You may be surprised to learn that everything you do is controlled by electrical signals running through your body. Have you ever heard people talk about your organs or nervous system sending "signals" to your brain? These are electrical signals. Electrolytes (which is just a fancy name for salts) help conduct and regulate the electrical charges in your body. This is one reason why it's so important to replenish your electrolytes post-workout. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps your body perform this task. Besides fulfilling its function as an electrolyte, though, potassium has many other important health benefits.
This is why it's so shocking that 98% of Americans' diets are deficient in potassium. One reason for this is that Americans aren't aware of the health benefits. Another is that most people have no idea what foods actually contain potassium.
As mentioned, potassium has numerous health benefits. Besides the role it plays as an electrolyte, here are a few other benefits of a diet high in potassium:
- Potassium can improve blood pressure control. The DASH diet, ranked best diet by US News & World, was originally designed to prevent hypertension, and features many potassium-rich foods.
- By keeping your blood pressure under control, you also work to improve kidney health. Furthermore, potassium reduces the risk of having kidney stones. Anyone who's had a kidney stone knows that this is reason enough to consume more potassium.
Now you're probably excited to start getting more potassium into your diet, but you still don't know how to. Maybe the one food that people associate with potassium is the banana. You may have heard the recommendation to eat bananas around workout time. They'll not only provide a quick burst of energy - they'll also replenish electrolytes like potassium. Bananas are a good start, but there are many other foods that are more densely-packed with potassium. Generally, fruits and vegetables - especially leafy green vegetables - are very high in potassium. Some top common sources of potassium are: spinach, beets, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, kale, and lettuce.
World's Healthiest Foods ranked all the ingredients that are sources of potassium. Only three achieved an "excellent" rating: swiss chard, spinach, and bok choy. Here are two excellent recipes, one featuring spinach and one featuring bok choy.
Warm Spinach Salad
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup plain almonds
- 1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
- 3 roman tomatoes
- 1 cup Balsamic vinaigrette
- 1 package baby spinach
- 1 cup goat cheese
Bok Choy with Sauce
This is a great recipe for stir-fry bok choy topped with a great cashew sauce.
CATEGORIES: Recipes, Fruit, Cholesterol, Healthy Foods, Vitamins & Minerals