Potassium is a mineral, which helps nerves and muscles communicate. Potassium is also an electrolyte, which means it helps to conduct electrical charges and control blood levels in the body. If potassium levels get too high or too low, the heart and nervous system completely shut down. A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure.
Potassium also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. A diet high in potassium can also result in good kidney health and a reduction in kidney stone risk. However, if you have kidney disease or kidney function issues you need to watch your levels of potassium.
Some of the effects of low potassium include muscle weakness, cramping and fatigue. A long-term potassium deficiency can increase the risk of kidney failure in the long term. A diet high in potassium can avoid complications such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, bone demineralisation or kidney stones.
- For Men the RDI is 3800mg/day
- For Women the RDI is 2800mg/day (3200mg/day when breastfeeding)
Tips for increasing Potassium
- In a healthy diet, dietary Potassium should outweight dietary sodium. As a general rule of thumb, cheeses, breads, canned soups, and fast foods would be foods with much more sodium than potassium. Fruits, vegetables, and non-cheese dairy products should all contain more potassium than sodium.
- Stick to fresh and whole foods for higher potassium, as pre packaged foods contain more sodium.
- Cooking vegetables can lead to loss of some or much of their potassium content. The key to preserving potassium content of food during cooking is to minimize duration of contact of that food with cooking water. For instance, boiling spinach for a second minute increases the loss of potassium to up to 72% of its initial content. Steam lightly where possible instead and eat vegetables as raw as possible.
- Potassium requirements can be affected by climate and physical activity, the use of diuretics, and the intake of other electrolytes, notably sodium.
- Fluid loss can lead to problematic loss of potassium. People undergoing heavy physical training or who work outdoors on a hot day can run into this problem. Consume extra fluids and ensure you are achieving your daily targets of potassium
- Low potassium levels are common in people suffering from acute or chronic diarrhoea. People with ongoing gastrointestinal illness may need to be careful to maintain normal potassium levels.
- Use of certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can also increase risk of potassium deficiency.
High Potassium Foods
|Beet Greens||1 cup||1308.96|
|Swiss Chard||1 cup||960.75|
|Lima Beans||1 cup||955.04|
|Sweet Potato||1 cup||950|
|Pinto Beans||1 cup||745.56|
|Kidney Beans||1 cup||716.85|
|Dried Peas||1 cup||709.52|
|Bok Choy||1 cup||630.7|
|Brussels Sprouts||1 cup||494.52|
|Winter Squash||1 cup||494.05|
|Green Peas||1 cup||373.3|
|Summer Squash||1 cup||345.6|
|Mushrooms, Crimini||1 cup||322.56|
|Turnip Greens||1 cup||292.32|
|Mustard Greens||1 cup||226.8|
|Collard Greens||1 cup||222.3|