Potassium is an essential mineral that the body needs to carry out important functions. You can find it in most types of food, meaning you can get your recommended daily allowance by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Why potassium is important
Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to control the balance of fluids in the body and helps the heart muscle work properly.
It is also classified as an electrolyte because it is highly reactive in water. When potassium dissolves in water, it produces positively charged ions. This allows the conduction of electricity, which is important for many processes within the body including:
- Fluid balance
- Nerve signals
- Muscle contractions
There are many benefits to having a potassium-rich diet – studies show that it may help to reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against strokes and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.
How much potassium do we need?
The recommended daily intake of potassium for adults between the ages of 19 and 64 years is 3,500mg. Most people can get all the potassium they need from their daily diet.
Doctors don’t usually recommended taking potassium supplements, as ingesting too much can cause stomach pain, feeling sick and diarrhoea. People with kidney issues as well as older people are at most risk of harm from potassium, as their kidneys may find it more challenging to remove high levels of potassium from their blood.
Foods with high potassium levels
Bananas are commonly thought of as the ultimate potassium-rich food, and with good reason – one large banana weighing 136g contains 487mg of the stuff! Despite this, you can find potassium in most types of food. The following foods are good sources of potassium that you can easily include in your diet:
- Fruit – particularly bananas and tomatoes
- Certain vegetables – including broccoli, peas, spinach, parsnips and brussels sprouts
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Nuts and seeds
- Meat – including beef, chicken and turkey
As you can see, it’s easy to get enough potassium from your diet. Why not pair Mediterranean fish fillets with tomato and basil with a side dish of Birds Eye Steamfresh Romanesco Broccoli, Garden Peas & Spinach for a plate with plenty of potassium that still packs a punch!