Working out and eating a relatively balanced diet may not be enough to keep you healthy. Ninety percent of Americans are suffering from a nutritional deficiency, and its effects could be catastrophic.
According to the USDA, 9 out of 10 Americans—that’s upwards of 290 million people—aren’t getting enough potassium each day. In fact, less than one percent of adult female study subjects were reaching their recommended daily goal of 4,700 milligrams of daily potassium. Under a quarter of adult male study subjects were hitting their potassium target, too. In fact, the average American’s potassium intake is just 2,640 milligrams each day, just 56 percent of what they should be getting.
While many athletes are familiar with the muscle cramps associated with a lack of dietary potassium, there are far more serious issues to contend with if you’re skimping on this essential electrolyte. Low potassium can cause vomiting, weakness, fainting, heart palpitations, and even mood issues. In fact, one study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that middle-aged men and women who adopted a low-sodium, high-potassium diet enjoyed reduced stress and depression, while improving their energy.
Although common wisdom dictates digging into a banana when you’re suffering from the side effects of low potassium, these healthy alternatives can help boost your potassium levels even faster. And for more ways of improving your diet, here are the 10 unhealthiest finger foods to avoid this holiday season.
Drizzle some sweet potato slices in olive oil and roast them in your oven for a healthy meal that’s loaded with potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Just one average-sized potato has 694 milligrams of potassium, over 250 milligrams more than you’d get in a medium banana.
Swap out your usual spinach side in favor of some potassium-packed beet greens. Just a half-cup of beet greens has 655 milligrams of potassium. And for more ways to eat healthy, here are the 10 Best Foods for Over-40 Brains.
While white potatoes often get a bad rap for their high carb content, they’re a great way to add potassium to your diet. One medium-sized white potato has 610 milligrams of potassium, as well as hefty portions of your daily fiber, iron, and vitamin C.
Add some white beans to your favorite salad for a tasty potassium boost. Every half-cup serving of white beans packs 595 milligrams of potassium, in addition to a wealth of vitamin C, protein, and magnesium.
Whether you’re adding it to your favorite smoothie recipe or eating it plain, yogurt is an easy way to up your potassium intake, thanks to the 531 milligrams of the stuff you’ll get in every cup. Yogurt also happens to be a good source of vitamin B12, a deficiency in which researchers at East Carolina University have linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
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