Potassium is an essential mineral for our body.
And there a number of foods high in potassium that could help you get your daily required value of potassium.
But, before moving further, let us tell you what will we get in this article about potassium? Here we would know:
What is potassium?
Why do we need it?
How does this help our body work normally?
What if we have either low or high level of potassium?
What foods are high in potassium?
And those 20 potassium rich foods that will give this mineral enough to our body.
So, let start now:
What is potassium and why do we need it?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, potassium is a mineral that plays important role in the human body.(1)
It contributes to the proper functioning of the cells, tissues, and the organs in our body.
This mineral is very significant to the human heart and is vital in the smooth muscle and skeletal contraction, which is important for proper muscle as well as digestive function.
It’s also an electrolyte, a substance that will conduct electricity in the human body, along with other minerals, such as magnesium, sodium, chloride, and calcium.(2)
A lot of people don’t have the proper knowledge on what this mineral is. Many of us no longer pay attention to what the body needs in order to function properly. This is why we witness more and more illnesses each day. This is the sad reality. It’s time that we start learning how to take care of bodies properly.
How much potassium do we need ?
The daily required amounts of potassium change as we grow. Here are daily required values of potassium for infants to adults including lactating women.(3)
0-6 months: 400 mg/day
7-12 months: 700 mg/day
1-3 years: 3000 mg/day
4-8 years: 3800 mg/day
9-13 years: 4500 mg/day
13+ years: 4700 mg/day
Lactating women: 5100 mg/day
But, the latest report on nutrient intake of the US population says that potassium is under-consumed mineral and people should eat more foods rich in potassium to meet their daily requirements of potassium.(4)
What is the normal level of potassium in our blood?
The normal potassium level in blood should be 3.5-5 milliequivalents per liter.
However, this range may slightly vary from lab to lab. Therefore, please consult your testing lab for normal levels of potassium.
What if you have low levels of potassium?
When the bloodstream has low levels of potassium, it will result to hypokalemia.
There are many causes of low levels of potassium in the blood stream: Low magnesium levels, diarrhea, kidney disease, diuretics, folic acid deficiency etc.(5)
The symptoms of low potassium levels may include one or more of the following at the same time:(6)
- Irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
- Tingling or numbness
- Muscle cramps
- Fainting due to low blood pressure
- Abdominal bloating
These symptoms may be due to other health conditions, and therefore it is advised to consult to a health care provider.
What if your potassium level is high?
When the potassium level in the blood stream is more than 5 milliequivalents per liter, this is called hyperkalemia.
Anyone who is diagnosed with hyperkalemia may experience following symptoms. It should be noted that hyperkalemia is a life threatening condition and should be attended by a healthcare professional immediately.(7)(8)(9)
- Arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythm
- Muscle fatigue
- Frequent weakness
There are several causes of hyperkalemia including: severe infection, water pills (potassium – sparing diuretics) such as amiloride or spironolactone, poor functioning of the kidneys, and heart medications called ACE or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and ARBs or angiotensin 2 receptor blockers.(10)(11)(12)(13)
The benefits of potassium: Science backed studies
1. Potassium helps to control elevated blood pressure levels
According to the American Heart Association, eating foods high in potassium is a healthy way to keeping your blood pressure levels under control. The good thing is potassium reduces harmful effects of sodium that elevate blood pressure.(14)
Another study which was conducted by the St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, also confirms that potassium is helpful in lowering blood pressure levels in hypertensive people.(15)
But, the potassium intake should be monitored and it should be within the allowed daily intake. Also, people with kidney diseases should consult with a doctor before taking foods high in potassium for lowering their blood pressure levels.(16)
2. Potassium is good for heart health
According to a published study in the JACC, potassium promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risk of stroke and developing cardiovascular diseases.(17)
3. The beneficial effects of the mineral potassium also include,
- Slowing down the progression of renal disease
- Diabetes control
- Controlling the exertion of urinary calcium
- Reduces risk of osteoporosis (18)
It can make a huge difference if you are aware of what can help your body to function well and what can disrupt it.
Potassium plays a vital role in your body, and can be lethal at the same time if you don’t know how to balance it.
