If you’re like me, and most people, you aren’t getting enough potassium in your diet. The average person gets about 50 percent of their recommended daily potassium, which is not a lot at all. Potassium is especially important because it regulates the heart and muscles.
If you get a lot of leg cramps, low potassium levels are the likely culprit. Worse, a severe deficiency can be fatal, causing heart arrhythmias, palpitations, and even heart failure.
Eat Bananas. Bananas are full of potassium, but not enough people eat them. If you don’t care for them every day, you can chop one up and mix it into yogurt, or make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It’ll be worth it, mainly since one banana contains 467 mg of potassium. Besides bananas, apricots, figs, a serving of mixed dried fruit, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons are also potassium-rich fruits.
Add a baked potato to your dinner. Mistakenly, people believe eating potatoes will make you fat. Very wrong. The butter and sour cream that you slather on top are what packs on the pounds. Opt for fat-free sour cream and a teaspoon of margarine, and you’ll have a low-fat side dish that’s packed with 1081 mg of potassium. Other potassium-rich dinner sides are things like almost any type of beans, cooked beets, and spinach.
Raisins are another great way to boost your potassium intake. You can mix them into cereal or yogurt in the morning, or just eat a cup for snack. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can even stick them into cookie batter. With 1089 mg of potassium per cup, no one will be able to tell you that cookies are bad for you.
Since I’ve been talking about mixing so much, let’s get to yogurt. A serving of fat-free yogurt has about 425 mg of potassium. Also, it also has calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, which can be hard to get as well. Sounds like a winner to me. Fat-free milk also has the same overall benefits as yogurt.
You can even get potassium from meats and grains. A serving of salmon has 372 mg of potassium, and a serving of veal, 442 mg of potassium. Finally, oat bran is great for potassium. You can cook it, or mix it and eat it raw and it has an average of 535 mg of potassium per serving. Other types of fish, such as cod, as well as turkey, are good sources of potassium in meats, and fortified cereals are good potassium rich grains.
So, now you know what has potassium, but how do you incorporate these potassium-rich foods into your diet? It’s a lot easier than some people think, and now you’ll see why I kept going on about mixing. Say you want a quick breakfast in the morning or a snack for work. You can take a serving of fat-free yogurt, mix in some oat bran and raisins, or a banana, or both if you love fruit, and there you go.
That’s 425mg plus 535mg plus either 1089 mg, 467 mg, or a combination. That would be a total of 2049 mg if you chose the raisins, 1427 mg if you chose the banana, or a whopping 2516 mg if you mix in both fruits. The dietary recommendations are 4700 mg a day. You’re already over half way there with one snack.
Getting enough potassium can be tedious at times, but you can find ways to mix it up. Bake a banana cream pie. Make oatmeal raisin cookies. A glass of chocolate milk, but by the mix or syrup to mix in with the fat-free or skim milk.
Treat yourself to veal parmesan, home cooked. The canned tomato sauces have a whole bunch of potassium as well. If you consciously choose three potassium-rich foods a day, you’ll most likely get the rest of it from the other foods you eat, and a bit of consciousness in return for functional muscles and a healthy heart is a small price to pay.