Nutrition Month: Are You Pumped Up
- March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education observance sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
- According to the ADA, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a diet that's rich in potassium.
- Most people who eat a healthy diet should get enough potassium naturally. However, many Americans do not eat a healthy diet, choosing processed foods over whole foods.
National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education observance sponsored annually
by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). This observance can help us to
recognize the importance of assessing our diets to make sure we are getting the
proper nutrition every day — including our potassium intake.
is a mineral that is very important for the proper function of all nerves and
muscles in the body,” says Patti Sacchetti, R.D., M.B.A., manager of Clinical
Nutrition at Taylor Hospital. “It’s a crucial part of the function of the heart
and plays an important role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.”
to the ADA, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a diet
that is rich in potassium, a mineral that blunts the effect of salt on blood
pressure and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and possibly
bone loss as we get older.
recommended intake of potassium for adolescents and adults is 4,700 mg/day. The
recommended intake for children 1 to 3 years of age is 3,000 mg/day; 4 to 8
years, 3,800 mg/day; and 9 to 13 years, 4,500 mg/day.
people who eat a healthy diet should get enough potassium naturally. However,
many Americans do not eat a healthy diet, choosing processed foods over whole
foods. Because of this, the average U.S. intake of potassium is lower than it
deficiencies are common in people who:
health conditions that affect their digestive system
a lot because of sports or a physically demanding job
an eating disorder
abuse alcohol and drugs
certain medications, like diuretics and certain birth control pills
a stomach bug that includes diarrhea and vomiting.
should be eating foods that are rich in potassium, especially those who are at
an increased risk of a deficiency,” says Andrea McHugh, M.A., R.D., L.D.N.,
assistant director of Nutrition Services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
“Oranges, bananas, avocados and fish are great sources for daily potassium
consumption. Sports drinks, like Gatorade, contain potassium as well as other
key electrolytes that help replete the body’s stores during significant loss
due to excessive sweating, diarrhea or vomiting.”
foods that are loaded with potassium include leafy green vegetables, citrus
fruits, fruits from vines, and root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.
symptoms of a potassium deficiency can include muscle weakness (especially in
the legs), a lack of sensation in the legs, leg cramps, irregular heart beats,
a loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, and large volumes of urine,” says
Phyllis Carpoletti, M.A., R.D., C.N.S.C., L.D.N., clinical nutrition specialist
at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “In extreme cases of potassium
deficiencies, cardiac arrest can occur.”
potassium deficiencies, your healthcare provider must first identify the
source of the deficiency,” says Denise Jeffery, R.D., L.D.N., clinical
dietician at Springfield Hospital. “Your physician may recommend that you take
a potassium supplement to help restore healthy potassium levels. In severe
cases, intravenous injections of potassium may be given. In most cases, people
can just make sure to eat foods that are rich in potassium to replenish their
important to know that too much potassium can be harmful as well. To ensure
that you are consuming a sufficient amount of potassium, visit your healthcare
provider for a simple blood test to have your levels checked.
information about nutrition services at Crozer-Keystone Health System, call