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Mackie Shilstone /East Jefferson General Hospital Fitness Expert

We have all felt the heat lately as summer has really taken over. Compound that with the lack of rain, and that means a steady dose of high temperatures. Everyone, especially children and elderly, should be very careful when outdoors to avoid dehydration. This can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening.

One of the contributing factors in the body dehydrating is the loss of potassium. In basic terms, dehydration happens when the cells in the body have a fluid imbalance. Without the necessary amounts of fluid and electrolytes, the cells cannot function properly. Potassium plays a major role in the cell since it is as an important electrolyte that effects metabolism.

That is why many sport drinks and other products promote the fact that it restores electrolytes lost during a workout. Low potassium and a lack of fluids can lead to any number of symptoms including muscle cramping, fatigue, headaches or overall weakness.

The best way to combat low potassium and dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids. Also, eating a diet high in potassium can help avoid potassium loss during workouts or outdoor activities.

The top five foods that are good sources of potassium are:

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