When talking about nutrients that your body needs, you might think of protein, carbohydrates or even fats. One you might not think about is potassium!
Potassium is a pretty underappreciated mineral — it has a number of benefits and is so important for our health. To help you understand why it is important and what foods are high in potassium, keep reading!
What is potassium?
First things first — let’s talk about what potassium is! Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte that you can absorb from your food. It is important to regularly eat plenty of foods that are high in potassium because your body doesn’t store it.
Potassium is an important mineral, so not getting enough can lead to health problems. With that in mind, I do want to point out that anyone with kidney problems should be mindful of their potassium intake — chat with your health professional for more details.
Why do we need potassium?
Potassium is necessary in order for your body to function! Every time you move and exercise, your body relies on potassium to work efficiently. In fact, potassium plays a few key roles.
As an electrolyte, potassium helps your body to keep the right balance of water between your cells and the fluid surrounding them. It also moves nutrients into your cells and helps to keep your body’s sodium levels in check! This can be important for reducing issues like leg cramps.
Potassium is also crucial to the functioning of your muscles. It helps your muscles to contract (allowing for movement) and it helps your nerves to communicate with your muscles. Without potassium, your nervous system simply can’t function effectively.
You might immediately think of eating bananas but this isn’t the only way to get your fill. There are lots of other foods high in potassium too.
Foods high in potassium
Are there some foods on the chart that you don’t particularly like or that are hard to find where you live? Then refer to this list instead!
Because it can be found in lots of different products, my foods high in potassium list doesn’t cover every single item. I have included some of the best sources of potassium, many of which are also loaded with other beneficial nutrients too.
Such as spinach, kale, silverbeet
Leafy greens are so simple to add to sandwiches, wraps or you can use them as a side salad.
If you’re not a huge fan of kale on its own, try adding it to main meals with other flavours you enjoy. This broccoli and kale soup is a good place to start.
Such as carrots, beetroot, potatoes, sweet potatoes
If you’re not already using root vegetables in your dishes, this is a great reason to start!
Sweet potato is such a versatile ingredient — did you know you can even make it into sweet potato waffles?
Such as tomato, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin
I know we might not think of some of these foods as ‘fruits’ but they are all sources of potassium! Add them to salads, roast them and stuff them with quinoa or use them as part of your meal prep routine.
Such as black beans, white beans
Love making a big pot of chilli or soup? Try adding in some beans! They can perform triple duty — providing your body with fibre, protein and potassium.
Edamame is also high in potassium, so try eating it as a snack or using it as a side dish.
Such as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds
Both flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are high in potassium and so simple to add to your daily meal plan! Try adding these seeds to smoothies or use them to top a smoothie bowl. I also love sprinkling pumpkin seeds over the top of a salad for some extra crunch!
Such as salmon, tuna
For anyone who loves fish, you’ll be pleased to know it makes it onto the foods high in potassium list! The bonus is most of these are also rich in omega-3 fatty acid, which can help to reduce inflammation in your body.
Such as yoghurt, milk
Fruits and vegetables aren’t the only sources of potassium. As well as providing your body with calcium, dairy products can be a source of potassium too. Try making my blueberry banana breakfast smoothie for a high-potassium way to start your day!
The amount of potassium can vary depending on the variety of yoghurt or milk, so if you are already including these in your day, you should be good to go!
Are you eating enough foods high in potassium?
Ladies, the good news is that if you are already eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, you should be getting enough potassium.
As some lifestyle factors can cause your potassium levels to drop — such as excessive sweating or being sick with severe vomiting — it’s always good to know which foods are potassium-rich to help make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount.