Potassium: It's a superstar and an essential mineral and electrolyte. It helps to regulate blood pressure, transport nutrients and supports healthy nerve and muscle function. It's a key ingredient to maintaining adequate fluid balance in our bodies, which are approximately 60% water. According to the research, less than 2% of Americans meet the US recommendations for potassium.
Its important to note that potassium isn't produced naturally in the body so it's vital to incorporate foods (or beverages) rich in potassium into our diet. Along with sodium, potassium regulates the water balance and balance in the blood. This in turn helps to regulate blood pressure, which is most likely why potassium rich diets are so beneficial for helping to lower blood pressure. Our bodies rely on potassium for a regularly contracting heart and a healthy nervous system.
Bananas have always been publicized for their potassium, and athletes in particular seem to gravitate towards bananas as they're easy to eat on the fly when replenishing potassium stores. In addition to bananas, there are other potassium-rich foods, including: white beans (1 cup) = 829mg
butternut squash (1 cup) = 582mg
sweet potato (medium) = 541mg
spinach (1 cup) = 540mg
beets (1 cup) = 518mg
avocado (1/2) = 487mg banana (medium) = 442mg
In addition to the benefits of potassium listed above, here are a few more potential health benefits of this superstar:
May help protect against: - stroke
May help prevent kidney stones.
May help reduce water retention.
You should be able to meet the recommended daily intake for potassium (about 3,500-4,700 mg/day) through whole foods, so there is no need to use a supplement. In addition to the potassium-rich foods above, I incorporate others in my diet, including: - swiss chard
Looking for recipes that use the foods I listed here? Check out the recipes on the site.
Check out the new workout of the week on the home page: TRX Upper Body Mashup