excesses of potassium are eliminated in urine. Low potassium should be identified and addressed to prevent heart problems and regulate blood pressure.

Signs that your potassium may be low include general feelings of weakness or fatigue. Arm and leg muscle fatigue, aches, and drawing of the hands, feet, or legs (commonly known as a "Charlie horse") are generally a good predictor of low potassium. Numbness and tingling in your extremities and heart palpitations are additional common symptoms of low potassium. Less known symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, constipation, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and uncharacteristic psychological behavior.

Because the symptoms of low potassium are very general and can be indicators of other illnesses, the best thing to do is have your potassium levels checked by a doctor or clinic. Potassium levels are checked through a blood test or EKG.

Dangerously low potassium levels will be treated by your doctor with potassium infusions or pills.

Those who work out hard, work up a sweat, take laxatives, diuretics, or herbal supplements need to be aware that each of these may contribute to low potassium levels.

Increasing your potassium level at home may not be as difficult as you think. Make foods high in potassium a part of your daily diet. Bananas are the first fruit that comes to mind when thinking of potassium supplements, but tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, oranges and peaches are also good sources of potassium.

Use about a cup and a half of sherbet, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt to combine high potassium fruits into a delicious smoothie. Three bananas and a cup and a half or cup of frozen desert, with a dash of banana flavoring makes a delicious, potassium rich fruit smoothie. Add a cup of ice and blend the ingredients to your desired consistency and enjoy your potassium rich smoothie.

The same can be done with oranges, peaches, or a combination of any of the fruits listed above.

Adding a watermelon slices to your lunch plate will also give your potassium a boost.

Another good source of potassium is diet drinks like SlimFast and Ensure. When using these drinks for potassium supplement it is not recommended that they be used for meal replacements. You can drink supplemental diet drinks cold out of the fridge, or tinker with them a little to make them a little more appetizing.

Try chilling a SlimFast in the freezer until it is almost frozen. Take it out and shake it well and you will find that you have a SlimFast milkshake. Some people find this more appetizing than drinking plain liquid SlimFast. An alternative is to add your potassium enriched diet supplement to the blender with a cup or two of ice. You have an instant, healthy frozen drink to sip by the pool.

You may also play with the fruits mentioned above and incorporate potassium rich fruits into fruit salad, congealed salads, or grill fruit pieces with your steak or chicken and give to give your meat delightful tropical flavor and a healthy dose of calcium.


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