Why Pump Up the Potassium?


Potassium is one of the most important minerals found in foods we eat. But do you know why?

For starters, it helps to keep our muscles working efficiently – including the almighty heart muscle – and it also maintains fluid balance in your body.

If you believe that only bananas and potatoes can provide this needed nutrient, then think again. The best way to pump up dietary potassium is to consume vegetables!

Which vegetables are higher in potassium?

All vegetables contain a small amount of potassium.  Vegetables with notably higher potassium contents include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, winter squash and cooked tomatoes. The best bet is to consume a wide variety of vegetables for adequate potassium intake.

Is there a difference in potassium content of vegetables that are raw versus cooked?

You may think that cooking destroys all nutrition in vegetables, but that isn’t always the case.  Potassium is sensitive to heat which can reduce mineral absorption of some vegetables, but the cooking process can also enhance potassium absorption of others. For instance, some leafy greens (like chards and beet greens) provide a bigger punch of potassium when cooked. These vegetables shrink (wilt) when cooked causing a more concentrated amount of the nutrient per cup cooked then consuming a cup of the raw greens. On the other hand, broccoli and celery provide a larger concentration of potassium when using quick cooking methods (steaming, blanching, and microwaving).

Why am I supposed to increase the potassium in my diet?

Current research and dietary recommendations recommend decreasing the content of the mineral sodium in the diet and increasing potassium to assist in lowering blood pressure.  Sodium acts like a sponge and retains fluid making the heart pump harder to move blood through the body. Potassium works by “wringing out” the sponge and removing fluid from the body. To reap this benefit, strive to consume 2-3 cups of potassium rich vegetables per day.

If you’ve been following our blogs and video content materials inside the course, you know vegetables get you so many other benefits. So how can you get creative with the vegetables you consume and pump up the potassium in your diet? You’ll pump up your health too and that’s sweet to get several benefits at the same time.

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