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The Best Plant For Your Intake In Potassium

As the main ingredient in an American favorite, French fries, the white potato has something to boast about – beating out the banana in terms of potassium. A study released at the Experimental Biology 2013 annual meeting finds that consumption of white potatoes is tied to higher intake of potassium. For each added kilocalorie of these potatoes eaten there was a 1.6 mg increase in potassium for adults over 19 years old, a 1.7 mg increase for children and teens aged 2 to 18 years old. Gender, age, education and race/ethnicity were highly predictive of potassium intake, while income and body mass index were not.

A small white potato, with the skin, gives you 738 mg of potassium and 128 calories. By contrast, a large banana, a well-known potassium powerhouse has the same number of calories but only 487 mg of potassium. Surprise! Even with the skin off, the inside of the white potato is a fantastic source of potassium. One cup provides 477 mg of the nutrient.

Potassium is an electrolyte mineral, a key nutrient that most of us, an estimated 97% of Americans, don’t get enough of in our diets. It helps control blood pressure, key to keeping the heart healthy. Since the vast majority of adults will get high blood pressure sometime during their lifetime, getting enough potassium is vital to counter this. It’s also essential for a healthy skeletal system and regulating the actions of muscles and nerves too.

A diet that doesn’t have enough potassium brings plenty of problems to the body. When potassium is low, the body holds onto extra sodium, too much sodium brings up blood pressure. When you get enough potassium in the foods you eat, the body gets more efficient at getting rid of that extra sodium.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines advisors agree that there is much evidence that higher intakes of potassium are linked to lower blood pressure in adults. Foods that have lots of potassium and are low in sodium may cut the risk of silent but dangerous high blood pressure and devastating stroke. White potatoes fit the bill; they have lots of potassium and are naturally low in salt, free of fat, saturated fats and cholesterol.

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Unfortunately, the most recent data from the well regarded National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2009-2010 examined by the team included
the nutrient intakes of children and adults. The authors found that intakes of
potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D for these groups were all below
the recommended daily allowance or even the adequate intake levels called for
by the Institute of Medicine. This is a real world warning that kids, teens and
adults are not meeting dietary recommendations for important nutrients even in
a nation of abundance.

Some of the symptoms of potassium deficiency include confusion, irritability, muscle weakness, fatigue and heart disturbances. You might tire more easily during exercise. Too much potassium can be toxic and may bring on an irregular heartbeat or even heart attack. So long as you stick to dietary sources of this substance, your body will keep the balance of potassium within a tight, effective range.

The recommended daily allowance for potassium is 4,700 mg for adult men and women. Some other natural food sources of potassium, besides white potatoes and bananas, include sweet potatoes, orange juice, beet greens, white beans, dates, yogurt, tomatoes, raisins and clams.

To your good health,