Beyond Bananas: High Potassium Foods
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Kim in Health & Healing, Life, Nutrition & Diet, Tips & Tricks

Need potassium? How about some beet greens?

I recently had a conversation with my brother about an unfortunate leg cramping incident he experienced while completing the physical agility test for the fire fighter position he is applying for. One factor he blamed was a lack of potassium, since he forgot his banana at home that morning.  Bummer! BANANA FAIL. 

I understood the dilemma caused by a missing banana. In fact, I've been having wild banana cravings (highly unusual for me), which I attribute to my body telling me I have a potassium deficiency from all these antibiotics I've been taking. Since I'm just a wee bit allergic to bananas and am also sensitive to sugar, I can't eat a whole load of them. So, I've been researching other high potassium foods, and have been alarmed to discover that there are loads of foods that pack a mean potassium punch!  I've been hitting the potassium pretty hard the last few weeks, and feel less banana-cravy now.

After his hearing his tale and falling back on my experience,I replied with the following: "Dude, there are lots of foods higher in potassium than bananas."  Then I insisted on sending him a potassium-packed care package, which will be going in the mail tomorrow. 

Know-it-all big sisters like me must be such a pain in the a**. 

Why Potassium Rocks

Potassium is important.  According to The World's Healthiest Foods, potassium helps your muscles and nerves do their job, and can help lower your risk of high blood pressure. Potassium and sodium work hand-in-hand to regulate proper electrolyte and acid-base levels, which is key in maintaining proper heart health. Potassium deficiency can occur with long-term antibiotic use (like with long-term treatment for Lyme Disease or other chronic infections).  Individuals that take part in intense exercise regimens require a lot of potassium, as do many individuals that suffer from chronic diarrhea, heart problems, fatigue, muscle weakness, or require the frequent use of diuretics. Additionally, if you feel confused, irritable, or spacey, you may just need a shot of potassium!  One more cool fact: eating ample quantities of potassium allows for better absorption and retention of calcium.  

Thankfully, those who need to increase their potassium can find adequate potassium in certain foods; in most cases, additional dietary supplements are not needed. 

High Potassium Foods

Here is a list of foods that contain a high amount of potassium. Measurement of potassium in milligrams and the quantity of food is listed. 

Daily Recommended Potassium (K): 3,500-4,700 mg  Too much: 18,000 mg

Other foods that are very good and good sources of potassium include romaine lettuce, celery, fennel, mustard greens, tomatoes, turnip greens, collard greens, summer squash, eggplant, green beans, kale, carrots, turmeric, asparagus, papaya, bell peppers, ginger root, strawberries, onions, watermelon, cabbage, prunes, raspberries, scallops, and grapes.  

parsnips and broccoli pack a potassium punch!

Easy Ways to Pack in the Potassium

 my Second Summer Soup with Pistou is loaded with Potassium

spinach and dandelion greens with pinenuts is full of the good stuff. 

Potassium-Packed Recipes

Here is a selection of a few of my highest-potassium recipes that are easy to make and totally delicious. 

I also have some awesome potassium-packed recipes in my recently published A Year to Eat Freely: 2011 Allergy-Friendly Recipe Calendar. TAsty dishes like Sweet Potato Felafel, No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie, Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Seed Brittle, Second Summer Soup with Pistou, and more!  Did I mention the No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie?  Just look at all this mouth-watering potassium...

 

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie is a delicious way to load up on potassium. And you can only get the recipe from my recipe calendar!

 

 

 

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