Did you know that an estimated 98 percent of Americans do not get the recommended amount of potassium in their diet?
Why does your body need potassium? Your body needs potassium to maintain an adequate balance of electrolytes. Potassium is important because it helps your body maintain the hydration it needs. Your body needs many minerals, and potassium is one of the most essential. Some of your most important organs, kidney, heart and brain, rely on potassium to work properly.
If your potassium levels get seriously low, there are symptoms to look for. Some of these symptoms of low potassium include headaches, heart palpitations, dehydration and swelling.
What can cause your potassium levels to be low? Low potassium can be caused by a combination of factors. Sweating from intense exercise can cause potassium levels to fall. Dehydration from illnesses like diarrhea or vomiting can also cause your potassium levels to be low. If you are taking any form of diuretic, this can also result in low potassium levels.
Try adding more of these 12 foods to your diet to keep your potassium levels in check. Keep in mind that the recommended daily dose of potassium through food is a whopping 4,700 milligrams. Which explains why so many people do not get enough of it.
But wait! Why not just take a potassium supplement?
There are a few reasons why it is better to get potassium from foods. First, potassium can cause stomach pain and nausea and even heart palpitations if you take too much of it in pill form at once. In fact, each potassium supplement pill only contains 99 mg, or just 3 percent of the recommended daily allowance by law, to prevent overdose from taking too much at once.
So rather than trying to take a fist full of pills and time them over an entire day to avoid taking too many at the same time, try adding some of these potassium rich foods to your diet instead. When you get potassium from food, there is no risk of overdose and no upper limit — other than your appetite.
Avocado – 1067 in one whole avocado. Avocados are one of the best sources of healthy fats, and they contain fiber too. Avocados are can be used to make creamy salad dressing or even in a smoothy. They are much more than just guacamole.
White beans – 1004 milligrams in one cup. White beans are also high in magnesium (another essential mineral), folate and fiber. Here is a delicious simple way to cook them. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/tuscan-white-beans-recipe
Bananas – 806 milligrams in one banana. Bananas are an easy fruit to like, but the downside is that they contain a fair amount of sugar (14 grams each). They are a great way to restore potassium after an intense workout.
Dark leafy greens – 839 milligrams in one cup of cooked spinach. If you aren’t crazy about spinach an easy way to get more in your diet is to try adding them to a chocolate smoothy, you can’t taste the spinach at all.
Acorn squash – 896 milligrams in one cup. Acorn squash also contains carotenoids, a powerful antioxidant. A simple way to cook acorn squash is to cut it into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Dried apricots – 576 milligrams in a half cup. These are an easy choice if you want to keep a bag and grab a quick snack with no preparation required.
Sweet potato – 855 milligrams in one large sweet potato. These are also delicious when you slice, drizzle with olive oil and roast.
Wild caught salmon– 434 milligrams in 3 ounces.
Pomegranate – 667 milligrams in one whole pomegranate. Watch this video for a helpful trick to getting all of the fruit out of a pomegranate quickly:
Mushrooms – 428 milligrams in one cup. If you are trying to watch calories mushrooms offer the biggest bang for the buck for potassium. An easy way to cook them is just to toss them in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Yogurt – 625 milligrams in one cup of plain yogurt.
Potato with skin – 535 milligrams in one medium potato.
Read more about how keeping your potassium to sodium ratio in check can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack.