Friday, January 18, 2013

Dietary posttasium health benefits

In the most recent Today's Dietitian I read an interesting article about the vast health benefits of dietary potassium that I thought was interesting.

Increasing potassium intake is a big factor of the DASH diet which I have spoken about before.

According to the article, individuals should be intaking about 4,700 mg/day of potassium but actually the average intakes only 1,755 mg/day. Only 2% of Americans meet the daily requirement for potassium intake.

Potassium has a role in controlling the electrical activity of the heart, regulates acid-base balance, building muscle, and making proteins.

It is important to note that supplements are discouraged due to the adverse effects of high amounts, and getting more potassium from foods is recommended.
The easiest way to get more potassium in your diet is from fruits and vegetables.

The health benefits of potassium include:
  •  Protect your heart 
    • higher potassium intake is linked with lower blood pressure 
    • 20% reduced risk of dying from any cause 
    • 37% lower risk of death from heart disease and ischemic heart disease 
    • reduces risk for a stroke 
    • protect your heart and prevents heart disease even if you do not have high blood pressure 
  • Prevents muscle wasting 
    • High potassium intake defends against loss of muscle mass that is naturally associated with aging and is associated with higher lean body mass and muscle 
    • protects against sacropenia which is progressive loss of muscle mass 
  •  Kidney Stones 
    • Reduces against the risk for kidney stones 

Fruits and vegetables highest in potassium 
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lima Beans 
  • Squash 
  • Spinach 
  • White Potato
  • Parsnips 
  • Pumpkins
  • Kohlrabi
  • Tomato Juice 
  • Sweet Potato
  • Banana 
  • Apricots
  • Orange 
  • Raisins

The best way to get these health benefits is along with consuming less sodium.