Without adequate potassium in your diet, your body cannot preserve the health of your blood, heart, muscles, nerves, skin or kidneys.
Potassium is one of the essential minerals that helps to regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. It relaxes muscle contractions and converts glucose into fuel that can be stored for later use by our body. It also reduces swelling, and protects the kidneys while controlling their functions, which includes regulating blood pressure.
While most people think of potatoes or bananas as being good sources of potassium (which they are), other good sources include: dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, apricots, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, whole grains, and most vegetables.
What are the Symptoms of a Potassium Deficiency?
There are many symptoms of a potassium deficiency. You’ll notice that many of the symptoms overlap with other health conditions so you should see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms to rule out other health issues.
- Dry skin
- Extreme thirst
- Fluid retention, especially in the hands or ankles
- Heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, or excessively slow or rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Irritability or feeling easily agitated
- Muscle weakness
- Painful or abnormally stiff muscles after exercising
Content of Some High Potassium Foods
Here are some of the best dietary potassium sources and the amount of potassium each food contains. Most adults need 4700 mg of potassium, which is fairly easy to get in a healthy, well-rounded diet, yet the average man gets only 3200 mg and the average woman gets only 2400 mg daily. Here are some of the excellent sources of potassium along with the amount each one typically contains.
- Almonds (1 ounce or approximately 24 nuts) 200 mg
- Banana (1 medium) 422 mg
- Beet greens (1 cup boiled and drained) 1309 mg
- Beets (1 cup boiled and drained) 518 mg
- Blackberries (1 cup, raw) 233 mg
- Broccoli (1 cup boiled and drained) 457 mg
- Brussels sprouts (1 cup boiled & drained) 495 mg
- Cantaloupe (1 cup, raw) 427 mg
- Carrots (1 cup, raw) 352 mg
- Grapefruit (1 pink, raw) 332 mg
- Lentils (1 cup cooked) 731 mg
- Orange (1 raw) 237 mg
- Parsnip (1 cup boiled and drained) 573 mg
- Potato (1 white, baked) 1081 mg
- Pumpkin (1 cup, canned and pureed) 505 mg
- Strawberries (1 cup, raw) 254 mg
- Sweet potato (1 medium, baked in skin) 694 mg
- Tomato (1 medium, raw) 292 mg
Published: April 16, 2015. By Michelle Schoffro Cook
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