The standard American diet contains way too much salt and sugar, and it causes a severe dent on our health. We create an imbalance in our bodies because of too much sodium and less of potassium rich foods. This imbalance in nutrition can List of Potassium Rich Foods For Optimal Health lead to chronic health conditions such as heart disease and so on. If you delve into the lives of stay-well people who never get sick, you will know that they slash their intake of sodium and sugar, and cater to the nutritional requirements of the body. When it comes to potassium, the first thing that comes to our mind is bananas, but you can do so much better than just gorge on bananas to cater to your potassium needs.
Your daily need of potassium stands at 4700 mg and banana fulfills just 9% of your daily requirement of potassium, which isn’t too significant. So, how do we replenish our potassium requirement? By including the right foods of course! But before all that, let’s find out why potassium is important for our bodies.
Health Benefits of Potassium Rich Foods
The importance of potassium cannot be undermined as it is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and can be considered a powerful mineral to boost your health. It supports your health and is regarded as the crux of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some more reasons to take stock of your dietary plan and why you should include more of potassium into your diet.
- Slashes the risk of strokes-Potassium helps the brain function optimally. High levels of potassium ensure that more oxygen reaches the brain, thereby boosting the neural activity of the brain and also the cognitive function. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, the blood vessels relax throughout the body, and it lessens the chances of causing blood clots and blood vessels breaking, which cause strokes.
- Avoids sudden drop of blood sugar- Decrease of potassium levels can also affect your insulin levels, causing them to dip suddenly. So diabetics need potassium to stop blood sugar fluctuations in the body.
- Fixes muscle problems- Optimal relaxation and contraction of muscles is enabled with potassium. The potassium ions of the body are located in the muscle cells of the human body. Potassium activates neural connectivity and maintains the functioning of muscles and nerves.
- Maintains bone health- What is the most important mineral required for retaining the strength of bones? Calcium, right? Wrong! Because it is not enough to increase the intake of calcium, it is also important in proper assimilation of calcium. Potassium helps in the absorbtion of calcium. So, it is true that having vegetables with high amounts of potassium can help increase bone mineral density.
- Muscle cramps- Athletes experience muscle cramps quite often, which is actually a result of a sudden dip in potassium levels. This condition is known as hypokalemia and can be easily be fixed by having foods full of potassium, such as bananas.
- Helps in metabolism- Potassium enables proper metabolic processing of a number of nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates. Potassium helps extract the energy from the nutrients that are consumed. Not only that, it also aids the functioning of various other metabolic activities like synthesis of proteins, which in turn helps tissue regeneration and cell growth.
- Protects the health of your kidneys-Potassium also ensures that your kidneys function optimally, enabling the waste to be eliminated easily from the body.
But you have to ensure that you consume the right amount of potassium and not overdo it, as too much of potassium can increase the absorption of more calcium, which results in calcification and hinders the functioning of kidneys.
So, the right dosage is extremely important, and for that, you need to consult your doctor.
- Enables muscular strength-High-potassium foods can also help in the proper growth of muscle tissues and proper utilization of the energy released during metabolism.
- Electrolytes-Potassium also maintains the fluid balance of the body, which takes care of several critical functions of the body.
- Aids in the optimal functioning of the nervous system- Foods high in potassium help in proper cell communication in the body. This helps in muscle contraction, which in turn helps us complete our daily tasks without feeling an iota of tiredness.
A Comprehensive List of High Potassium Foods
Too much potassium as we have already discussed, is harmful to health, so try and cater to your body’s potassium needs by including these potassium-rich foods. Since the only food we consider high in potassium is a banana, it is time we broadened our horizons and included some foods with potassium into our diet. Here are some foods which you must absolutely include in your diet.
1.Sweet Potato- You may find it a little hard to believe, but sweet potato can nudge bananas aside, as it has one of the richest sources of potassium.
It has 694 mg of potassium, and what’s even more appealing is, it contains much fewer calories. In fact, it contains as little as 131 calories and the benefits don’t stop there, it is a source of good carbs too, along with containing significant amounts of beta carotene and fiber. It is also the closest you get to potato chips; baked sweet potato is all sorts of deliciousness. You can mash, fry or braise to your heart’s content, it is one of the more nutritious foods on the planet.
2. Beet greens- If you have been adding beets to your smoothies and forgetting all about the beet greens, it is time you mended your ways. One cup of it packs in a neat 644 mg of potassium and it is also a significant source of folate, which is why beet greens deserve a spot on your dining table.
3. White beans- All beans are a rich source of fiber. But when it comes to potassium, white beans take the With 600 mg in the kitty, it clearly one of the top ranking foods in the potassium rich foods list. If you think you have had enough of white beans; lentils and red kidney beans are the other substitutes you could definitely try.
