Posted by Tara on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Although I take a whole food mulit-vitamin every day and try to eat healthy, I was surprised to recently learn my blood potassium was a bit too low. The fancy scientific term for this condition is called HYPOKALEMIA. Potassium is an electrolyte and a mineral essential to maintaining proper fluid levels in the body as well as keeping both our voluntary and involuntary muscles in check. After a two day ski trip I experienced an episode of AFIB – a condition where the top part of the heart (atrium) gets out of rhythm with the lower part of the heart (ventricle). Although there can be other reasons for AFIB, low potassium is one of the causes. After a checkup with my Doc, he ordered some blood tests which confirmed I’m not getting enough potassium.
The recommended daily intake of potassium is 4-5 GRAMS. Most people assume we need to eat more bananas to get enough potassium in our diet. Although there is some potassium in a medium sized banana, one would need to consume nearly 10 bananas a day to get 4-5 grams of potassium. Most servings of potassium rich foods contain less than 1000 milligrams of the mineral and are high in carbohydrates. A cup of raisins contains approximately 1200 milligrams of potassium, but packs a lot of natural sugar. Servings of prunes, Lima beans, and baked potatoes with skins contain impressive amounts of potassium too – more than a medium sized banana. Following are some more foods containing potassium, although not nearly as much as the ones already mentioned ones. I got this list from http://www.vitamins-minerals-in-food.com:
I will certainly try to incorporate more of these foods in my diet, but for now I will also follow Doc’s recommendation to take a prescription strength dose of this precious nutrient every day. And if your family does not regularly eat any of the foods on this list, you may want to consider adding a few of them to the menu rotation. Your muscles and your heart with thank you!