if you want more potassium, grab this instead

When I get leg cramps I tend to grab a banana, but there are more ways to get potassium than you may have realized.

Forget the sports drink after a hard work out – grab your fruits and vegetables.  They’re a much better source of the vitamins and minerals you need.

But, why is potassium important?

Potassium is a mineral that is found in most foods. It helps your body in several ways. Potassium helps to balance fluids and minerals in your body. It also helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure. Potassium helps your muscles contract and your nerves function normally.  http://www.drugs.com/cg/potassium-content-of-foods-list.html 

 There is also indication that increased fruit and potassium consumption is associated with stronger bones.  A diet rich in potassium may decrease the risk of stroke and kidney stones.   It can also help with keeping blood pressure down.

It’s recommended that an adequate intake of potassium for men and women, ages 19+ is 4,700 milligrams (mg), but with the average American diet, we’re not getting enough.  This doesn’t mean take a supplement, this means eat more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of potassium (unless your doctor has specifically told you to stay away from potassium rich foods).

Foods such as:

  • 1 cup cooked beans (more on dried beans)
    • white beans (1189 mg)woman shopping for vegetables
    • edamame (970 mg)
    • lima beans (707 mg)
  • 1 cup steamed greens
    • Swiss chard (961 mg)
    • spinach (839 mg)
    • beet greens (1300 mg)
  • 1 cup baked, cubed acorn squash (899 mg)
  • 1 medium baked potato with skin (751 mg)
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato with skin (542 mg)
  • 3 ounces of cooked halibut  (449 mg)
  • 1 medium banana (425 mg potassium)
  • 1/2 papaya (390 mg)
  • 3 ounces of baked or broiled salmon (319 mg)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (312 mg)
  • 1 medium raw tomato (290 mg)
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms (280 mg)
  • 1/4 of a medium avocado (245 mg)
  • 1 small orange (240 mg)

Various sites provided differing amounts of potassium in the foods above.  That’s okay since you’re not necessarily trying to add your potassium up to reach 4,700 milligrams exactly.  The goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Reach for these foods to get the vitamins and minerals you need to get and stay healthy & happy.  Also keep in mind, how you cook it is important.  Stay away from boiling.  Instead bake, broil, grill or lightly steam them.  Of course, some you won’t even need to cook.

Here are the sources I used for my list:

Huffington Post – Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana

Drugs.com – Potassium Content of Foods List

WebMD – Are You Getting Enough Potassium?

Get the Facts_ Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines - Sodium_Dietary_Guidelines

When you find information about potassium there is usually a link to information on sodium.  If you’re  interested in learning more about salt in your diet?  Check out the CDC’s Get the Facts –  Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines.

 

 

 

What potassium rich foods will you reach for this week?

 

Organizing Ideas for Getting Your Potassium

Make a meal plan this week around the foods listed above.

Put 5-7 of the foods listed above on your shopping list now.  If you don’t have a shopping list, start one.  You can use:

  • sticky note on your refrigerator – Your family as well as you can add to it, and you can grab it when you’re headed out the door to go shopping.
  • white board on your refrigerator –  Again you and your family can add to it, then you can take a picture of it before you head out.
  • there’s an app for that.  I use ShopShop which allows me to email or text or share with another app user.
  • if you’re using a meal planning app or program, there’s probably a shopping list feature built in.  Use it!
  • join the Paperwork Party on Saturday (May 30th) and make the time to finally create that master shopping list you’ve been meaning to.  Click here to register.
  • What do you use for a shopping list?

Pre-cut, -chop, -wash, and prepare several snacks from the foods above.  You’re more likely to reach for the healthier snack if it’s ready to eat.  If you have to fix it, it’s probably too late.