When people set out to start eating a healthier diet, one of their goals is typically to eat more nutritious foods in order to get all the recommended vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.
Potassium is an important mineral that helps us stay hydrated and healthy. It is especially important for those who live an active lifestyle and struggle with muscle soreness or dehydration as a result. This article will take you through the best potassium-rich foods to integrate into your diet!
The main benefit associated with potassium is that it helps with hydration.
Potassium is often talked about as being an “electrolyte.” Potassium helps your cells to maintain their fluid levels on the inside, and sodium is a complementary electrolyte that helps to maintain fluid levels outside of cells. Sports drinks like Gatorade rely on a combination of potassium and salt to help you stay hydrated.
While potassium’s most notable feature is that it regulates your fluid levels, it can also help with a variety of other issues: muscle contractions, nerve signals, and reducing blood pressure. The best way to get enough potassium is to consume potassium-rich foods.
Here are the top foods to add to your diet today to get more potassium.
When most people think of potassium, bananas are usually the first food to come to mind, and for a good reason. Bananas are a great, affordable source of potassium. A medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium on average, which equates to around 9% of your recommended daily value.
When people tell you to eat a banana to treat muscle soreness, it is because of the hydrating quality that potassium has. Dehydration can cause aches and pains because it causes your muscles and cartilage to become stiff. Consuming potassium can help you retain water more effectively and therefore rehydrate your stiff muscles, helping to vanquish that after-workout soreness.
Even though bananas are the first fruit that comes to most people’s minds when talking about potassium, it definitely is not the only option.
If you aren’t a fan of bananas or just want to switch things up, consider reaching for an avocado next time you need an extra dose of this helpful mineral.
Just half of an avocado contains 7% of your recommended potassium intake, meaning a whole avocado will give you 15%.
Avocados can be an excellent option for athletes because, in addition to containing a high level of potassium, it also boasts a lot of healthy fat, which is important, especially for people who are burning large amounts of calories each day.
Sweet potatoes pack an even more powerful punch than avocados and bananas when it comes to the density of potassium.
A single cup of sweet potatoes will give you 16% of your daily recommended potassium intake. Sweet potatoes are a great option for those who want something with a high level of potassium but a low level of fat.
Spinach is one of those quintessential health foods that stands the test of time.
Take the cartoon “Popeye,” for example, where the main character would down a can of spinach in order to get super strength. Ever since this cartoon aired in 1933, it has cemented the idea of spinach as a nutrient-dense food. And potassium is one of the minerals featured in this classic superfood.
Just 90 grams of raw spinach will meet about 11% of your recommended daily intake of potassium.
Watermelon is a great way to get hydrated and works as a low-calorie snack while also packing some potassium into your diet. Eating two wedges of watermelon meets almost 14% of your daily potassium needs.
Watermelon has the added benefit of containing protein and fiber, along with other essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C.
This shouldn’t be too surprising, considering we were just talking about sweet potatoes. Butternut squash is another great source of potassium, providing 12% of your recommended daily intake with just one cup!
When looking at all the options for integrating potassium into your diet, you might wonder if there is too much of a good thing. This is an excellent question to ask yourself because even beneficial minerals and vitamins can become dangerous in high doses. Nutritionists and doctors emphasize that the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is through a balanced diet, not supplements.
For most people, there isn’t really a need to worry about consuming too much potassium, especially if you are getting it all naturally through your diet. Your kidney will filter out excessive potassium for you. However, for those with advanced kidney diseases or who take certain medications, too much potassium is something you might want to look out for.