Potassium is one of the major minerals used in the body. It is used to regulate sodium, calcium, as well as a host of other nutrients. Total body potassium is in constant turnover, as it is excreted quite rapidly in the urine.
Although bananas have a popular reputation as a high-potassium food, potatoes contain twice as much potassium
as bananas and some other vegetables even more. What the banana does
have is the highest potassium-to-sodium ratio – 440:1.
All vegetables are sources of potassium; foods and herbs that are especially rich sources include green leafy vegetables, celery, lettuce, turnips, dandelion, mint leaves, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, whole grains (oats, rye), oranges, dates, grapes, raisins, figs, apricots, peaches, sunflower seeds, nuts, dried fruits, bananas.
Processing and cooking leaches potassium out of foods. The human digestive tract is well-suited to processing high-potassium raw foods.
Supplement sources include potassium salts (chloride, bicarbonate), chelates (aspartate, citrate, etc.) or food extracts.
Commercial potassium supplements in the U.S. are limited by the FDA to 99mg which happens to be the recommended daily allowance. A prescription is required for higher doses, even though an average banana may contain 500mg and popular "salt substitutes" made from potassium chloride provide 3,180mg of potassium per teaspoon!
Function; Why it is RecommendedPotassium
intake has been associated with lowering blood pressure and there are a variety of mechanisms to explain this possible interaction. Studies have shown that higher potassium diet populations are correlated with lower blood pressure.
The use of thiazide diuretics
can severely reduce potassium
levels. Potassium supplementation should be used when on these particular drugs.
When doctors prescribe potassium
supplements, it is usually in the range of 1,500 to 3,000mg per day. When given in high-dose pill form, potassium salts can cause nausea
, vomiting, diarrhea
... the following alternative may be more pleasant:Potassium (potato peeling) Broth
Potassium improves energy levels generally and especially if you have been sick. If you have lost fluids from nausea or diarrhea, potassium broth is an especially good idea. Potassium broth takes advantage of the fact that the outside of a potato is one of the highest plant sources of potassium. Most people think that bananas have the most potassium. Actually bananas have the highest ratio of potassium to sodium
Choose several appealing potatoes and use a knife to remove the outside 1/4-1/2 inch, including the skin. This is the part most people throw away! If you want to add some other optional vegetables, by all means do so. You might have fun with carrot (with the skin, of course), celery (stalk and leaves), beet greens, fresh parsley, onion, garlic and any other organically grown green vegetables on hand.
Wash and chop all vegetables into small pieces, then add them to water and simmer for 30-40 minutes in a covered pot. The minerals will leach out of the vegetables and into the water. Strain out the vegetables, cool and drink the water (broth). If you have extra broth, you can store it in glass containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Counter-Indicators and Warnings
Individuals taking certain prescription drugs including digitalis, potassium-sparing diuretics
, and some blood pressure drugs (antiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) should consult their doctors before using potassium