Our last Truce blog was on balancing your body’s pH level, which is it’s acid-alkaline balance, and we discussed this ideally should be slightly alkaline. This brings me to the importance of potassium in our diets, as it’s the job of this important mineral to neutralize acids in our body. Low potassium can mean the body becomes too acidic, and as we know, acidity can lead to a poorer quality of life (poor digestion, impaired cognitives abilities, sleep problems, frequently feeling tired, joint pain and body aches . . the list goes on). Fruits and vegetables have built-in acid-neutralizers but meats, dairy, and most grains do not, which is where the importance of potassium comes in. Also given that the Standard American Diet is heavy on the meats, dairy and grains and weak on fruits and vegetables, potassium is extra critical.
Potassium is an important electrolyte and the third most abundant mineral in the body. Its levels are controlled by the kidneys and it’s found in virtually all cells of the body. In addition to its importance in balancing pH, it’s the main compound that interacts with sodium to perform numerous important functions, especially balancing fluids and mineral levels in the body. It also regulates heartbeat rhythms and nerve impulses, allows muscles to contract, prevents muscle aches, supports digestive health and boosts energy levels.
The issue . . . many adults don’t even get half the recommended potassium they should! The recommended daily amount for adults is 4.7 grams/day (and this can vary depending on activity level and age), yet according to USDA surveys we are getting on average less than half of this amount. The solution . . . increase your intake naturally from whole foods rich in potassium. Potassium is often added to processed foods (like cereal, grains, bread, and some sports drinks) but synthetic potassium isn’t absorbed as well as potassium from whole foods, and therefore it’s not able to perform the functions potassium should be performing in the body. It’s also not recommended to supplement with potassium. This is done only in extreme cases and under guidance as high potassium levels can cause complications as well. In a healthy individual with normal kidney function, excess potassium obtained from whole foods is excreted in the urine and isn’t an issue. So opt for whole foods! Here are some top potassium-rich choices: white beans, dark leafy greens, avocado, coconut, sweet potato, bananas, salmon, broccoli, grapefruit, raw milk, sardines, peas and grass-fed beef. There are loads of others, but as you can see, the point is that if you’re eating a wide variety of whole foods, you’re bound to get adequate potassium levels.
We have plenty of options at Truce to help you get your potassium from amazing whole food sources. Check out our smoothie choices, all of which have bananas and two of which are made with coconut milk. Our Bey-Green Smoothie even has dark leafy greens included but you can add this option to any of them! When a customer comes in looking for a juice after working out, a Cocobombe, made with the coconut water and coconut meat of young Thai coconuts, is one of my first recommendations. Potassium is lost during exercise so going for a high-potassium option like a Cocobombe helps to replace potassium levels, rehydrate, and rebalance minerals important for growth and maintenance of muscles and bones. And try any of our Green juices that include dark potassium-rich leafy greens, such as Hardcore, Easy, Morning and Glow. Bananas are an important ingredient in our popular Acai Bowls, and our Isles and Caesar salads, built on organic leafy kale leaves, are amazing options as well. You can opt to add the avocado for an extra boost!
As you can see, whether if it’s with us or elsewhere, it’s easy enough to get optimal amounts of potassium as long as your eating a good variety of whole foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, potassium is absorbed well by the average healthy adult, so the issue isn’t so much using the potassium once it’s in our bodies, it’s making sure we’re taking in enough foods naturally rich in potassium. Eat food that looks like food and a good variety of it, and you’ll be on the right path to a healthy vibrant life.:)
For more information on potassium and daily intake recommendations, I like Dr. Axe’s article found here: https://draxe.com/low-potassium/