Potassium: Finding a balance
Like most things in life, too much or too little of anything can be dangerous. In this country, it’s very common for many of our diets to be high in sodium and low in potassium. Both of those need to be well balanced in order for you to be healthy.
So what exactly is potassium and what does it do?
Potassium is a mineral that protects blood vessel walls from thickening and oxidative damage. It plays a role with muscle movement, daily nerve function, and the kidney’s ability to filter blood. Most importantly, it helps with the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body.
Various levels of potassium can be found in all fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. A lot of foods that are processed contain no potassium. Diets low in potassium can lead to hypertension and hypokalemia, which is a condition that can cause muscle weakness, myalgia, tremors, constipation and muscle cramps. Diets that are high in potassium can reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
The USDA recommends 4,700mg of potassium per day for most healthy people. Too much potassium can be dangerous, so if possible, make sure to incorporate the following foods into your diet, as opposed to taking a supplement.
Foods high in potassium:
- Apricots (both fresh & dried)
- Coconut Water
- Meaty fish like Halibut or Tuna
- Nuts (especially Almonds & Pistachios)
- Oranges/Orange Juice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Swiss Chard
- Tomatoes/Tomato Sauce
- White Beans
- Winter Squash
At Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, we recognize the importance of having a nutritionally balanced diet. Our chef prepared meals have many of foods that are high in potassium, such as our Swiss Chard-stuffed Pork Loin with Butternut Squash puree or our Sriracha Cod served with a Parsnip Carrot mash (both of which are on our Paleo menu).