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Potassium Power: Why Potassium is Important

You’ve probably heard potassium is important for preventing muscle cramps, but did you know it is also essential for heart and bone health?

Bones

A diet low in potassium creates an acidic environment your body attempts to counteract and make more alkali (basic) by breaking down bone. As a result, bones can become weak, increasing your risk for developing osteoporosis. Enjoying low fat yogurt and milk provides your body with potassium AND calcium to support a strong skeletal system!

Heart

Potassium works opposite of sodium to control fluid and electrolyte balance. It also supports healthy blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by relaxing blood vessels. If you’ve been skimping on your fruits and vegetables, there’s good news! Research suggests that a diet rich in potassium can help counteract the negative effects of sodium on the heart.

Muscles

Potassium is required for all of our muscles to contract and relax. This includes skeletal muscle that allows us to move our body and muscles of the heart, respiratory and digestive systems too! Avocado, spinach and coconut water are great foods to beat belly bloat and are easy additions to a slimming protein smoothie.

Adults should consume 4,700 milligrams per day, but the average American is taking in less than 3,000 milligrams per day. Bump up your potassium intake by eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish and dairy products.

Foods Rich in Potassium

  • Avocado, 1 cup sliced: 710mg
  • Spinach, 1 cup: 840mg
  • Sweet Potato, 1 medium: 690mg
  • Coconut Water, 1 cup: 600mg
  • Nonfat Yogurt, 1 cup: 595mg
  • Banana, 1 medium: 420mg

Author:
Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD
Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club
www.fitfreshcuisine.com
www.hybridathleticclub.com

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