Potassium is an important mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure, maintain heart and artery function and can reduce the risk of stroke. The important health benefit of this mineral make it vital to a healthy diet. Potassium can be found in many of the fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle at the grocery store. One of the best sources of potassium is a whole potato.
Effects of Potassium Deficiency
Low potassium levels symptoms include muscle weakness, cramps, fatigue, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain and intestinal paralysis (according to Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University). Conditions that increase the risk of potassium deficiency include use of potassium wasting diuretics, alcoholism, vomiting, diarrhea, overuse of laxatives, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, magnesium depletion and congestive heart failure.
Good Dietary Sources of Potassium
The U.S. Government dietary recommendations advise 4,700 mg per day for adults, Dietary sources are a better source of the mineral than supplements. Some of the best dietary sources of potassium include, in order: baked potato, baked sweet potato, white beans, yogurt, beets, halibut, banana, kidney beans, raisins, salmon and blackberries. According to information on the LInus Pauling website, a whole potato with skin has 926 mg of potassium. One medium banana offers 422 mg of potassium. A half cup of raisins contain 598 mg of potassium.
Fresh produce is a great source of nutrients. A varied diet contains vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. Even though the potato is often shunned for its high carbohydrate content, properly prepared potatoes can be part of a healthful diet. Potatoes that are prepared in oil, especially French fries, have a high fat content and high caloric load, so they are not recommended.
You can boost potassium levels easily by incorporating potassium rich foods in the diet. My dad’s doctor recommended that he eat a banana or handful of raisins daily to raise his lo potassium. . Whole bananas and raisins are food that travel well, and can be kept in the car or purse for easy snacks
Preserve Potassium when Preparing Potatoes
Potatoes are a popular side dish that contain valuable minerals that should be preserved during cooking. Minerals in potatoes include potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
Mashed potatoes are a comfort food often served with family meals and holiday dinners. Mashed potatoes, served with butter or gravy, start out as potatoes that are boiled and then mashed along with milk and butter or olive oil. Garlic mashed potatoes are increasingly popular and just take the addition of garlic to the boiling potatoes.
Boil potatoes whole. This is a tip that is on Real Age, but it is also the way the my mother taught me to boil potatoes. Cooks for generations have known that boiling potatoes whole preserves potassium. Boiling potatoes whole to preserve the potassium content is nothing new, but is possibly a piece of information that gets lost with new cooks. Potatoes should be boiled whole, however if one potato is much larger than the other potatoes it can be cut. Potatoes should be approximately the same size so they finish cooking at the same time. Cubing the potatoes before boiling slashes the potassium content by as much as 50 percent according to information on Real Age.
Other cooking methods can preserve valuable minerals even more effectively than boiling potatoes whole, include baking, roasting and micro waving. Baked pototoes are easy to prepare. Cut out the eyes and any bad spots and put the whole potato in the oven or microwave.
Add pototoes to the diet for a satisfying food rich in vitamins and minerals. Preparation of the potato is an important element to retain potassium without adding excessive fat and calories.
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