Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nutritional value of beets - Part 9: Potassium

Beet greens

Beet greens - raw: Potassium

Measure: 38g (1 cup)
Calories: 8

Potassium is an electrolyte. This mineral functions together with sodium and chloride. These mineral salts are called electrolytes because, when dissolved in water, they conduct electricity. This is essential to the healthy function of our heart, nerve cells, kidneys, adrenal glands, and our muscles in general, as well as to maintaining balanced body fluids.

Electrolytes function in +- pairs. That is, potassium(+) is joined to chloride (-) and sodium(+) is linked with chloride(-). 

In the resting state, potassium chloride is normally inside cells and sodium chloride is normally outside cells. However, when a nerve or muscle is activated, potassium chloride exits cells and sodium chloride enters cells. This is called the potassium-sodium pump. When there is a potassium deficiency, muscles and nerves fail to function because the potassium-sodium exchange is impaired or prevented.

Potassium deficiency is also indicated by heart disturbance, irritability, weakness, and mental confusion. The healthy rebalancing of potassium to sodium is best effected by eating whole foods rich in potassium, foods such as beet leaves, tomatoes and avocado. 

See the following posts for more information on the health benefits of beets:

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