Potassium Power: The Benefits Of Potassium-Packed Foods Explained
- What Is Potassium?
- In Which Foods Is Potassium Found?
- Banana Potassium Benefits Explained
- Spinach High-Potassium Benefits Explained
- Avocado High-Potassium Benefits Explained
- Date High-Potassium Benefits Explained
- Almond High-Potassium Benefits Explained
- Orange High-Potassium Benefits Explained
- Results After Switching To A High Potassium Diet
There are a lot of essential nutrients that get our attention. Everyone knows that we need Vitamin C. It’s needed to keep our skin and bones healthy, and help our blood flow easily and healthily. We know that calcium is needed for strong, healthy bones. But what about potassium? True, we’ve all heard of it. But do we recognize how important this humble mineral really is? Let’s explore the benefits of a high potassium diet.
What Is Potassium?
We know that potassium is good for us. After all, how many times have you heard the advice, “Eat bananas. They’re a great source of potassium!”? (Incidentally, while bananas are indeed a good source of potassium, there are other foods that have just as much of this essential nutrient – or even more!) But what really is potassium, and why do we need it?
Potassium is a mineral (and electrolyte) that is naturally found in fruits and vegetables, many of which will be discussed further on in this article. It’s vital for nerve and muscle health, and it aids your digestive system. It’s needed to support healthy kidney function, as well as helping to keep your blood pressure regular. And while calcium gets all the attention when it comes to healthy bones, your bones also require enough potassium to grow as they should. Potassium also helps keep your body hydrated.
So yes, it’s pretty important for your body’s overall functioning! Your body does not produce potassium on its own, so you’ll need to be getting this mineral through your diet. Luckily, there are many delicious foods you can eat to help you with this.
In Which Foods Is Potassium Found?
Potassium is found in many fruits, vegetables and legumes. These include avocado, acorn squash, sweet potato, dried apricots, pomegranate and white beans, among others. Watermelon, beets, swiss chard and soybeans are also excellent sources of potassium, so there’s definitely a choice for everyone.
Coconut water, as well, is rich in potassium (and delicious!). But it isn’t only found in fruit and vegetables. Wild-caught salmon, or yogurt, for example, are both excellent sources of this nutrient.
1. Banana Potassium Benefits Explained
Ah, bananas. They’re one of the easiest fruits to eat, and one of the most popular snacks for kids and adults alike. Delicious, filling, and famously known to be powerhouses of potassium.
But that’s not the only nutrient they contain. When you eat a banana, you’ll be packing in not just potassium, but also Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B Vitamins. They’re also a source of fibre (which helps your digestive system), iron, protein and folate.
A single serving of banana (126 grams, or one small banana) will give you around 450 mg of potassium. The recommended intake for most adults is around 4,700 mg of potassium every day. So don’t just eat that one banana and be done with it – you’ll need a bit more than that to get all the potassium you need! Luckily, there are other foods you’re likely to eat that can help supplement your potassium need. So no, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) eat a truckload of bananas a day. (In fact, you should ideally only eat one to two bananas per day. Remember, you want to have other foods in your diet as well!)
Bananas are great because they can be enjoyed as they are for a healthy, filling snack, or you can add them to your morning yogurt or oatmeal. They work great with most cereals, and on other foods like pancakes or waffles. Pass the syrup, please!
2. Spinach High-Potassium Benefits Explained
Perhaps Popeye was so strong because the potassium in the spinach he ate helped his bones grow healthy and strong? Spinach isn’t called a superfood for nothing, you know.
Firstly, of course, this veggie offers loads of nutrients, but you can eat your fill of it because it’s so low in calories. It can be used in your morning power smoothie, as a base for your salad for lunch, or in your lasagne or pasta dish for dinner. You’ll be getting iron, Vitamin K, magnesium and a delicious meal all in one. And of course – plenty of potassium!
One cup of raw spinach (such as you might put in your smoothie or salad) contains 167 mg of potassium, whilst one cup of the cooked stuff contains a whopping 840 mg! That’s some serious potassium-power right there.
