While the name Potassium may sound like a very dangerous chemical to many people who are unfamiliar with it, it is, in fact, a substance which is of great health benefit. Potassium occurs naturally in a whole range of foods, such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes and broccoli, as well as orange juice and potatoes. It is also found in many commercially available soft drinks.
Potassium helps the body to perform many useful functions, helping to keep the blood pressure low and working to prevent heart disease. It also helps to regulate the levels of sugar in the bloodstream. The mineral also plays a part in keeping the brain functioning in the correct way, reducing the risk of suffering a stroke in the process. Some research has also suggested that potassium may be effective as a way of keeping kidney stones at bay too.
Potassium is used in a large variety of soft drinks, and is used as a 'buffering agent' to reduce acidity. This acidity can make drinks taste tart, so potassium is used less often in those sodas and soft drinks which have a very high sugar content. In those drinks, the sweetness from the sugar itself serves to keep the bitterness at bay. Many people do not have high enough levels of potassium, generally, so consuming soft drinks which contain is rarely harmful.
While potassium, generally speaking, is therefore very good for most people to have in their diet, sufferers of certain conditions should make sure that they keep levels to a sensible level. People with kidney conditions need to be careful how much of the chemical they ingest, as the kidneys are the organs which remove potassium from the bloodstream. Some medication can also react badly to high levels of potassium in the body, so if in doubt always speak to a properly qualified medical professional.