Our body needs minerals like potassium to function. To ensure that we take enough of this mineral, in this article we will know which foods are rich in potassium and their benefits.
Eating in a healthy and balanced way is the best way to obtain them, however, it is useful to identify which sources are rich in one or another mineral, vitamin, fatty acid, etc. Potassium is very necessary for matters as important as the production of hormones or maintains the osmotic balance of cells.
What is potassium?
Unlike other minerals, potassium is a macro mineral. Most of it is found inside the skeletal muscle, specifically and to be precise in the same cells.
Basically, it consists of an electrolyte mineral that we find in the blood, and that our body obtains mainly from certain foods. However, a balanced diet is sufficient to provide the amount of potassium our body needs daily, especially if it is based on a diet especially rich in fruits and vegetables.
As we indicated, it is one of the most abundant minerals in our body, so its accumulation is certainly high.
Recommended the daily amount of potassium
The recommended daily amount of potassium depends largely on age.
From 0 to 6 months: 0.4 grams.
From 7 to 12 months: 0.7 grams.
From 1 to 3 years: 3 grams.
From 4 to 8 years old: 3.8 grams.
From 9 to 13 years old: 4.5 grams.
From 14 to 18 years old: 4.7 grams.
From 19 years and up: 4.7 grams.
In the case of women who are breastfeeding, they need to consume a higher daily amount of potassium: 5.1 grams. Even so, the most advisable thing is to consult with a doctor.
Benefits of potassium in our body
– In the brain: it is essential to maintain the normal functioning of the brain.
– A decrease in potassium can cause low sugar in the body,
– Avoid muscle contractions. We must have normal potassium levels, since contractions occur when we have low potassium.
– Cramps: these are also produced by low levels of potassium, so it is recommended to athletes or people who suffer normally to consume a banana a day because as we will discuss later contains a high content of potassium.
– The benefits of potassium are very broad, they can help us improve the health of bones.
– Reduces anxiety and stress.
– It is responsible for maintaining the water balance.
– Help in the transport of oxygen to the brain.
– Helps to normalize the heart rate (along with calcium and sodium)
– It is essential for normal growth.
– It promotes the elimination of liquids.
– Stimulates bowel movements.
Effects of potassium deficiency
Its lack can cause a series of disorders, these are some of them:
– Alterations of the heart rhythm.
– Bones and joints pain.
– Muscle cramps.
– Alterations of blood pressure.
– Retention of liquids and edema.
– Mental confusion and lack of reflexes.
– Alterations of growth.
– Nausea and vomiting.
Foods rich in potassium
To take care of the skeletal and muscular system, as well as the cardiovascular system, it is essential to follow a diet with foods that provide a large amount of potassium to the body.
One of the best-known foods in relation to its contribution of potassium, 592 grams per 100 grams of food. In the sports field, it is precisely the banana that is one of the most consumed foods after training and high-intensity activities.
Another of the great benefits of bananas is that they are very rich in antioxidants, so they are of great help to prevent premature aging of both the skin and the cells.
Avocados, along with bananas, are one of the fruits with the highest amount of potassium, 490 mg per 100 grams of food. There are countless ways to incorporate avocados into the diet. In addition, they can be taken at any time of the day.
Plums are another of the richest foods in potassium that exist. Its content is approximately 1,000 grams per 100 grams of product. One of the main advantages that plums offer in terms of their consumption is that they can eat as fruit pieces or incorporate them into a large selection of recipes.
Sesame seeds are very rich in potassium, with a contribution of 468 mg per 100 grams of food. In addition, they are very rich in fiber, so they help prevent constipation and improve intestinal transit.
These seeds also provide a large amount of iron, an essential micromineral for the organism as it fulfills a large selection of functions: transport of oxygen, production of hemoglobin and collagen, etc.
The consumption of spinach is especially recommended among athletes thanks to its high level of potassium. The contribution is 560 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, spinach is very rich in vitamins, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium. A cocktail of nutrients that help regulate blood pressure, strengthen bones and improve metabolic activity.
One of the most consumed foods globally are potatoes. They are an extraordinary source of potassium, with a contribution of 420 mg per 100 grams of product. To avoid the excessive contribution of unhealthy fats to the body, it is best to consume potatoes baked or steamed.
7. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another of the most recommended foods to avoid potassium deficiency in the body. It provides 450 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, they are very rich in vitamin C, so they protect and strengthen the immune system. They also have high fiber content, so Brussels sprouts are highly recommended to promote intestinal transit.
