5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Potassium and 10 Foods That Can Help
Have you thought about your potassium levels lately? Staying on top of our health can be overwhelming, but there’s no doubt that getting enough potassium matters. In fact, eating potassium-rich foods like bananas can dramatically reduce your risk of stroke.
Your potassium levels affect many of your body’s crucial functions. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting enough (food number nine is especially interesting).
1. You’re always tired
Since so many things can cause fatigue, a sudden onset of exhausted might seem like a mystery. But if you’re getting enough sleep, taking good care of yourself, and you’re still always tired, try increasing your potassium levels. A deficiency could be the culprit.
Next: If you feel faint often, this could be why.
2. You feel faint or dizzy
Low potassium levels can leave you feeling dizzy and light-headed. While feeling this way can also be a symptom of other issues, you should first rule out hypokalemia, a low level of potassium in your blood. This can be done with a simple blood test.
Next: This is the symptom most associated with low potassium levels.
3. Muscle cramps
Were you told to eat a banana for muscle cramps as a child? That was probably good advice. Potassium is vital to smooth muscle contraction and growth, and when your levels are too low, you may experience spasms, cramps, and aches.
Next: This is an unpleasant side effect of low potassium.
4. You feel sluggish and bloated
When you’re low on potassium, your body struggles to regulate its sodium levels, so you can feel bloated constantly, according to Health Magazine. It also slows down your digestions, so you may experience constipation and an upset stomach.
Next: This side effect is downright dangerous.
5. You’re experiencing heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
Did you know low potassium levels can cause the blood vessels in your body to narrow? This can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, according to Eating Well. When the potassium-sodium balance is off, your heart’s muscles may also have a harder time pumping, which is why you’ll have an irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
If any of these symptoms apply to you, trying adding some potassium-rich foods to your diet. Bananas are an obvious and tasty choice, but these 10 foods also deliver a healthy dose of this essential mineral.
Next: It’s really no wonder that this is considered a superfood.
Not only are avocados delicious and heart-healthy, but they’re also an excellent source of potassium. One serving of avocado (which is about 1/5 of a large one) contains 140 mg of potassium, and you’ll get 700 mg if you eat the entire thing.
Next: This dark, leafy green should be a staple in your healthy diet.
Spinach serves up a healthy dose of many vitamins and minerals, including plenty of potassium. The potassium works with the other nutrients in spinach necessary for staying healthy, so if you haven’t learn to love this leafy green, you should try.
Next: Believe it or not, this food has more potassium than a banana.
3. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, and that includes potassium. A medium baked sweet potato has 542 mg, which is about 12% of your recommended daily dose. They’re also rich in Vitamin A.
Next: Surprise, surprise — these potatoes are packed with potassium as well.
4. White potatoes
As a starchy carb, sometimes white potatoes get a bad reputation. But they’re actually very healthy, and according to research from the University of Washington, they’re the most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit. So buy a bag of potatoes for your health.
Next: Add a little sweetness to your diet.
5. Dried apricots
Need a quick and easy boost in potassium? Just eat a small handful of dried apricots. Dried fruits are healthy in moderation, and some studies show that those who consume dried apricots have healthier overall diets and lower body weight than those who don’t.
Next: Pass the pasta … then top it with this.
6. Tomato sauce
This perfect pasta topper is surprisingly high in potassium — one cup has about 728 mg. Make sure you go for a low sugar version that comes in BPA-free packaging.
Next: The way this is raised makes a difference.
7. Wild-caught salmon
Wild-caught salmon is loaded with healthy nutrients, and that includes potassium. The combination of vitamins, nutrients, and healthy fats earned it a place on the list of superfoods.
Next: These sweet root veggies are super versatile.
According to Prevention, a cup of cooked, slice beets contains 518 mg of potassium, and a one-ounce serving of beet chips has 90 mg. Considering beets are very versatile and can be used in salads, juices, soups, and more, it may be time to add more of them to your diet.
Next: Who would have thought this bean would be loaded with potassium?
9. Lima beans
In the days of exotic superfoods like acai berries, lima beans don’t exactly have a lot of prestige. But all beans are high in potassium, and since one serving of lima beans has 508 mg, it’s safe to say they’re underrated.
Next: Stock up on this fall favorite.
10. Butternut squash
According to Prevention, one cup of this slightly sweet squash has 582 mg of potassium. It’s also packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, and magnesium. Enjoy it in hearty amounts.
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