Studies have shown that potassium is needed to help prevent high blood pressure and to help the body keep a regular heartbeat. Potassium also plays an important role in keeping fluids and electrolytes balanced in the body.
A potassium deficiency is called "hypokalemia". It can be caused by a poor diet, some medications, disease and stress.
Hypokalemia can be caused by medications like steroids, laxatives, and diuretics.
Medical conditions that can lower potassium levels include vomiting, diarrhea, certain kidney disorders, rare adrenal gland disorders, and leukemia.
Other non-medical issues that can affect potassium levels and increase the risk for hypokalemia include physical and mental stress, coffee, sugar, and alcohol.
By eating a balanced and natural diet, potassium levels can be controlled. Natural foods can help increase potassium levels.
Three good natural food sources of potassium include:
- Sweet potatoes- 694 mg of potassium per medium size
- Yogurt - 579 mg per 8 ounce serving
- Bananas - 422 mg per a medium size
Visit the American Heart Association for a complete list of natural foods rich in potassium.