October 7, 2010
Power Up with Potassium
Potassium is a key player in good health, but you may not be getting enough from food. Here’s how potassium contributes to good health, and how to get the potassium you need.
Potassium is part of every cell in the body, and life would be impossible without it. However, potassium is often taken for granted, in spite of its role in maintaining fluid balance, and keeping your brain, nerves, heart, and muscles functioning normally on a constant basis.
It’s important to eat enough potassium every day to feel your best, and to help prevent certain chronic conditions. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure which in turn decreases your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Experts suggest 4,700 milligrams of dietary potassium a day for adults as part of a balanced diet. But average intake is lower for U.S. adults. Men average 3,200 milligrams per day of potassium, and women average 2,400 milligrams. Low intakes is mainly to blame on eating a lot of convenience foods, less fruits and vegetables and eating out often. Home cooking determines potassium levels in produce, too.
Boiling depletes potassium. For example, a boiled potato has almost half the potassium of a baked potato. To preserve potassium, eat fruits and vegetables raw, or roast or lightly steam them. When dining out, increase potassium by ordering a salad, extra steamed or roasted vegetables, bean-based dishes, fruit cups, and low-fat milk instead of soda.
Here’s how many milligrams (mg) of potassium you'll get from these potassium-rich foods:
* Winter squash, cubed, 1 cup, cooked: 896 mg
* Sweet potato, medium, baked with skin: 694 mg
* Potato, medium, baked with skin: 610 mg
* White beans, canned, drained, half cup: 595 mg
* Yogurt, fat-free, 1 cup: 579 mg
* Halibut, 3 ounces, cooked: 490 mg
* 100% orange juice, 8 ounces: 496 mg
* Broccoli, 1 cup, cooked: 457 mg
* Cantaloupe, cubed, 1 cup: 431 mg
* Banana, 1 medium: 422 mg
* Pork tenderloin, 3 ounces, cooked: 382 mg
* Lentils, half cup, cooked: 366 mg
* Milk, 1% low fat, 8 ounces: 366 mg
* Salmon, farmed Atlantic, 3 ounces, cooked: 326 mg
* Pistachios, shelled, 1 ounce, dry roasted: 295 mg
* Raisins, quarter cup: 250 mg
* Chicken breast, 3 ounces, cooked: 218 mg
* Tuna, light, canned, drained, 3 ounces: 201 mg
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Posted by Lisa at October 7, 2010 6:17 AM
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