Have you felt a little bloated at the end of the day? The standard advice is to drink plenty of water and it will go away. It doesn’t always work. Why not? You may not be getting enough potassium in your diet. Potassium is an electrolyte. When we get enough, it balances out the sodium in our bodies and reduces bloating. According to the National Institute of Health:
Your body needs potassium to:
- Build proteins
- Break down and use carbohydrates
- Build muscle
- Maintain normal body growth
- Control the electrical activity of the heart
- Control the acid-base balance
Potassium is also something you need to be careful with in terms of balance. It is easy to have too much. Make sure you are measuring how much you get. If you have kidney disease or other issue which may allow potassium to build up in the body, talk to your physician. The National Institute of Health also has a great fact sheet on what happens with too much potassium: high potassium level.
So how much should you have? An adult should get about 4.7g or 4700mg per day. How can you make sure you get this amount? Here are some potassium rich foods which can help. Data is from the USDA Food Composition Database.
One thing I do want to mention is salt substitutes. Tony and I both use salt substitutes as a way to boost potassium without the calories. Salt substitute are made from potassium chloride. They provide over 600mg of potassium for ¼ teaspoon serving. This works well for raising potassium, but be careful because a little goes a long way. It is also VERY bitter. I made the mistake of placing a little on my tongue and I couldn’t get the extreme bitter taste out of my mouth for a couple of hours. I use it in very sweet things so that it doesn’t taste bad.
How do you add potassium to a recipe? Let us know in the comments below.