“A potassium deficiency can make you feel like the lights are on but you’re not home.”
Do you ever experience fatigue, even after resting or sleeping all night? Are you ever constipated? Do you ever retain water or feel bloated? Do you have high blood pressure? Do your knuckles ever swell up to the point that it is hard to get your rings off? Do you ever experience heart palpitations (the feeling of a skipped heart beat)? Does your heart ever begin beating too rapidly? Do you ever have muscle weakness, twitches, or spasms? Do you ever have muscle cramps? Do you ever have a tingling feeling or numbness in your body? Do you have stiff joints? Does your back or neck ache? If you answered, yes, to any of the above questions, you could be deficient in potassium.
A HEALTHY HEART REQUIRES LOADS OF POTASSIUM
Potassium is an alkaline mineral and an important electrolyte, which is essential for nerve function and heart rhythm. Potassium aids in proper muscle contractions and works with sodium to control the water balance in your body. This essential mineral also helps stabilize your blood pressure, transmit nutrients through cell membranes, and aids in the transmission of electrical impulses.
Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). A very low potassium level (less than 2.5 mmol/L) can be life-threatening and requires urgent medical attention. Your blood level of potassium is a good indication of overall potassium in the body but it does not always reveal what is happening at the cellular level. For instance, your sodium level could be high and your potassium level could be low (but still within range as being acceptable on a blood test). This is very common in America. This can force the cells of your body to be compromised by allowing too much potassium to leave the cell and too much sodium to remain in the cell.
The sodium-potassium pump is your body’s system for moving sodium and potassium in and out of the cell. Your energy level is dependent upon having more potassium on the inside of your cells and more sodium on the outside of your cells. The sodium-potassium pump uses energy from ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to transport three sodium ions out of the cell in exchange for two potassium ions into the cell. I know this may sound complex, but it gives you a basic idea of how your cells maintain homeostasis (perfect balance) by transporting sodium out of the cell and available potassium into the cell. This critical exchange of potassium and sodium allows your cells to be internally rich in potassium and externally bathed in sodium.
THE CAUSE OF BLOATING
A common complaint from hundreds of women I have counseled is water retention. Many women retain water and do not pass much urine each day, leading to a bloated, waterlogged body. A meat-based diet requires the judicious use of salt to buffer the acid load from the meat and to also make the animal flesh palatable. Processed foods and restaurant foods are often laced heavily with salt. This excess sodium has to be suspended in the body with water. High sodium intake can easily lead to water retention.
THE CURE FOR WATER BLOATING
If potassium levels are low, your body will not release sodium from your body (via urine) because if it releases sodium, some potassium goes with it (and your body can not afford to lose any of its precious potassium, if you are deficient). When you are deficient in potassium, and most Americans are, your body will retain water and sodium no matter how much water you drink. Unless you naturally increase potassium in your diet by eating hefty amounts potassium-rich foods daily (eating a fruit-based diet, as I suggest in this book), you may be sentenced to bloating, puffiness, and water retention for the rest of your life.
The AI (Adequate Intake) of potassium for an adult is 4700mg. Potassium intake should be about 8 times your sodium intake. In America, the exact opposite is often the case because of America’s overindulgence in fast foods and processed foods that are high in added salt (sodium) and low in potassium.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests that only 180mg to 500mg of sodium per day is actually what the human body needs. Due to the generous consumption of fast food, junk food, processed foods, and dining out, the average American can easily consume over 3500mg of sodium daily, exceeding the suggested sodium intake for an adult by a whopping 3,000 milligrams.
AMERICAN WOMEN ARE IN DANGER
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the average adult woman in America only ingests 2300mg of dietary potassium daily, which is less than HALF the AI for adult women (4700mg is recommended for adult men and women). And men are not doing much better at meeting their daily needs. The average adult male is only receiving 3100mg of dietary ingested potassium daily. Simple math lets us know that the average adult woman in America is 2400mg short of meeting her potassium needs each day, and men are 1600mg short. Theoretically, in one year, a woman would be 876,000mg short on potassium and men would be 584,000mg short. In my humble opinion, that is a serious potassium deficiency that can cause weight gain, water retention, bloating and a variety of other health issues that could be rectified by simply increasing your intake of foods that are high in potassium.
A FRUIT-BASED DIET IS CRITICAL TO GET ADEQUATE POTASSIUM DAILY
Meeting your daily requirement for potassium IS EASY when you eat an ample amount of fruit each day, such as I suggest in my book, FRUIT FLUSH. Meeting your daily requirement for potassium is NOT EASY when you limit your fruit intake. I sometimes consume a large cantaloupe for breakfast, which contains about 2,000mg potassium. Later on, I may have 3 bananas and coconut water, which provide about 1,800mg potassium. If I have a salad and more fruit for dinner, that can provide me with another 1,200 milligrams of additional potassium. Toss in a Jay Robb Protein Shake and I can pump up my potassium intake by another 700 milligrams. This way of eating ensures I have plenty of potassium and alkaline electrolyte minerals on hand. My goal is to exceed my Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium, every day.
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NOTE: I created a highly cleansing diet entitled FRUIT FLUSH that can help you detox in a very comfortable way that gets the job done, but allows you to be flexible and enjoy life during the process. My eBook Fruit Flush is currently available for $5.00 at JayRobb.com.