Are you aware of how important it is to get enough potassium to be vibrantly healthy? Time to learn about what it is and does in your body.
What is potassium?
It is an essential mineral found in every cell in the body. It has a strong relationship with sodium, calcium, and magnesium. It is important to have a balance between all of these minerals for good health. It is the third most abundant mineral in the body.
What Does Getting Enough Potassium Do For You?
As an electrolyte in your body, it regulates the proper function of every cell in your body. It is often referred to as the wonder mineral and when you read the list below you can see why!
Potassium helps your body:
- keep your heartbeat regular
- makes sure your muscles work right
- aids rheumatic or arthritic conditions by causing acids to leave the joints thus ease stiffness
- maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body
- transmit nerve impulses
- regulate your fluid and electrolyte balance keeping you hydrated
- maintain healthy, strong bones
- with blood pressure maintenance
- regulate the transfer of nutrients into cells
- eliminate wastes
- control convulsions, headaches, and migraines
- in the healing of cuts, bruises, and injuries faster
- promote balanced pH levels
- decrease bone loss associated with aging
- reduce kidney stone risk
- increases energy
Keeping the right amount of it in your body is a balancing act done by the work of healthy kidneys. If the kidneys are not healthy, there will be a need to limit high potassium foods that can increase the potassium in your blood to a dangerous level.
Deficiency in Potassium Symptoms:
- muscle spasms and fatigue, leg cramps, and ‘restless leg syndrome”
- hypertension (increased blood pressure)
- can cause kidney stones
- in the most severe cases, heart attacks
What Causes Potassium Deficiency?
- people eating mostly processed foods
- consuming excessive quantities of licorice
- severe vomiting or diarrhea
- anorexics or bulimics
- excessive salt intake
- people taking diuretics
- those with a magnesium deficiency
- certain medications (diuretics, laxatives, cortisone, aspirin, cardiac drugs, steroids)
Rare: Too Much
Although having a ratio of potassium too high is rare but it is possible. It is usually due to other medical conditions such as diabetic kidney disease and Hypokalemia which is the inability of the kidneys to filter out excess potassium from the body. The consequences can be fatal. If it becomes too high one may feel some weakness, numbness, and tingling and can cause an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack. Again, this is rare.
If this is your condition, limit foods that are high in potassium. Here is a List of Food Very Low in Potassium.
Caution: If you think you have a medical problem, consult your physician. There is a simple blood test to detect low or high levels of potassium.
Most people eat way too much salt, sugar, and fats–which are the only food substances that are no-potassium foods. These are table salt, sugar, pancake syrups, hard candies, cornstarch, baking powder, shortening, and salad oils (peanut, olive, sesame, sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean and canola). So, if your diet is full of these, then you may be deficient.
Recommended Amounts of Potassium
- “For women 14-18 years of age, the AI is 2,300 mg daily; for women 19+, 2,600 mg. For pregnant and lactating women, the AI ranges from 2,500-2,900 depending on age.
- For men 14-18 years of age, the AI is 3,000 mg; for men 19+, 3,400 mg.” ~ Harvard
Fortunately, most real foods contain potassium so being deficient does not have to be a problem.
My thoughts are that unless you do have a serious medical condition as talked about above, this need not be a problem if you eat a wide variety of whole foods, not the stuff out of packages. This real food video and article explain real foods.
Top 5 High Potassium Foods
Out of that whole list of foods, these 5 are what I would consider the healthiest choices. You can easily consume lots of them; none of them are fattening!
To help you and make it easy I have made a list of the Highest Potassium Foods with two categories:
- 20 Highest Potassium Foods
- 34 Second Highest Potassium Foods
Recipes that are High in Potassium:
Power Spinach Salad: You just HAVE TO know how to make a good spinach salad. This one is great and the spinach will give you a potassium boost.
Immune Booster Fruit Salad – Lots of high potassium kiwi fruit in this yummy fruit salad. All of the fruits in this salad are immune-boosting and the almonds are good for you too and they are alkalizing.
Bean Vegetable Stew – This recipe is full of three very high potassium foods. It is just one of the ways this stew is good for you. My white bean vegetable stew is a delicious, healthy vegan protein meal filled with vegetables. This stew is high in potassium for those of you who need a boost in that area. Also, half a cup of white beans is loaded with close to 100 mg of calcium.
Baked Squash with Vegetables – This meal with high potassium squash and potatoes is so so tasty.
Orange and Spinach Salad with Pecans is Delicious and Healthy – This orange spinach salad is a sneaky way to get that superfood into your diet. Also, all the ingredients are very healthy. It is very easy to make and very tasty; everyone I have served it to always enjoys it very much.
Creamy Swiss Chard Soup with Almonds is Delicious – This delicious Swiss chard soup is hearty with the addition of potatoes and is very nutritious too. I love that it is so creamy without the addition of cow’s milk so that it is creamy and vegan. The crunchy almonds on top add an extra tastiness.
Tasty Vegan Sandwich with Avocado, Cucumber, and Pumpkin Seeds – This vegan sandwich is great for a quick simple lunch or snack, some even like having it for breakfast. The avocado adds creaminess, the cucumber is juicy and the pumpkin seeds add a salty crunch. It is so tasty and I like how easy it is to make. YUM.
Miso Soup With Spinach & Mushrooms – We have come to think of Japanese food as being tempura, teriyaki, and sushi but it is miso soup that the Japanese will not want to live without. Originally, miso soup was actually served as a breakfast food.
Spring White Bean and Asparagus Stew -I created and tried this White Bean Asparagus Stew recipe out for the first time on two dinner guests. That was rather brave! They were good friends, and you never know how some people react to beans. Sometimes people get gas unless they take the proper steps. I had taken all the precautions though, and they loved it!