Most people are aware that high-potassium foods are good for them – they’re just not always sure why! The truth is, though, that this nutrient truly is vital for proper functioning of the body. It is necessary for the health of your nervous system, helps the body to eliminate waste for efficiently, and it vital for muscular health and performance. It also acts as a sort of antidote to sodium in the diet and can lower the blood pressure and thus reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke. Conversely, low or inadequate potassium levels can cause a number of health problems such as depression, muscle weakness, fatigue and cardiac problems. Below are five foods that are potassium-rich to keep your levels of this nutrient in a healthy range.
Potatoes are necessarily the first thing you think of when potassium comes to mind, but whether it is a red, white or yellow potato, these root vegetables are a very rich source of calcium, bringing in around 900mg per one medium potato. Many people shy away from potatoes since they are a high glycemic index food, but this can be mitigated somewhat if the fiber-rich peels are left on and they also bring in a wealth of other nutrients like Vitamin C and B6 as well as iron and fiber.
You can get potassium from fresh tomatoes but will receive it in even higher amounts when those tomatoes are sun-dried or processed into products like soups, pastes and pasta or pizza sauces as well. Such products can tally up to around 40% of the RDA, or around 1,800 mg of potassium for just a one-cup serving. You will also be getting a hefty dose of nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber and protein.
Again, most people don’t think of beans as being a great source for potassium, but kidney beans will give you around 600mg of it in a mere one-cup serving. They of course will also give you fiber and are a great source of plant-based protein, making them very important for vegetarians and vegans. Other beans are also potassium-rich, including lima, soybeans, white beans and pinto beans.
Dried fruits – especially things like figs, apricots or dates – make a wonderfully healthy snack and help to satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. Dried apricots are particularly potassium-rich, clocking in around 1,500mg per one-cup serving, but others like figs or even raisins or dried peaches will keep your potassium levels high as well. They are also incredibly high in fiber.
Bananas seem to be the food that everyone associates with potassium, and with good reason – while they are not as potassium-rich as potatoes, for instance, a single banana will give you around 400mg of potassium as well as dietary fiber and Vitamins B6 and C. They are also wonderful as a high-energy snack and can enhance athletic performance.
So if you are concerned that your potassium levels might not be adequate, try increasing one or more of the foods listed above into your diet. They will all help ensure that your dietary intake of this important nutrient is more than adequate.
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