Ever have a killer leg or calf cramp? No doubt, you were told that you had too little potassium in your system and were told to drink lots of water. Better advice would be to eat a banana. Or both.
At risk for heart disease? Join the club of aging Baby Boomers. One of the causes often sited for this increased risk is diets high in salt and low in potassium, aka Americans and fast foods. Studies suggest that boosting your potassium intake and curbing salt and sodium can decrease your chance of stroke risk by 21% and may also lower your odds of developing heart disease. The mineral Potassium, found in many foods besides bananas protects blood vessels by keeping vessel walls from thickening.
When you think of potassium-high foods, what comes to mind? Bananas. One tummy-filling banana contains approximately 400 mg of potassium. Bananas fill you up, not out, so-to-speak, due to their healthy carbs that help boost metabolism while satiating hunger. But bananas are not the only, or even, he highest source of potassium.
Top 10 potassium-rich foods besides bananas:
- In fact, sweet potatoes top the charts with 694 mg of potassium per potato. At a puny 131 calories, they’re loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, and energizing carbohydrates. So versatile, they can be baked, fried, stewed, or mashed. Sweet potatoes are tasty and heart-healthy.
- White beans lead the pack when it comes to potassium, with half a cup delivering nearly 600 mg, but kidney and lima beans, as well as lentils and split peas, are all respectable sources. All beans are good for your heart and appear prominently on our list of the 20 best foods for fiber so it's smart to make beans a much bigger part of your diet.
- Prune juice to go? Jokes notwithstanding, prune juice delivers 530 mg potassium per 3/4 cup; half a cup of stewed prunes have nearly 400 mg. While prunes are good for regularity, consuming prunes, or dried plums, are also good for your bones. Studies show that women who ate 10 prunes a day had significantly higher bone density than women who ate dried apples.
- Eating breakfast daily is one of the best ways to boost energy and maintain a healthy, balanced, heart-healthy lifestyle. Just 3/4 of a cup of fresh orange juice delivers 355 mg of potassium. It’s also a good source of calcium, folate, and several B vitamins.
- Milk, with 382 mg per cup for the non-fat or skim version (1% and whole milk has a little less) is also a great source of potassium and super ingredient in smoothies and healthy milkshakes.
- Love cooking with tomatoes? Tomato paste and puree are even better sources of potassium than fresh tomatoes. One quarter cup of tomato paste delivers 664 mg of this vital mineral, while one half cup of puree comes in at 549 mg. Tomato juice itself has just over 400 mg.
- Carrot juice is loaded with over 500 mg potassium per 3/4 cup and an extra perk comes from carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables – rich in beta carotene – they are good for your eyes and vision.
- Go yogurt! Just eight ounces of plain non-fat yogurt contains 579 mg of potassium. Mix with granola, fruits or use it instead of mayo on sandwiches and in salads, for the additional benefit of protein and natural bacteria that can aid digestion and keep your gut healthy.
- One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses has nearly 500 mg of potassium and a respectable amount of iron and calcium and makes a great alternative to sugar.
- Meaty fish like halibut and tuna have nearly 500 mg of potassium per 3 ounce serving. Also rich in healthy fish oil (omega 3 oils), fish is a healthy alternative to meats and Harvard researchers have found that a eating fish may reduce your risk of death by heart disease by lowering your risk by 35%.
Be happy. Be healthy. Next time you're hungry, go for potassium gold!
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