The mushrooms also contain a lot of potassium, 370 mg per 100 grams of food. They are a very important source of high-quality vegetable proteins. Besides potassium, they contain many other minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and zinc.
They are also rich in B vitamins, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. To all this we must add that mushrooms are very low in fat and calories.
The nuts provide us with many minerals such as potassium. Nuts, almonds or pistachios are foods rich in potassium. We can take most of the raw or roasted nuts, and it is advisable to eat them on a regular basis. Anyway, you should not eat more than a handful a day, because they give us a lot of fat. It is very healthy fat, but obviously has caloric load.
10. Pure cocoa
Cocoa is an excellent source of potassium. Normally we take this great food in the form of chocolate, which can have an impact on its properties. It is very important to take it in the purest form possible, or at least with the least amount of sugar possible. When you finally get used to eating 100% pure chocolate in cocoa you end up enjoying it without throwing away the sugar.
11. Green leafy vegetables
Highlighting thistle, green leafy vegetables are also good sources of calcium. They also provide other minerals such as iron, and some can be taken raw or cooked, and raw is generally a good idea. When we cook food the minerals some of their properties can be altered. Some nutrients can get into the water or get lost in the heat of cooking.
Some types of fish have good potassium concentrations. In some cases, the concentrations are very low, as in the case of hake. But if we want to take fish with a good contribution of potassium we must eat any of the following:
Bluefish: trout, pomfret, mackerel, tuna, herring or horse mackerel.
Whitefish: sea bream, mullet, sea bass, cod or pollock.
The pulses also provide very good potassium concentrations. It is essential to eat legumes to ensure a healthy and balanced diet, and among all, we emphasize the beans (also known as beans or beans); they are the ones with the highest potassium density of all. But eating any legume at least once a week is ideal to take advantage of its properties and benefits in favor of our health.
A vegetable that stands out as a source of potassium. It is not consumed much but it is undoubtedly an excellent food, because it contains potassium but also other properties. It is full of antioxidants, substances that allow to fight against oxidation and therefore the aging of our tissues. You can eat both raw and cooked in soups, salads or garnishes.
Although algae consumption is not currently widespread in the West, little consumption is becoming more common. It is the food with the highest potassium intake. In certain species, it can reach 10,000 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, algae are very rich in other nutrients such as iodine, phosphorus and calcium. Also in iron, so they are essential to avoid certain diseases such as anemia.
Thistles, along with algae, are some of the least popular foods. However, its consumption is very advisable to ensure that blood potassium levels are adequate. They provide 400 mg per 100 grams of food.
In addition, its high inulin content makes thistles a very healthy food for people with diabetes. This food also takes care of the liver and greatly favors its functioning.
His 429mg of potassium per 100 grams makes him clearly deserving to be part of this list. But there are so many benefits to health that it can be said that some studies have shown that regular consumption of salmon can help us live longer and in good health.
The natural yogurt has more than 570 mg of potassium, so if we combine it with a banana, we will make sure to ingest a good amount of this mineral. In addition, natural yogurt is a food known for a long time for its different beneficial effects on health. The regular consumption of this milk derivative is able to strengthen the immune system, improve the intestinal flora, avoid diarrhea, thanks to the lactobacilli present in it. Easy to access in supermarkets, so we will take it into account to include it in the diet.
One of the most prominent vegetables for its contribution of potassium, around 370 mg per 100 grams. But not only that, chard contains a very important source of vitamin A, and they are very rich in antioxidants that fight the action of free radicals. It is also one of the few foods that have vitamin K in large quantities, helps prevent osteoporosis and is very beneficial in diets whose goal is weight loss.
Although it is a seasonal fruit and you cannot get it very often, this is an excellent source of potassium, barely outnumbering the banana, you can get 382 mg in every 100 grams. It is also a delicious natural and healthy dessert.
Diseases due to excess potassium
In the same way that the deficit of potassium can give rise to different health complications, the excess of this mineral in blood can also be dangerous. It is called hypokalemia when the level of potassium in blood is greater than 5.5 mmol / L.
The most common causes are two. On the one hand, renal failure of a chronic nature. And, on the other hand, the taking of medicines to treat diseases of the cardiovascular system.
It is an asymptomatic disease, whose main indication is the change in heart rate.
Taking into account which foods are richest in potassium, it is advisable to incorporate them into the daily feeding plan. Its consumption is of great help so that the organism works correctly. As we have indicated, both the excess and the deficit of this mineral are harmful to the state of health, so it is essential to remember what is recommended daily amounts according to age.