High Potassium Foods - What They Are & Why You Should Eat Them
Why Eat Potassium-Rich Foods?
Potassium is a mineral key to the efficient working of the human body. It is vital to neuron function in your brain and nerves, aiding in your body's communication with itself. It is also necessary for muscle contraction, and in balancing electrolytes and avoiding dehydration. For these reasons, it's especially important for athletes and those with active lifestyles, but even the average couch potato can benefit from a diet high in potassium.
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine recommended an intake of 4000 milligrams of potassium per day, but the average American eats less than half of that on a daily basis. A low-protein diet can result in muscle weakness, slowed digestion, and weaker reflexes. While severe protein deficiency is rare, it is very serious when it happens, manifesting in labored breathing and irregular heartbeat.
Most people would benefit from an increased intake of potassium, but there are exceptions. Since the kidneys control the excretion of potassium, people suffering from kidney diseases must observe a low-postassium diet for health reasons. For these individuals, potassium buildup in the blood of these individuals can prove fatal.
Foods High in Potassium
- Sweet potato
- Winter squash
- Brussel sprouts
- Lima beans
- Pinto beans
- Dark-meat poultry
- Sunflower seeds
Note that different forms of these foods can be good sources of potassium as well: for example, orange juice, soy milk, and peanut butter. Of course, you want to eat the leanest, least-processed version of each high-potassium food that you can.
In the end, however, it's more important that you get your potassium than how you get it. And it's important that you get it from food, rather than supplements, which do not absorb as well as potassium from food sources does. For the sake of your heart health, for the sake of your muscles and cells and neurons, up your potassium. Your body will thank you.