4 Great Reasons You Need To Eat More Of These Foods
What is one of the best things you can do to protect your health? It turns out that Mom knew best when she told us to eat our fruits and vegetables. Among the reasons why fruits and vegetables are so good for us is that they contain ample amounts of a critical nutrient. That nutrient is called potassium. And men who are deficient are at high risk for all kinds of health problems.
In today’s article we’re going to look at potassium. I’m going to show you how important it is for all areas of your health. And I’m going to give you a simple plan that you can use to ensure that you get enough of this essential nutrient. If you want to stay independent of drug companies, you’re going to want to take charge of your health by eating plenty of potassium-rich foods. I’ll show you how.
Makes a Heart Healthy
More than 1 in 4 men in the United States die from heart disease. And an even greater number of men will suffer non-fatal cardiovascular disease. That includes heart attacks and strokes. Studies show that men who are deficient in potassium are much more likely to suffer cardiovascular events. In fact, one Harvard study showed that men who increased their intake of potassium modestly could reduce their risk of stroke by a whopping 60 percent.
Another cardiovascular symptom that affects a huge number of men is high blood pressure. Whether high blood pressure leads to heart disease or a stroke or not, it can still be extremely harmful. High blood pressure can also lead to dementia and kidney disease.
One of the common traits among men with high blood pressure is that they are deficient in potassium. The good news is that studies show that increasing potassium intake can lower high blood pressure. That means that for many men with hypertension eating a few more servings of fruits and vegetables per day can literally save their lives.
Improve Bone Health
Many men are under the mistaken impression that only women need to be concerned about bone health. It is true that women are more than twice as likely to develop osteoporosis than men. However, more than 1 in 5 people with osteoporosis are men. It is a disease that can be devastating. So we men are wise to look after our bone health.
Of course bone health involves more than just one nutrient. But research shows that potassium plays an important role in maintaining good bone health. Men who are deficient in potassium lose more calcium from their bones. But by increasing potassium intake the calcium stays where it belongs: in the bones, making them strong for a lifetime.
Mood and Brain Support
Studies show that men who are low in potassium are more likely to feel depressed. A lack of potassium can also lead to anxiety.
The good news is that according to numerous reported case studies, increasing dietary potassium can often improve these conditions. In some cases conditions may even be completely reversed. Not a bad result of merely eating a few more pieces of fruit and vegetables a day.
Eating enough potassium also has been shown to keep the brain healthy. It allows for oxygen to get to the brain and improve cognition. If you struggle with brain fog, eating more fruits and vegetables may help.
Finally, potassium deficiencies can cause muscle weakness. Many athletes know the importance of adequate potassium. Without it, they hit the wall and can’t reach optimal performance.
Another negative consequence of insufficient potassium is muscle cramping. If ever you get a “Charlie horse”, that’s a clear sign that you’re severely deficient.
Things That Increase Deficiency
It’s generally recommended that most men need about 4700 mg of potassium per day. But there are some factors that can increase the demand for potassium, meaning you might need even more.
Anything that works as a diuretic can cause you to lose potassium in your urine. That include diuretic drugs. But it also includes things like coffee and alcohol. If you regularly drink either, you need even more potassium daily.
Potassium can also be lost in sweat. So if you exercise and work up a sweat or sit in a sauna, you need more potassium.
Many over the counter and prescription drugs can also increase the need for potassium. That includes aspirin, laxatives, and antacids. If you are taking any medication, check with your doctor or research for yourself to see if the drug depletes potassium.
A Word of Caution
Many men are deficient in potassium. However, there are a few men who may be overloaded by potassium. Some forms of kidney disease may mean that the body cannot rid itself of potassium very well. In those cases excess potassium can be problematic. If you know or suspect that you have kidney disease, be cautious about eating more potassium. For all other men, however, it is practically impossible to get too much potassium from food. Any that is not needed is eliminated in the urine.
The good news is that potassium is abundant in many foods. When you know what foods to eat, it is easy and enjoyable to eat enough potassium. Although potassium supplements do exist, for most men they are not a good alternative to food sources of the nutrient. The reason is that supplemental potassium can be harsh on the stomach whereas potassium in food is not. Also, because of the risk of taking too much potassium for men with kidney disease, U.S. law restricts the amount of potassium in supplements to 99 mg. That means you’d have take a lot of supplements to provide much potassium. So plan to get your potassium through food.
The food that most people think of when they hear the word ‘potassium’ is the banana. And it’s true that bananas are excellent sources of the nutrient. But bananas aren’t the only source. In fact, they’re not even the best source.
One of the very best sources of potassium is the potato. A single, average sized potato contains over 1000 mg of potassium. That applies only to white potatoes, not sweet potatoes. But the latter also provides a decent amount of potassium. An average sweet potato contains about 500 mg.
Winter squash like acorn, butternut, and hubbard also supplies a good amount. A cup of cooked squash contains over 800 mg. A single avocado provides over 900 mg. A cup of button mushrooms supplies over 400 mg. A cup of cooked swiss chard provides a whopping 1400 mg while a cup of cooked spinach supplies over 800 mg.
You can also find ample potassium in many beans and almost all fruits and vegetables. And a cup of yogurt supplies about 400 mg while many types of fish also are good sources.
As you can see, when eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables potassium is easy to come by. But if you eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in highly processed food, it’s easy to become deficient. So take charge of your health and commit to eating more of these potassium-rich foods daily. Double up on your vegetable servings at each meal, and snack on fruit when you’re hungry.You’re body will thank you, and you will be able to enjoy greater health and vitality for a long time.