When you hear “potassium,” you probably think bananas. It’s true that bananas are a potassium powerhouse, but there are plenty of other foods rich in the mineral, too. Despite this, you may not be consuming as much of it as you need to. The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults 19 and older get 2,600 milligrams (women) to 3,400 milligrams (men) of potassium every day.
Why is the mineral so important for our bodies? Potassium is an electrolyte that helps our cells work correctly. We need it for everything from maintaining our body’s water balance to keeping our hearts healthy, according to Healthline.
Worried you’re low on potassium? Here are seven signs you might not be getting enough.
1. You Are Tired All The Time
We all have those days when we’re just too tired to function, but are you tired constantly? Not enough potassium may be the culprit. If you seem to be getting plenty of sleep but are still exhausted, consider setting up a doctor’s appointment to get your potassium levels checked.
2. You Don’t Eat Enough Fresh Foods
I know, I know — that new flavor of Oreos is a-maz-ing. But, guess what? They’re probably not full of potassium. The fresher the foods you consume, the higher your potassium intake is likely to be. So, choose fresh over packaged and see if you notice a difference.
3. You Have High Blood Pressure
Potassium lessens the effects of excess sodium, so it’s critical to consume enough in order to keep your blood pressure in check and at a healthy level. This is especially true if you tend to eat a lot of sodium-heavy meals, such as fast or processed foods.
4. You Feel Faint Or Dizzy
Yep, if you often feel dizzy or light-headed, you may need more potassium in your diet. If this happens frequently, you should definitely consult your doctor, as further testing may be required.
5. You Have Muscle Aches And Pains
Potassium helps build muscle, so if you’re having cramping, exhaustion and muscle pain, take note — low potassium may be to blame. While a call to your doctor should be the first place to start, long, strenuous activity is often related to a loss of potassium. Get your levels tested to find out if that may be the case for you.
6. You Have Numbness And Tingling
If you experience numbness and tingling, especially in your hands, fingers, arms, feet or legs, it could be due to low potassium levels. There are a host of other potential reasons you could experience these symptoms, though, so if this is something you experience regularly, check with your doctor to be sure.
7. You Have Heart Palpitations
Do you sometimes feel that your heart skips a beat or suddenly races? Yes, maybe you just had one too many cups of coffee, but if it’s a recurring issue, try adding more potassium into your diet — and call your doctor, of course.
Ready to eat more potassium now?
How to Add More Potassium to Your Diet
As you already know, bananas are a great place to start.
- Sweet potatoes
- Beet greens
- Soybeans (unprocessed)
- Orange juice
You’ll find potassium is in a lot of everyday foods you’re probably already consuming. So while you may not need to wildly overhaul your diet, you may just need to consume more of them!