If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a banana a day may keep the leg cramps away. When people hear the word potassium, they often think immediately of bananas. While the yellow fruit may be a decent source of the essential nutrient, it doesn't pack the most punch. Why, you may ask, do we need a good dose of potassium? In addition to the mineral potentially helping to reduce hypertension, it can also help with bone growth and muscle cramping. So all you long distance runners or those with fragile bones should check out these five foods that are chock full of the good stuff.
When you go to the doctor and the nurse shakes her head at your high blood pressure (also called hypertension), you may not be able to blame it on your salt bagel cravings or your old Aunt Thelma. New research shows it could be caused by your lack of potassium. Of the over 3,000 women who were tested, the ones with high blood pressure had low levels of potassium in their urine. It turns out these women were also older, heavier, and more likely to be African-American, so those factors play a part too.
While there's an emphasis on losing weight and decreasing sodium intake to help lower blood pressure, this study also proves that there should be an increase in dietary potassium. If you suffer from hypertension, it looks like you better start eating more bananas, avocado, and sweet potatoes.
Bananas are great sources of potassium, but eating one of these yellow fruits won't be enough to supply your body with the recommended daily intake (RDI) of this important mineral. Every day, you need to make sure to get 4,200 mg of potassium for digestion, to maintain healthy blood pressure, to carry out muscle contractions, and also for proper nerve, kidney, and heart functions. Since potassium is found in so many nutritious foods, you shouldn't have any problems getting your RDI. If you're not sure you're hitting the mark, I made a chart of what I ate yesterday to consume my daily potassium. To see it, read more
Potatoes, reviled during the low-carb days of yore, are once again showing up on many American plates.
Labor Day means potato salad, and potato salad means boiling potatoes. I just read in the Berkeley Wellness Letter that you should boil your potatoes unpeeled and whole, which is easy to do if you buy the small red-skinned variety. Potatoes are a great source of potassium, especially the skin, which is why you should always eat the skin. But when cut for boiling, potatoes lose 50 percent of this valuable mineral as it leaches out into the water.
Save the potassium — boil your potatoes whole.
I'm sure when you hear the word potassium, you automatically think of bananas. While it's true that they're great sources of this valuable mineral, many other foods contain potassium too.
Before I get into that you should know how much you need everyday and why you need it. The RDI of potassium is 4,200 mg. Potassium is necessary for maintaining blood pressure, proper nerve, kidney, and heart functions, muscle contractions, and also digestion. Not getting enough could cause muscle cramps.
I know there are many people out there who go out of their way to avoid eating mushrooms. They feel they are not missing anything, nutritionally speaking, by picking out the edible fungus from their meals. Things couldn't be farther from the truth, so I thought I should clear up some misconceptions concerning mushrooms.
Not only are mushrooms a low calorie food, containing only 18 calories per cup, but they are also 90 percent water. Most importantly, all varieties of 'shrooms contain large amounts of an antioxidant called L-ergothioneine, which is only found in fungi. This is a powerful antioxidant that fortunately is not destroyed when mushrooms are cooked.
A variety of animal studies have also found that compounds found in mushrooms may bolster the immune system as well as work to prevent both breast and prostate cancers. Mushrooms are also high in the mineral potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. In fact, five white button mushrooms have as much potassium as an orange.
So where do you fall in the mushroom debate. Do you love them or hate them? Tell me how you feel about fungi in the comments section below.
I crave greens, no matter the season. When it is cold outside, I often choose a cooked green over salads. I just want to eat warm food. One of my favorites greens to cook is Swiss chard, and it comes in colors too. The leaves are green, but the stems and veins can be white, yellow or red. The red is my favorite since the color combination is quite dramatic.
Not only is it tasty, and similar to spinach and beet greens, but chard is also loaded with nutrients. It is a great source of vitamin K and vitamin A. One cup of cooked chard contains half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and 3.5 grams of fiber. It also provides 30 percent of your RDI for magnesium and 25 percent of the valuable mineral potassium.
Are you convinced yet? This is a super food. Don't know what to do to the chard? Just rip the leaves from the stems. Chop up the stems and sauté the leaves and stems with olive oil and garlic. Or you could try out this recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken, Chard and Peppers. It is truly delish!
Are you a fan of Swiss chard? Tell me your favorite way to prepare it in the comments section below.
I don't know about you, but when I think of potassium, I think of bananas. That's all that really comes to mind.
Do you know what it does for our bodies or how much we're supposed to get? Can you get too much potassium? Take this quiz to find out.