There are lots of vital minerals your body needs to function properly and, potassium is one of the most important ones among them. In order to get enough of this mineral and electrolyte; you have to eat foods high in potassium.
You’ll find plenty of options you can put into your diet with this article from vegetables to fruits, meat, and dairy.
Besides that, you’ll also learn the benefits of potassium, the downsides of low potassium levels, potassium vs. sodium, and how potassium affects blood pressure.
The thin line between how much potassium and sodium regular people consume and the health results of it will shock you.
There will be tons of information in this article, after reading all of it; you’ll be sure to include a lot of foods high in potassium. If you don’t believe us that how essential this mineral is, then move onto the next section.
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium doesn’t get enough love. In fact, only less than 2% of the population in the USA meet the daily recommended amount of potassium. (1) Consuming more potassium during the day can have a huge impact on your health.
This underrated mineral has lots of benefits, let’s take a look at them one by one.
- It Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Will potassium actually lower your blood pressure? Yes! In fact, due to potassium, your blood vessels will improve which will add up to lowering your blood pressure.
Also, even if you like eating foods with salt; potassium can balance your sodium levels. Eating too much salty food can lead to hypertension. If your blood pressure is over 140/90 mmHG; see your doctor as soon as possible.
Adding to the negative effects of salt; too much of it can lead your kidneys to hold a lot of water. Sadly, that will strain your kidneys and arteries which will again lead to high blood pressure.
- It May Lower Your Risk of Heart Diseases
Due to potassium keeping blood pressure down, your heart will get healthier. Besides a lower chance of heart disease, it also lowers your risk for stroke.
Thankfully, potassium can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (2) So, as long as you eat enough fruits and vegetables rich in potassium; you’ll have a lower risk of facing heart diseases.
- Helps the Digestion of Carbohydrates
Potassium consumption after exercising turns the glucose in carbs into energy. If you’ve seen somebody eat a banana right after a workout; that’s why they were doing it.
- It Helps Your Nerves
We mean, literally! Potassium actually activates your nerve impulses. Due to that your muscle contractions, heartbeat, reflexes, and such; will get regulated. You’ll be more focused, balanced, and relaxed.
- Regulates Muscle and Heart Contractions
As we’ve mentioned in the previous point; potassium helps you regulate your muscle contractions on your body. If you’ve lost a significant level of potassium that can even lead to an irregular heartbeat.
To get back your energy, drink a potassium smoothie you made or simply eat a banana, after a workout.
What Happens If You Have Low Potassium Levels?
Some people are more inclined to having lower potassium levels and it’s not just because of a poor diet.
In fact, people with inflammatory bowel disease and, some people who use medication like laxatives and diuretics; may suffer from low potassium levels.
However, a poor low-carb diet can hurt your body a lot more than you think. So, why do people choose a low-carb diet? The reasoning that most have is; “carbs are bad because they make you gain fat”. We don’t know how they come up with this kind of idea.
Listen here carefully; carbs don’t make you fat.
Eating an excessive amount of “anything”; makes you fat.
Don’t get us wrong, a proper low-carb diet is okay to lose weight but most of them are rubbish…
Especially those diets which go by the name “no-carb diet”. Let’s simplify as much as possible; your body needs energy and it comes from carbs; if you don’t consume any carbs, your body won’t function properly. Period.
Most foods high in potassium are also high in carbs.
So, what happens exactly if you detrimentally lower your carb intake therefore also lowering your potassium levels?
- You’ll significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Speaking of heart diseases, due to low potassium levels your heartbeat will get irregular.
- Your blood pressure will rise.
- The bones in your body will get weaker because of depleted levels of calcium.
- You’ll increase your risk of getting kidney stones.
- If you continue down this path, you’ll experience fatigue.
- Also, glucose intolerance and muscle cramps.
- Your nervous system will face problems.
- Besides your nervous system also you’ll experience digestive problems.
- Finally, due to low energy, your brain will have a harder time functioning.
And remember; you did all these things to yourself to lose fat faster. Was it worth it?
Let the process of weight loss take some time, it’s okay.
Don’t compromise your health to lose fat as soon as possible, understanding your body and diet takes time.
Fitness is not a sprint but a marathon.
Sodium vs. Potassium
What exactly is the correlation between sodium and potassium?
In short, potassium can balance sodium levels which leads to improved bodily functions.
When you find balance; your nervous system, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and bones will become healthy.
Sodium is not the devil but an abundant amount of sodium (salt) is!
Also, if your balance tips over to the sodium side and you don’t eat enough foods high in potassium; your blood pressure will ruin your life quality.
Both electrolytes are important to balance blood and fluid levels in your body. They are basically like yin and yang; chaos and order.