4. Tomato Sauce or sun-dried tomatoes- Tomatoes do contain some amount of potassium, but not a much as the sauce. Sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste, contain a whopping 1800 mg of potassium. They are rich in fiber, protein and vitamin C, as long as you are having them without the additives or preservatives.
It is a pretty healthy condiment and can serve as a topping for your Saturday night pizza too. But of course, it does not stop there. It can be a healthy addition to salads and sandwiches too!
5. Dry fruits – namely apricots, figs, and peaches- Dry fruits are not only a healthy way to get rid of your sugar craving but are full of potassium, our main man today! Apricots contain 1500 mg of the said mineral, and if you aren’t too fond of apricots, you can try dried peaches or raisins or dried figs.
6. Avocado- Avocado is one of the top superfoods nowadays, ruling the nutritional charts. It contains a stellar 975 mg in one avocado, it also contains tons of other vitamins and minerals and good fats, which are beneficial for the heart.
Avocados are a delicious option to add to any food you want, and it could become your staple, and is versatile enough to be put into everything from your morning smoothies to your bread as a spread.
7. Prunes- Prunes are another great source of potassium and packs in almost 530 mg in ¾ cup. They are one dried fruit which can also keep your bones healthy. Some studies have revealed that women who ate prunes regularly had lesser chances of being affected by osteoporosis later in their lives. A nutrient packed dry fruit, prunes are a food you simply cannot ignore when you are meal prepping for the week.
8. Fish – If you love fish, then there is good news! Fish are a great source of potassium. Since it gives about 10% of your recommended intake, this is a delicious way of adding potassium to your daily diet. Salmon, tuna , halibut, they are all nutritional powerhouses and a 3-ounce of salmon contains about 500 mg of potassium.
Fish are also a competent source of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acid source, all the more reason to eat it! But keep it healthy by cooking it in very healthy oil. Better still, use a healthy oil and avoid frying.
9. Milk- Though it is fruits and vegetables that contain the most amount of potassium, milk is not too far A cup of whole milk contains about 300 mg of potassium and a cup of non fat milk contains 400 mg of potassium.
So basically, the higher the content of fat, the lower the content of potassium. Yogurt also contains a neat 300- 500 mg of potassium , depending on the variety. This is why yogurt is a must include into your diet. The only thing to be aware of, stay away from the sugary ones. Otherwise, yogurt is packed with calcium and protein and is a good source of probiotics, which ensures a healthy and happy gut.
10. Bananas- Bananas are not any less than the super foods in this list. It’s very satiating, as it contains a good amount of resistant starch which keeps down your hunger pangs with ease.
Just one medium sized fruit can pack in 400 mg of potassium, and it is also a great metabolism booster. So, those who are watching their diet and avoiding bananas, do not make the dietary mistake, as bananas are great for your health and can help you lose weight too.
11. Orange juice- Those who are breaking their fast with orange juice in the morning would be greatly pleased to know that freshly squeezed orange juice, say about 3/4th cup contains about 355 mg of potassium. Orange juice is also full of folate, calcium and several B vitamins.
12. Dark leafy greens – Just goes to show that you cannot ignore the dark leafy greens; they are not called nutritional powerhouses for nothing.
They are super rich in potassium, and the ideal veggies to get your share of potassium. Some of the best sources of potassium include dark spinach, which contains as much as 800 mg of potassium per cup; bok choy is another leafy green, not to be left behind in the potassium content as it contains around 600 mg per cup when boiled, bok choy is followed by Swiss chard, which has a whopping 1,000 mg per cooked cup.
Dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and a disease fighter in the real sense of the word. Ensure you pack in some amount of leafy greens every day and reap in maximum benefits.
Potassium Foods- An Integral Part of your Nutrition Plan
So, get your share of potassium every day. Ensure you get it from foods rich in potassium unless your doctor asks you to consider supplementation to tackle any specific health condition. There are delicious ways of preparing these wholesome foods and make them part of your daily dietary plan.
A word of caution before you go, like any good thing, too much of potassium isn’t healthy as it can lead to heart problems, breathing trouble, nausea, tingling in the hands and feet, heart arrhythmia and so on. So moderation is the key here. Potassium is a miraculous mineral full of health benefits , so go ahead, increase your intake of foods rich in potassium and enjoy its super healthy impact on your health. Potassium chloride is one of the main varieties of this mineral, and it works in tandem with sodium to perform a large number of important body tasks.
A healthy body requires balanced nutrition, and potassium is an integral part of the whole. Keep your heart, kidney, muscle tissue and brain working optimally by including generous amount of potassium in your diet.