Feeling sluggish at the end of the day? Waking up with muscle cramps at night? Having digestive issues? Your potassium levels may be out of balance. The amount of fluids you drink and the types of foods you eat play a role in your potassium homeostasis.
Potassium is in a variety of fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, apricots, potatoes, and oranges), they are also in beans, legumes, nuts, dairy and, some fortified dairy alternatives. Getting a nice mix of these foods throughout the day will help you get the amount you need. Certain people are required to eat a diet that is lower in potassium, however, including individuals with kidney disease. It is important to talk to a health professional, such as your doctor or a registered dietitian about your potassium needs.
Plantains are a type of banana and very high in potassium. Check out this recipe for Baked Plantain Chips.
Potassium is a mineral, also referred to as an electrolyte, found throughout the body from small cells to large muscles. It is no surprise that this important substance is an essential part of our diets. Potassium helps balance fluid in our body and helps our nerves talk to one another as they regulate the heart to beat or help our muscles to contract. Our kidneys filter potassium daily and it is excreted via urine, this is a normal healthy way our bodies maintain balance.
If you are suffering from low potassium, there can be a few different causes.
Reasons potassium may be low:
- Potassium is lost via sweat, such as after an intense workout
- Potassium is lost via our gastrointestinal (or GI) tract (e.g. excessive vomiting or diarrhea)
- As a side effect of certain medications: certain diuretics, laxatives, and insulin
Dairy and enriched dairy alternatives are high in potassium, try making this Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie as a morning or afternoon snack.
Potassium Rich Foods and Snack Ideas
Eating potassium-rich foods throughout the day can help prevent an imbalance of potassium. Here are some snack ideas and a list of foods that are excellent sources of potassium!
Kale Chips can be made easily in the oven or microwave
Vegetables rich in potassium:
- Kale and other greens: cooked spinach, Swiss chard
- Butternut and acorn squash
Healthy Spinach Dip would make a great potassium-rich snack, pair with whole-grain crackers for extra potassium
Fruits high in potassium:
- Dried apricots and dried figs
- Prunes and raisins
Simple 5 minute chocolate almond energy bites contain dates, chocolate and, nuts. All threes ingredients contain a good amount of potassium
Other foods high in potassium
- Whole-grain breads, pasta, and rice
- Legumes such as chickpeas and lentils
- Beans: pinto, kidney, and white beans
- Fish: wild salmon, tuna
- Meats: beef, chicken
- Dairy: cheese and yogurt
- Dairy alternatives like soy, rice, oat and almond milk.
Turkish roasted sweet chickpeas can be made ahead and portioned out for a sweet and savory snack
Author: Meghan P Myatt (Registered Dietitian)