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Potassium – Beyond Bananas

I am reasonably certain that life on Earth evolved in a manner that is self-sustaining. For that very reason, it seems intuitive that everything our bodies need in the way of nourishment is widely available in our food chain. That would include animals, plants, herbs (yes, those are plants), water, minerals, and air.

In our culture, we typically look for solutions through the treatment of symptoms. The problem with that approach is that symptoms can manifest through many different pathways. Nonetheless, this approach can be an affordable means to manage health and wellness – especially when we continue to acquire these nutrients through natural sources.

Recently, I was reviewing a client’s food journal and noticed a deficiency in her potassium intake. Interestingly, symptoms of potassium deficiency correlate with some of her health hurdles. Increasing her potassium through whole foods is much more enjoyable than treating with pills, and wonderfully effective!

Mangia!!!

What events can indicate a need for more high-potassium foods?

  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Heart problems
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Regular, intense exercise
  • Use of certain diuretics

Potassium is found abundantly in many foods, and is especially easy to obtain in fruits
and vegetables. Excellent sources of potassium include chard, crimini mushrooms, and
spinach.

How do cooking, storage, or processing affect potassium?

Potassium losses from cooking of high-potassium foods can be significant. In the case of
spinach for example, potassium levels have been shown to drop from 6.9 to 3.0 grams in
3 and 1/2 ounces of spinach after blanching for several minutes (a loss of about 56%).
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Sometimes this passage of potassium out of foods can be nutritionally beneficial. For example, parsley tea often contains significant amounts of potassium because this mineral is leached out of the parsley leaves and into the hot tea water.

You can also take advantage of potassium leaching with homemade soups!

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