Potassium, a mineral, plays a vital role in every cell in the body. It is involved in the proper functioning of cells, tissues, and organs, including maintaining proper fluid balance, assisting in the contraction of muscles, and regulating the heart’s rhythm.
The North American diet tends to be deficient in potassium. The recommended daily amount of potassium is 4,700 mg for adults, however many individuals are not consuming even close to this amount. According to a study conducted by the CDC, less than 2% of adults achieve the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Why eat foods high in potassium?
It is important to eat foods high in potassium because potassium balances the negative effects of salt.
Since potassium and sodium have an inverse relationship, increasing potassium in the diet leads to more excretion of sodium in the urine.
Eating potassium-containing foods can therefore help counter high blood pressure and other harmful effects of high sodium diets.
How potassium protects
But that’s not the only positive health impact of potassium. In a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, increasing potassium intake by 1,600 mg per day was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke. It may also lower odds of developing heart disease and protects blood vessels from oxidative damage.
A diet high in potassium is also positively associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD), particularly in elderly women. According to this study, eating foods rich in potassium may therefore have a potential role in osteoporosis prevention.
Are you looking to meet your daily recommended intake of potassium?
Below are potassium-rich foods that can help you meet your dietary goals:
- White beans. One cup of cooked white beans contains 1000 mg of potassium and 29 percent daily value. All beans tend to be very high in potassium, including soy, lima, kidney, and pinto.
- Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are one of the highest potassium-containing foods, with one sweet potato containing about 694 mg of the mineral. This vegetable is also high in fibre and beta-carotene, making it digestion-friendly and a good source of anti-oxidants.
- Spinach. Dark leafy greens are not only high in fibre and vitamins, they are also potassium-rich foods. 1 cup of cooked spinach, for example, packs 839 mg and 24 percent daily value of potassium.
- Beet greens. The greens of beets are, surprisingly, very nutritious, containing 644 mg of potassium in half a cup. Beet greens are also a source of folate and anti-oxidants.
- Avocados. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and shed pounds. Avocados are also a fantastic source of potassium, containing 975 mg and 28 percent daily value in one average-sized avocado.
- Acorn Squash. Squash is a hearty addition to cooked meals especially in colder months. One cup of cooked squash provides 900 mg and 26 percent daily value of potassium.
- Bananas. Bananas are a potassium-rich fruit and great snack, delivering 422 mg and 12 percent daily value in one average-sized banana.
- Plain non-fat yogourt. 1 cup of plain yogourt is a great source of healthy probiotics and also provides a high dose of potassium at 579 mg.
- Herbamare Sodium-free. Herbamare sodium-free is a good source of potassium and an excellent alternative to table salt. Its blend of potassium chloride, leek, onions, bell pepper, lovage, horseradish, thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, parsley, celery, lemon, spinach, garlic, kelp adds delicious flavor to dishes, salting your food the healthy way.