Which one do you think prevails in the regular diets that mostly have fast food?
Americans consume around 3,400 mg of sodium per day because of eating processed foods and eating outside.
The Dietary Guidelines recommends the daily intake of sodium to only 2,300 mg per day; it roughly translates to one teaspoon of salt.
Remember that less than 2% of Americans meet their daily recommended amount of potassium? Chaos reigns!
Read the next paragraph absolutely laser-focused:
So, high levels of sodium and low levels of potassium lead to heart diseases. Did you know that one person dies every 36 seconds in the USA from cardiovascular diseases?
About 655,000 Americans die each year because of heart diseases; 1 in every 4 deaths happens because of heart diseases. (3)
Also, did you know that the FDA determined that foods high in potassium (At least 350 mg of potassium) are permitted to indicate on their label: “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”
They are well aware of how important foods high in potassium for your health.
Now, do you want to live a long and quality life, unlike most Americans?
Let’s continue our article to learn what should you integrate into your diet.
Foods High in Potassium
Keep in mind that, a balanced diet is better than any other buzz diet that’s been made up. Read as much as possible on foods to better understand what you put in your mouth every day.
The consequences of small missteps can be devastating in the long run. To avoid that, check the foods below and include them in your diet.
We have to start our list with bananas. You already probably associate bananas and potassium, rightfully so; each banana has more than 400 mg of potassium!
Eating one right after a grueling workout can make you energized. Besides, it’s amazing high levels of potassium; it’s also high in vitamin B6, C, and fiber.
Fibrous foods are vital for your health; they help your digestion system.
All kinds of potatoes are great sources of potassium. In fact, one medium potato has around 620 mg of potassium. Besides that, also just like bananas; potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, C, and fiber.
However, you can ruin the nutritious elements of potatoes by frying them. Instead of that, bake your potatoes.
Alright, fish is amazing. Whether it’s trout, tuna, halibut, cod, snapper, or wild salmon; they all have high levels of potassium.
3-oz servings of halibut contain around 460 mg of potassium. Also, there are lots of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fish.
Yes, regular tomatoes are also good for potassium but dried tomatoes have more potassium. 100 grams of dried tomatoes have around 1.565 mg of potassium. Make sure that the sun-dried tomatoes you get are not packed in oil.
Also, dried tomatoes are fibrous and high in vitamin C. Both your immune and digestion system will be healthy due to eating dried tomatoes as healthy little snacks.
Check the selection below:
Besides dried tomatoes; also dried fruits such as peaches, apricots, figs, and raisins are amazing sources of potassium.
You can both satiate your sugar craving and also reap the benefits of potassium. For example, 100 grams of dried apricots translates to 1,162 mg of potassium.
These dried fruits will help your digestion and restore your energy.
Dairy products such as a cup of whole milk have around 322 mg of potassium. If you choose non-fat milk, that number shoots up to 400 mg.
Also, one of the best dairy products in the world, a cup of yogurt has 573 mg of potassium.
Yogurt is rich in protein and probiotics. It would be awful not to eat yogurt during the week.
If you want to learn more about probiotic foods, check the article below:
Dark leafy greens such as spinach per cup have around 540 mg of potassium. Besides that, spinach is a rich source of vitamins such as A, B6, B9, C, E K1 and; is a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Also, being high in insoluble fiber; spinach helps your digestion system.
White Button Mushrooms
100 grams of white button mushrooms have 318 mg of potassium. You can add as much as you want into a salad or a meal to enrich your foods with potassium.
Healthy diets and avocados seem to be inseparable. If you want to reap the nutritious benefits of avocados; start integrating them into your diet.
Best known for being a healthy source of fat, avocados are also rich in potassium. Only 100 grams of an avocado has 485 mg of potassium.
100 grams of acorn squash has 347 mg of potassium in it. Thanks to being rich in dietary fiber; it will help your digestion.
Also, it’s super low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
It contains a significant amount of vitamins such as A and C. Besides potassium, it also has minerals like magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and phosphorous.
Kidney beans are rich in fiber, if you suffer from digestive problems; consuming more fiber can solve your problem. If you don’t feel comfortable eating that much but still want to solve that problem, check our article below:
So, 100 grams of kidney beans have an impressive amount of potassium; 1,406 mg! You can make a salad, a chili or even a soup with kidney beans.
We’ve listed a wide selection of 11 foods high in potassium within this article. There were fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products… So, there are no excuses not to put any potassium-rich foods into your diet.
Also, we talked about the benefits of potassium and now you are aware of how critical potassium is to your health.
Don’t make the same dietary mistakes the majority do, unlike them; find the balance between potassium and sodium in order to avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Let us know down in the comments, which potassium-rich food is your favorite?
Thank you for reading.
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