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Over the years you may have been told to consume more potassium for your blood pressure, kidneys or metabolism. You may have also heard how it is an essential mineral for total body health and fitness but are wondering how to get the recommended daily dose of potassium through nutrient-rich foods.
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium is required for the function of several organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues. It is the third most abundant mineral in human body and is a powerful element in improving health (3). In particular:
- It helps your nerves and muscles work as they should. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate.
- It is an essential nutrient for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
- Potassium is known to improve brain function, cramps, muscle function, blood pressure, metabolism, anxiety, and blood sugar regulation (1), (2), (3).
A diet deficient in potassium may lead to symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Inactive reflexes
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Severe headaches (3), (4).
10 foods that are rich in potassium
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Sweet potato: A medium baked sweet potato has 542 mg (12% DV) of potassium. These tubers are also rich in vitamin A and fibre making it an excellent choice of complex carbohydrate. Toss a few sweet potatoes in the oven and bake at 400 until soft so you will have an easy side to reheat during the week. You can also make sweet potato fries by chopping into the potato into sticks and baking at 400 for 35-45 minutes.
Spinach: Add 1 cup of spinach to your next stir-fry or egg scramble or salad dish and you’ll get a 540 mg (11% DV) of potassium.
Black Beans: Black beans are another great potassium source. Just one cup provides you with 739 mg (16% DV) of the mineral. Black beans are excellent to through on top of a salad, in a soup, or if you really want to get creative, use them to make fudgy brownies.
White Potato: A single medium baked potato has 941 mg (20% DV) of potassium. Let your potato cool before you eat it and you’ll get a dose of gut-friendly resistant starch to nourish the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
Canned wild caught salmon: A 5 oz can of wild caught salmon has 487 mg (10% DV) of potassium. This makes a healthy, convenient way to get in your Omega 3s, EPA, DHA, and minerals as easy as popping the top and mixing with avocado.
Avocado: Speaking of avocado, it happens to be one of the highest potassium rich foods with 1,067 milligrams (30 percent DV). Avocados are a true health promoting food and can be paired with just about any meal. It can even be turned into a healthy chocolate pudding or ice cream!
Beet greens: If you’ve ever bought fresh beets and tossed the greens in the garbage, you missed out on some power nutrients. Slightly cooked beet greens pack a whopping 644 mg (19% DV) of potassium per half cup. Antioxidant-packed beets are also a great source of folate. Simply steam or lightly sauteed in coconut oil, sea salt and pepper for a delightful side to any meal.
Banana: Banana may be the most well-known potassium rich food with 1 large one containing 487 milligrams (14 percent DV). Bananas make the perfect pre or post workout boost. Simply throw a frozen banana in with 1 cup coconut milk, a handful of greens, and a quality protein powder and you have yourself a nourishing recovery shake.
Coconut Water: Coconut water is not only a fantastic source of potassium (1 cup: 600 milligrams (17 percent DV), it also contains numerous other minerals and electrolytes that replenish the body and hydrate the cells. Fresh coconut water is best, but if you purchase from a store make sure it has no added sugar or ingredients.
Begin to incorporate at least 2 potassium rich foods in your diet per day to ensure you have adequate levels of this power mineral.
- L. Hodgkin, P. Horowicz. “Potassium Contractures In Single Muscle Fibres”. PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2017. Web. 9 June 2017.
- Does Potassium Supplementation Lower Blood Pressure? A Meta-… : Journal Of Hypertension”. LWW. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 June 2017.
- “Potassium”. University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 June 2017.
- “Potassium Salts Aid Bone Health, Limit Osteoporosis Risk, New Research Finds”. ScienceDaily. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 June 2017.
- Publications, Harvard. “Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure – Harvard Health”. Harvard Health. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 June 2017.
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