Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in our bodies. It is a key electrolyte that helps our nerves and muscles function optimally, including our heart muscles, as well as keep our water balance in check.
However, most adults do not meet the daily requirements for potassium intake, leading to mild signs and symptoms of deficiency.
Everyone over the age of 14 should aim to consume around 4700 mg of potassium, daily. This is especially important for athletes who lose many minerals through sweat each day.
How can you tell if you are deficient?
Deficiency symptoms are rare, as many of us have mild deficiencies. However, if you exercise often, it is important to notice if you experience irregular muscle cramping or fatigue as this can indicate that you need to add more potassium into your diet.
Other symptoms of potassium deficiency include:
Low blood pressure
Changes in heart rhythm
What are the best sources of potassium?
It is quite easy to increase your potassium intake through food alone. In fact, unless advised by a healthcare professional, or you are an athlete taking a combination electrolyte supplement, it’s usually best to consume potassium through food.
Here are 7 foods to include that are high in potassium (1):
Bananas: One of the easiest ways to get more potassium each day is to include a banana for a snack, especially 30 minutes to an hour before a workout. With complex carbohydrates to boost your energy and plump up your potassium stores.
Coconut water: There’s a reason this electrolyte-rich drink is so loved. You can drink it straight, or add it to smoothies.
Beans and lentils: Beans and lentils aren’t just high in potassium. They also help us to meet our daily fibre intake (another area where most Canadians are lacking).
Beets: Beets are high in potassium and nitrate, both of which are great to prevent muscle fatigue. Try beet juice, roast them, or use it as a salad topper!
Spinach: No wonder it’s a superfood! Spinach is easy to add to smoothies, salads, or just to add a little green to almost any meal!
Avocados: A keto-dieter’s dream food! Checking our potassium levels on low-carb diet is essential, as many of these plant-based foods are very high in potassium.
Tomatoes: Particularly, go for tomato paste!