While the mighty banana may be known as one of the best sources of potassium, there are plenty of other foods that beat it hands down in that very department. Potassium is a mineral that is required by the body in minute amounts to keep the nerves, heart and muscles healthy, and there are several other foods high in potassium other than bananas. High or low potassium levels can produce some serious side effects on the body. Thus, it is essential to know which other high potassium foods you can eat to maintain the balance.
Avocados amongst others are potassium rich fruits, but they are not the only source. Many every day groceries are high potassium foods.. Also, there are food items that contain “hidden potassium”. Many herbal supplements, sports drinks , electrolyte drinks contain the mineral to replenish the loss occurred during exercise. Many items don’t enlist the presence of potassium. It is very common to find potassium as an added preservative in many processed foods, so next time you are buying stuff off the shelves, take a minute off and check the label on the item for its nutritional content.
But why potassium?
High potassium foods help control blood pressure. Several mechanisms like improved kidney function, opening up of blood vessels and reducing blood clotting are linked to consumption of a potassium rich diet. Approximately, 4700 mg a day is the amount required each day. A deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps and dizziness and even loss of the heart’s normal beating pattern!
A good example of how potassium rich food helps in BP control are the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) trials conducted on participants that showed significantly low blood pressure levels when kept on a balance diet of fruits and vegetables containing a significant amount of potassium.
Potassium levels help to reduce the risk of kidney stones, as they help neutralize the acidity in the blood stream, and preventing calcium deposition. However , a patient of kidney disorders needs to restrict his potassium intake else the kidneys wont be able to do their job optimally.
How to not lose the potassium in foods?
Preservation of potassium in vegetables is an important factor in maintaining the content of the nutrient at the time of consuming. For example , when spinach is boiled for too long, it loses more than half of its potassium content, so it must be only slightly boiled or blanched.
If you are going on a potassium restricted diet, always consult with your doctor before beginning. When one is choosing which food to eat , make sure you are looking at the portion size, else you could be consuming too much or too little of potassium in your diet. A reference table for the high and low potassium content is given below.
|Low-potassium foods||Medium-potassium foods||High-potassium foods||Very high-potassium foods|
|less than 100 mg.||101-200 mg.||201-300 mg.||over 300 mg.|
Now that you know why you need all that potassium and how you can preserve it in the foods you eat, here is a list of common foods with high potassium levels.