The various health benefits of spinach are due to the presence of minerals, vitamins, pigments, and phytonutrients, including potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. pic.twitter.com/g6MrwCaQAI
— FITNESS MOTIVATION (@ULTIMATEFINESS) June 7, 2018
3. Avocado High-Potassium Benefits Explained
The whole world (including Yours Truly) has gone avocado crazy, and it’s not for no reason. Avocado is a super-healthy fat, has benefits for your skin, hair and overall health, and is incredibly versatile.
It works with almost anything – made into guacamole and served with crispy crackers, served in pasta to give it an added creaminess, chopped into salads, or added to grilled chicken wraps. But it’s not only because it’s delicious that everyone eats avocados for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They pack in folate, Vitamins C, E and K, B Vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A 100-gram serving of avocado will give you 485 mg of potassium. Luckily, this is pretty easy to achieve, as 100 grams is not even one medium-sized avocado. Want a delicious potassium-packed breakfast idea? Try slicing an avocado in half and baking eggs inside the avocado halves. Feel free to add any additional toppings or seasoning you like: chives, sliced olives, or shredded cheese all work well. You’ll also be getting the protein from the eggs, which will give your whole morning a boost. Plus, you’ll be well on your way to filling your potassium needs for the day – and the day would have only just begun!
4. Date High-Potassium Benefits Explained
Not all dates are the same, and different kinds of dates will give you different amounts of nutrients. A half-cup serving of deglet noor dates, for example, provides you with 482 mg of potassium. But if you thought that was impressive, the same amount of medjool dates gives you around 512 mg.
I love dates because not only are they delicious, they make for easy and quick snacking. Packing a few along for the car ride to work can help you work in some much-needed potassium for the day without you even realizing it.
Aside from their high potassium levels, dates are also an ideal part of a healthy lifestyle because they offer calcium, folate, iron and magnesium, as well as Vitamins A and K. Plus, they’re a good source of energy and fibre.
5. Almond High-Potassium Benefits Explained
Oh, nuts! Did you think almonds were nuts? Well actually, they aren’t nuts at all, but drupes. Still, they are pretty delicious, and make for a healthy and filling snack. You can also add them to salads or other dishes for some added crunch.
Almonds contain plenty of nutrients such as calcium, fibre, iron, magnesium, protein and Vitamin C. And yes, their potassium level is pretty impressive, too. One cup of whole raw almonds, which is approximately 143 grams, will give you around 1048 mg of potassium! Try adding chopped or whole almonds to your morning yogurt, or create your own trail mix and snack on it throughout the day to take advantage of the nutrients these little drupes have to offer.
6. Orange High-Potassium Benefits Explained
If I were to ask you, “What nutrients can be found in oranges?” chances are that the first thing you’ll say is, “Vitamin C!”. While oranges certainly have plenty of Vitamin C, they’re also packed with other goodness. This includes protein, calcium, and of course, potassium. One whole medium orange will give you 250 mg of potassium. It might not be as impressive as the others, but if you do happen to eat an orange today, keep in mind you’re getting a share of potassium, as well as that famous Vitamin C.
My Results After Switching To A High Potassium Diet
If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet and are thinking of adding more sources of this essential nutrient to your diet, then I’m here to tell you that’s a great idea. Not getting enough potassium is actually more common than you’d think. In fact, less than 2 percent of people in the US consume enough potassium each day!
A diet that is high in potassium puts you less at risk for developing stroke, kidney stones, or high blood pressure. It protects your bones and muscle, and lowers your overall mortality rate by 20 percent! It’s also very important for cardiovascular and neural health, as well as your metabolism.
Considering that the vast majority of people are not getting enough potassium, I think that it’s important we start including more of this mineral in our diets. Not a fan of any of the foods mentioned above? Not to worry, there are other foods that are high in potassium, such as mushrooms, peas, pumpkin and tuna.
It’s found in so many foods, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the ones that appeal to you and include them in your diet. Add coconut water and banana to your morning smoothie. Have a snack of tuna on whole-wheat crackers. Throw some roast pumpkin and fresh salmon into your leafy green salad for lunch. Add some cooked spinach to your lasagna for dinner. Whichever way you choose to incorporate it into your day, enjoy the feeling of knowing that you’re giving your body the best chance for a healthier you!