For the beer enthusiast, there’s nothing more comforting to come home to at the end of a hard days’ work or more refreshing to mark the start of a long night out than a draught of foamy, cask-conditioned goodness. Whether you favour a thick, heavy stout, a dry, crisp pilsner or a richly flavoured real ale the wide world of beer offers an enjoyable tipple for just about any taste. Of course, any beer lover knows the importance of moderation when it comes to any alcoholic beverage. We all understand the value of drinking responsibly not just for the good of our health and our social environment but for the good of our waistline. Beer, like any alcoholic beverage, can facilitate weight gain and is very high in carbohydrates. But health enthusiasts may wonder just how high beer is in potassium.
If you’re unfamiliar with this mineral, we’ll briefly explain why our bodies need potassium, the dangers of potassium consumption in large quantities and just how safe beer’s potassium content is….
Why we need potassium
Beer is one of the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world and while nobody would ever market it as an energy drink, it does contain some vital nutrients including a range of carbohydrates (owing to the cereal crops used in its brewing), essential B vitamins, and of course potassium.
Potassium, like any other nutrient, can be both beneficial and damaging to our bodies depending on the quantities in which we consume it. We need potassium to handle some seriously important functions within the body. Potassium is an electrolyte which is essential in the communication of brain signals to the muscles. It facilitates the contraction of our muscles including that most important of muscles the heart. Potassium is essential in keeping our hearts pumping and our blood pressure regulated.
The dangers of too much potassium
Usually, our body does a pretty good job of monitoring our potassium levels, with our kidneys filtering out excess potassium in our urine. However, an excess of potassium can lead to serious health problems including heart arrhythmia and palpitations. So, how much is too much, and is your favourite tipple an appropriate source of potassium?
How much potassium does beer contain?
An average can of beer contains around 96mg of potassium. To put that into context, while potassium has no Recommended Daily Allowance a healthy potassium intake is thought to be between 3,500mg and 4,700mg per day.
So… It’s safe?
As you can see, while beer has a good amount of potassium, it would be hard to recommend it as a potassium supplement. When consumed responsibly it’s absolutely safe. When consumed in moderation beer can help to maintain healthy heart function and even increase HDL or “good” cholesterol. You’d need to consume around 50 cans of beer a day to consume an unhealthy amount of potassium… But if that were your daily intake, your potassium levels would be the least of your worries.
So, there you have it. Beer drinkers can sip their favourite foamy beverages safe in the knowledge that their potassium levels are healthy!
*We are NOT health experts and if you want a professional opinion please speak to a doctor!*
“The only book you need to understand the world’s most popular beverage. I swear on a stack of these, it’s a thumping good read.”––John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook
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