Potassium

Bananas

Potassium is an electrolyte – those things you lose when you sweat. It’s a really important mineral and is not only found in bananas! There isn’t a recommended daily amount (RDA) for potassium but it has many uses in the body.

  1. supports functioning of muscle and nerves
  2. helps to balance body fluids
  3. helps to prevent calcium from being lost in the urine
  4. along with sodium and magnesium, contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure

Potassium stays inside cells, where it is balanced by sodium, which stays outside cells. The correct balance of these two electrolytes ensures fluid balance in the body.

Muscle cramp can be caused by an increased loss of potassium from the body or by a low dietary intake of the mineral. That’s why people to tell you to eat a banana if you have cramp. Other good dietary sources of potassium are: tomato puree, spinach, parsnips, watercress, papaya, red peppers, peaches, fish and potatoes.

A good while ago now I spoke to some greyhound trainers about the diet of their dogs, and one told me he gave the dogs tins of chopped tomatoes after they’d raced to stop the cramp!

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