Advertisement

What are the health benefits of potassium?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
The following are health benefits of potassium:
  • Balances fluids in the body
  • Helps maintain steady heartbeat and send nerve impulses
  • Needed for muscle contractions
  • A diet rich in potassium seems to lower blood pressure
  • Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones
Potassium is an important mineral with numerous functions. Potassium is needed in your body for fluid balance, muscle contraction, and for your nerve impulses to work properly.

Research also suggests that a diet plentiful in potassium lowers blood pressure, especially in salt-sensitive individuals who respond more intensely to sodium’s blood pressure -- raising capabilities. Potassium helps negate some of the blood pressure-raising effects of excessive dietary sodium as it causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Reducing sodium levels in the body helps lower blood pressure.

The good news is that potassium is found in a variety of foods, with vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy foods, and beans being potassium powerhouses.

Continue Learning about Minerals

Calcium Where You Least Expect It
Calcium Where You Least Expect It
If you don't do dairy -- or dairy doesn't agree with you -- it's easy to get your calcium in pills. But you miss the extras that you get by eating foo...
Read More
What minerals play an active role in bone health?
Debra Fulghum Bruce PhDDebra Fulghum Bruce PhD
Several minerals play an active role in the absorption of calcium, its metabolism, and bone deve...
More Answers
At what age should I start taking iron supplements?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Talk to your doctor to determine if you need iron supplements. People who may need supplements inclu...
More Answers
Selenium Keeps You Young
Selenium Keeps You Young

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.