Surely when you’re told that you’re low in potassium or that you need to consume a greater amount, the first thing you think of is bananas. Well, we have great news for you: there are plenty of potassium rich foods that are more packed than bananas, so you won’t always have to eat the same thing!
Potassium is a mineral that’s present in the cells and that the body needs in order to function properly. It helps the muscles, the nervous system, and also the heart to maintain a proper cardiac rhythm.
Why is potassium so important in the diet?
Potassium has several vital functions in the body. Perhaps the most important is helping counteract the hypertensive effects of sodium, according to an article published in the journal Current Hypertension Reports. It also plays a major role in muscle recovery for athletes. That’s why many people eat bananas once they finish exercising.
Because it’s so important, you should always ingest the daily amount of potassium that your body needs. In fact, deficiency in this mineral can compromise the correct state of health.
According to the World Health Organization, the body needs about 3100 mg of potassium per day to function properly.
What happens if you’re low in this mineral?
De-compensation in potassium levels can affect the nervous system and disrupt communication with muscle cells in the digestive system, heart, and other muscles.
Most of the potassium in the body is located in the cells. Therefore, potassium deficiency or hypokalemia can have important consequences, according to this study.
Some symptoms of potassium deficiency may include the following:
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue and weakness
6 Potassium Rich Foods
1. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes provide 542 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams. Also, they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an indispensable nutrient for strengthening defenses and stimulating collagen synthesis. As if this weren’t enough, sweet potatoes also contain significant amounts of iron and magnesium.
Fish has a good concentration of potassium, but salmon stands out from the rest with about 460 mg in its content. Low in fat and rich in Omega 3, it’s ideal for lunch or dinner.
3. Green leafy vegetables
Chard is a vegetable that, for every 100 grams, offers 380 mg of potassium. That’s a little more than bananas, which provide 370 mg in the same amount of food. You can use it in a variety of preparations and easily ingest a portion of 200 grams of chard to add more of this mineral to your diet.
At the same time, spinach contains about 560 mg of potassium and is also a high source of iron and chlorophyll that keeps the immune system working properly. You can prepare it in salads, pasta, cream soups, and in many combinations with other vegetables.
This food provides 487 mg of potassium per 100 grams and is also a source of healthy fats. These qualities make it an ideal food to preserve heart health and prevent degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. So, when you have the opportunity, enjoy this fruit in your salads or prepare delicious guacamole.
White beans also contain more potassium than bananas, with 400 mg of potassium in their content. They have an excellent flavor and you can combine them with various foods. They’re ideal for lunch since you’ll be sure to get a good intake of vitamins.
Break free from the monotony of your mornings with a good bowl of yogurt, which will give you 579 mg of potassium. At the same time, eating yogurt is recommended to help digestion and prevent bad breath. That’s because it contains a large number of beneficial bacteria for the gastrointestinal tract.
Include potassium rich foods in your diet
As we can see, to reach the recommended potassium intake of 3100 mg daily, we don’t have to rely on bananas alone. Many other foods offer this mineral and in even higher concentrations!
Remember that the more varied your diet is, the less likely you are to have a deficit of a nutrient.