by Isabelle Huang
Potassium is an important mineral that helps our bodies have the energy we need to go about our daily lives. However, for most Americans, we consume more of its adverse counterpart, sodium, causing an ion imbalance for our cells’ sodium-potassium pump, the ever important transport channel that helps us produce energy and maintain fluid balance.
You may have heard that consuming too much sodium can result in high blood pressure and heart disease, and that’s because when we consume a lot of sodium, the amount of water in our body also increases to counteract the mineral build up. However, if we incorporate enough potassium into our diet, the balance is restored. So what can you do to keep your body functioning smoothly?
While it’s not beneficial to get rid of sodium altogether, it is important for people to make sure they are meeting their potassium requirements by eating more fruits and vegetables, two potassium-rich food sources.
Here are just a few examples of foods that have a high or moderate amount of natural potassium:
- One cup of Plain Yogurt: 531 mg Potassium
- One cup of Blackberries: 233 mg Potassium
- Half a cup of Sweet Potatoes: 475 mg Potassium
- One cup of cooked Spinach: 839 mg Potassium
- One cup of cooked White Beans: 1,004 mg Potassium
- One cup of Lowfat Milk: 366 mg Potassium
Additional sources of potassium include: citrus fruits, nuts, kale, salmon, and of course, bananas!
If you’re ever unsure of whether or not you have enough potassium in your life, take a look at your diet and see what foods you can substitute for mineral-rich products, or reduce your sodium intake. While fresh foods pack the most vitamins and minerals, check out the nutritional labeling for packaged, frozen, or canned products to see how they rank, and help your body get the nutrients it needs!
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