5 Things Every Diabetic Needs to Know About Potassium
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes and uses glucose (sugar). Proper nutrition is a crux of managing diabetes, and potassium is a key nutrient that can have numerous benefits for people with this condition. Mineral balancing is a forgotten art in the game of restoring health.
Potassium is the sodium antidote no one knows about. Chances are you or someone you know has been told by their doctor to limit their sodium intake for fear of cardiovascular complications. Ands its partially true: too much sodium will raise your blood pressure. But what they don't tell you is that increasing your potassium intake will negate that effect of sodium. Remember, your body needs balance.
Here are five ways that potassium can help diabetics to stay healthy:
Regulates blood pressure: Potassium plays a role in regulating blood pressure by balancing the effects of sodium in the body. High sodium levels can increase blood pressure, while adequate potassium intake can help to lower it. This is especially important for diabetics, as high blood pressure is a common complication of diabetes and can increase the risk of serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Helps to control blood sugar levels: Potassium can also help to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It does this by helping the body to use glucose more efficiently, which can help to reduce the risk of high or low blood sugar levels.
Reduces the risk of kidney damage: Diabetics are at increased risk of kidney damage, and high potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia) can further increase this risk. However, low potassium levels (hypokalemia) can also be harmful, as they can lead to muscle weakness, cramping, and other problems. Maintaining an adequate potassium intake can help to prevent both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia and protect the kidneys.
Supports bone health: Potassium is essential for bone health, and low potassium levels have been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis. Adequate potassium intake can help to maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of fractures.
May reduce the risk of heart disease: Some studies have suggested that high potassium intake may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Potassium can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, which are common complications of diabetes.
An important consideration that diabetics should be careful about with their potassium intake: high levels of potassium can be harmful for those with kidney problems. If you're experiencing kidney issues, consult with a professional to create a plan to establish a healthy balance.
There are many delicious and healthy sources of potassium, including bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and leafy green vegetables, so it's easy to get enough of this important nutrient. You can also supplement potassium.
Personally, I use the NoSalt salt alternative in addition to regular fruit and vegetables. I use it alongside regular sea salt in cooking and grilling. It should be available at your local grocery store or online (see here).