It will make a huge difference if you pay attention to what your body needs. Following a healthy diet is a great way of preventing your body from suffering an illness.
How to get potassium in your diet
There are many types of foods that contain potassium.
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to get this mineral.You might have heard that banana is a great source of potassium, but there are many foods that have even more potassium than bananas.
Here is a list of 20 foods high in potassium:
The daily values are for each 100 grams of serving.
1. Dry roasted pistachio nuts, (1042 mg or 30 % DV)
Pistachio nuts are not only loaded with potassium, but also they have calcium, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B6, Tocopherol, as well as vitamin K in good amounts.
2. Fenugreek seeds, (770 mg or 22%)
With a good amount of potassium, fenugreek seeds also add protein, iron as well dietary fiber to our diet.
3. Roasted peanuts, (726 mg or 21 % DV)
Along with a good taste and good potassium level. Roasted peanuts are high in protein, niacin, vitamin E, folate as well as pantothenic Acid.
4. Dark chocolate, (715 mg or 20%)
With its delicious taste and high potassium values, they are also a good source of iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin K.
5. Almonds, (705 mg or 20 % DV)
Along with a good source of potassium, they are also rich in protein, vitamin E, riboflavin, calcium, iron as well as in zinc.
There are so much to do with almonds. You can enjoy almonds’ milk, tea as well as enjoy them in snacks.
6. Raw spinach, (558 mg or 16%)
The other nutrients along with potassium are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate as well as calcium and iron.
7. Baked potato without salt, (535 mg or 15%)
A baked potato with 100 grams of serving has good amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and iron.
8. Raw avocado, (485 mg or 16%)
Avocados are highly nutritious. This is the reason they are also called as earth’s superfoods. A 100 grams of serving has 7 grams of fiber, 81 mcg of folate, 21 mcg of vitamin K, 10 mg of vitamin C.
9. Raw guava, (417 mg or 12% DV)
With good amounts of fiber, they also add up vitamin C, folate, copper as well as vitamin A to a healthy diet.
10. Walnuts: 100 grams, 441 mg(13% DV)
Add up high values of protein, thiamine, folate, vitamin B6 as well as calcium and iron to your diet with only 100 grams of walnuts.
11. Mutton cooked, (409 mg or 12% DV)
A 100 grams serving of cooked or roasted mutton provides 33.4 grams of protein (67% DV), 18% riboflavin, 33% niacin, 19% vitamin B6, 72 % vitamin B12, and 26% iron.
12. Salmon, fish, cooked, (384 mg or 11% DV)
Along with good numbers of potassium in 100 grams of serving, it has thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid to add to your diet.
13. Raw Banana, (358 mg or 10% DV)
You may not like the taste of a raw banana, but it is highly nutritious. With 10% DV of potassium, it has good values of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber.
14. Cooked rutabagas, (326 mg or 9%)
With 326 mg of potassium for every 100 grams of serving , it also adds up 31% of DV of vitamin C to our diet.
15. Raw beets, (325 mg or 9%)
With 9% DV of potassium, raw beets are also a good source of folate, manganese, fiber and vitamin C.
16. Raw white mushrooms, (318 mg or 9%)
When it comes to nutritions, the raw white mushrooms can’t be ignored. With a good amount of potassium, they also have vitamin C, D, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and copper.
17. Raw broccoli, (316 mg or 9%)
Raw broccoli has a little every nutrition our body needs for proper functioning. The surprising thing is that only a 100 gram serving of it has more than 100% DV of vitamin C.
18. Raw cauliflower, ( 303 mg or 9%)
Raw cauliflower is also a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and folate.
19. Raw carrots, (320 mg 0r 9%)
With their delicious taste, they also fill up with dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and manganese.
20. Raw pumpkin, (340 mg or 10%)
Raw pumpkins like raw carrots are a good source of vitamin A along with other body essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and potassium.
Potassium is highly important for a healthy body.
It is a matter of concern when its values go up or go down the required amounts.
But, the good thing is that you can easily get a good amount of potassium in your diet if you eat more fruits and vegetables.
And these 20 high potassium foods will help you in getting this important mineral in your diet.
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