Potassium deficiency is very rare in healthy people. In general, it mainly affects older people who take medicines that lead to an increased need for potassium. But if you have a gastrointestinal virus, you excrete too much of the mineral, which can lead to a short-term deficiency. Athletes should also make sure they get enough potassium because they often sweat it out. This can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue.
Impaired kidney function, diabetes and dehydrating drugs can cause a deficiency.
Serious dietary deficiencies
High alcohol consumption, eating disorders, long fasts and diets have a negative effect on our potassium balance. Another question that is frequently asked is: Does caffeine deplete potassium? And it is true that an excessive consumption of caffeine does affect the potassium levels in your body.
Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, dry skin with a tendency to acne, wound healing disorders, muscle cramps, irregular pulse, constipation and an elevated heart rate are all symptoms of potassium deficiency. Other symptoms of low potassium can be hair loss, eye twitching and dark circles under the eye, possibly indicating a kidney deficiency.
But beware of jumping to conclusions: these complaints can also indicate other diseases or deficiencies. If you are experiencing such symptoms, it’s best to seek medical advice and possibly have a full blood count done to determine if there is indeed a potassium deficiency or if something else is the root cause.
Coffee and Potassium
Studies show that too much caffeine is bad for the body's potassium balance. However, it depends considerably on which caffeinated beverage you drink because many other beverages besides coffee contain large amounts of caffeine. If you drink two liters of Coke a day, you definitely exceed the maximum dose of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. Furthermore, Coke also contains a lot of unhealthy sugar, which is not the case with black coffee.
The Potassium Content of Coffee and Its Effects on the Body
Minerals like potassium and magnesium are essential to life because they perform important functions in the body. We want to inform you about these functions, the potassium content of coffee and the effects of coffee on the potassium levels in the body.
For Which Bodily Functions Do We Require Potassium?
It’s an essential mineral that often does not receive the same attention as calcium or zinc. Yet, it has several vital functions:
Regulating the Acid-Base Balance
Potassium regulates the acid-base balance by influencing the excretion of acids via the kidneys, and ensuring a healthy pH value.
It is a critical mineral for people with high blood pressure because it controls blood pressure and can thus restore balance.
Nerve and Muscle Cells
Nerve and muscle cells communicate via electrical impulses and work together optimally in this way. Along with sodium, potassium ensures that this communication works ideally. When you consider that even the heart is a muscle, it becomes clear that this exchange is absolutely essential for heart activity.
As an electrolyte, potassium regulates the water balance of our body.
Cell Growth and Protection of the Blood Vessels
The mineral influences cell growth and protects the blood vessels by relaxing them so that the blood can flow with less pressure.
We need potassium for various metabolic processes, like the utilization of carbohydrates and for protein formation.
How Does the Body Absorb Potassium?
Like almost all other minerals, our body cannot produce potassium itself, so we are dependent on our diet for the intake. However, it is found in many foods, and it is generally fairly easy to meet the requirements.
We need around 4-5 grams of potassium a day, which is achievable with a healthy diet because we get most of it from drinks, fruit, vegetables, bread, and dairy products. Bananas, for example, contain a lot of potassium. In this case, more is definitely more because any excess is simply excreted.
Several studies claim that a significantly higher intake is beneficial to prevent chronic diseases such as kidney stones, high blood pressure, or strokes.
Which Foods Have a High Potassium Content?
If you want to be on the safe side and get a good supply of potassium, you should look for foods that are rich in this mineral.
Here is a food chart listing high-potassium foods:
You can print out this handy chart and hang it in your kitchen to help you plan your meals.
Please beware of a high-salt diet, which includes a lot of convenience food: Your body excretes more potassium after consumption of such meals! It is important to prepare your food freshly and to eat enough fresh vegetables.
Even with regard to dietary supplements such as effervescent tablets or capsules, caution is advised: although they are readily available in drugstores or supermarkets, they should only be taken with medical advice to ensure that you don't overdose. s not the case with coffee.
How Does Coffee Affect the Potassium Level of the Body?
Scientists found that drinking less than six cups of coffee a day does not have a significant effect on blood potassium levels. But it is certainly important to make sure you get enough potassium in your diet if you drink large amounts of coffee.
On the other hand, the potassium content of coffee is quite high! Four percent of the coffee bean is made up of minerals that pass into the coffee when it is brewed, the majority of which is potassium. In fact, the potassium content of an 8 oz. cup of black coffee is around 116 mg and the potassium content of decaf coffee is 216 mg; a win/win situation, as there is no caffeine to act as a diuretic.
So, it’s quite clear that, enjoyed in moderation, coffee is actually a good source of potassium!
How Can I Lower Excessively High Potassium Levels?
When potassium levels are too high, a healthy body normally just excretes the excess. Nevertheless, some medications can affect blood potassium levels, and it may be advisable to have blood levels checked regularly. Usually, the diet needs to be adjusted to ensure that the level drops again.
For example, you can remove potassium from food by boiling it in a lot of water for a long time or by soaking vegetables and fruit in water after cutting them into small pieces. If you have kidney damage or a metabolic disease, you may need a low-potassium diet. It’s advisable to consult a specially trained nutritionist or doctor in this case.
How Can I Preserve Potassium When Cooking?
Because the mineral is water-soluble, it is quickly absorbed into the boiling water. If you want to get as much potassium as possible, you should steam the vegetables in a small amount of water and not chop them too small. But if you use the boiling water to make a vegetable soup, you can make the best use of the minerals in your vegetables.
Which Drinks Contain a Lot of Potassium?
Nettle tea, fruit and vegetable juices, and of course coffee have a high potassium content. If you like milk, cow's milk contains considerably more of this mineral than soy milk, which is a popular alternative, but contains about 80% less potassium.
The Bottom Line
Potassium is a mineral that does not receive as much attention as calcium or magnesium, but is at least as important! Caffeinated drinks like coffee or Coke cause the body to excrete more potassium. But due to the high potassium content of coffee, when drunk in moderation, our favorite brew can be a great source of this vital mineral.
If your diet is good, you don't have to give up coffee. On the contrary! Studies suggest that, thanks to the high potassium content of coffee, drinking 3 to 4 cups a day actually contributes to a balanced diet.
If your aim is a healthy and balanced diet, you should also keep an eye on the origin of your coffee. With our sustainable, direct trade coffee, which is organically grown and roasted in the country of origin, you don’t only ensure that your coffee is unpolluted, you can also enjoy it with a clear conscience.
Order a Coffee Annan sample pack and experience it for yourself!