The human diet once contained plenty of potassium, but as our diets began including more processed foods and fewer fresh fruits and vegetables, potassium intake levels plummeted. Scientists now suspect this may be behind the recent rise in chronic diseases like heart disease and osteoporosis.
Potassium is an element (and an electrolyte) that’s essential for the body’s growth and maintenance. It’s necessary to ensure:
- A normal water balance between cells and body fluids.
- The response of nerves to stimulation.
- The contraction of muscles.
Most fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium. To up your potassium intake, cut down on processed food and eat lots of fresh produce. White meats, fish, dried fruits and nuts are other potassium-rich foods.
We all think of bananas as good sources of potassium. Other excellent, and perhaps surprising sources include crimini mushrooms, spinach, baked winter squash, broccoli, celery, molasses, tomato, raisins, carrots, papaya, avocado and beans.