Are you suffering from leg cramps on keto? If so you may not be getting enough potassium.
With the Keto diet becoming more and more popular, many are unaware of some of the challenges that many face, keto cramps being one of the primary culprits. With a reduction of carbohydrates and considerable water weight loss, it can be pretty easy to lose body electrolytes, especially in the first days or even weeks.
Let’s find out how to get enough potassium on Keto diet programs.
Why Do Deficits Occur?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat as fuel instead of carbs (sugar). To get to the state of ketosis, you have to remove the vast majority of carbohydrates. This includes a cut in vegetables and fruits rich in carbs.
When you are starting a Ketogenic diet, there are high chances you will experience what is known as the Keto flu. It is caused by a lack of carbohydrates in your meals and by the lack or imbalance of electrolytes in your body.
Following a Ketogenic diet means that you have to increase the intake of electrolytes because your kidneys will excrete more electrolytes than what it usually does.
Potassium is usually neglected despite being an important electrolyte that is important in the contraction of our muscles. The muscles affected by this deficit include the most important one, the heart.
A deficiency can show symptoms like muscle cramps and spasms, hypertension, and headaches, just to name a few.
All About Potassium
Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in our body. Electrolytes help control and regulate different functions of our body, such as allowing cells to generate energy and function overall. They also have the purpose of moving water and fluids within our body.
What Is Hypokalemia?
An average person needs approximately 4,700 mg of potassium in a day. When you are low on potassium, you develop a condition named hypokalemia, meaning that the balance between sodium and potassium is out of order.
Signs of Low Potassium:
- Heart palpitation
- Digestive problems
A good level of potassium every day is shown to reduce the chances of having heart diseases and developing kidney stones. Also, it has been proven that it can prevent muscle atrophy.
A diet with more potassium will help your bones by letting them absorb more calcium and therefore strengthen them.
You will also need potassium for the wellbeing of your muscles that need it in order to generate tension on your muscle’s fibers. Because of that, your muscles will become stronger, and you will avoid the muscle soreness that appears during training.
What Are The Symptoms of Hyperkalemia?
It is possible to have too much potassium and develop hyperkalemia, but developing this condition just by eating potassium in foods is rare. Usually, it can appear by ingesting potassium from sources that are not food-related, or there is a medical condition involved.
People with hyperkalemia present symptoms such as weakness, nausea, a weak pulse, and a slow heartbeat.
You should keep in mind that 1 in 4 Americans have a potassium deficit. If you are new to the Keto diet, a healthy intake of potassium can prevent the Keto flu, or at least reduce the symptoms.
Keto Foods Rich In Potassium
If you are following the Keto diet, restoring your electrolytes should be a factor high on the list when you are planning your meals.
Usually, we take our needed potassium intake by eating fruits, legumes, and beans, but with this diet, we will have to remove some of the best-known foods for their high dosage of potassium.
Below you will find some recommendations and benefits of Keto-friendly food rich in potassium:
We all know that avocado is a God-send food for the Keto diet and a healthy lifestyle. It has good fats, fiber, necessary minerals and vitamins, and of course, potassium. A normal size avocado can give you between 500 to 700 mg of potassium.
Another superfood with a high amount of potassium is spinach. With only 100 grams and 25 calories, you can get up to 550 mg of potassium; in addition, you get magnesium and vitamin B12.
Let’s not forget about broccoli, which can give you 315 mg of potassium per serving of 100 g and has just 34 calories. It is also filled with fiber and vitamin C.
Beef can also help you get your daily dose of potassium with 318 mg for 100 g of steak.
Nuts are not your typical source of potassium, but in your Keto diet, they can be an excellent source. 100 grams of mixed nuts roasted with salt added can give you 632 mg of potassium.
In general, seeds are considered to be a good source of potassium. In particular, pumpkin seeds, as they can give you 919 mg of potassium for 100 grams as well as magnesium, calcium, and fatty acids.
If you want to get a good amount of potassium from fish, you can eat sardines, salmon, or any other fatty fish. In this way, you will also receive a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids. You can get between 350 to 430 mg of potassium from sardines, and for salmon, from 100 grams.
Mushrooms give texture and taste to your food and contain 318 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
The easiest way to get your potassium and also your necessary electrolytes is by taking supplements. Fast and simple, and without the need to plan your meals in detail, supplements are the easy way around.
When you are searching for your supplement, avoid ones with added sugars, fillers, and unneeded ingredients in their composition.
When on a Ketogenic diet, you should be more aware of your electrolytes, especially potassium. This is because your body will burn through them much faster than it usually does.
The good news is that you can easily replace them with a healthy and tasty variety of Keto-friendly foods. Take a look at our list above and select the foods you enjoy most. Include these in your diet to ensure you have enough potassium. If not, then keto cramps will probably be present.
Sufficient potassium intake is the key to preventing leg cramps on keto.
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