Ever had a terrible episode of muscle cramps? One that starts in your foot and creeps its way up your leg. One where you can visibly see the muscles of your calf going rigid as it cramps up. It isn’t a very pretty sight, nor is it a very pleasant experience. The first thing that friends and family will tell you is to eat a banana. Ever think about the logic behind that?
Increase your potassium intake
Bananas are rich in potassium, a single medium sized banana can contain 422 mg of potassium. Potassium is a very important mineral that helps support healthy nerve and muscle functions. It is essential in regulating our bodily fluids, aids in waste removal, maintaining normal blood pressure, and transporting nutrients to the cells.
Potassium is an electrolyte. It is necessary for muscle contractions, acid-base balance, carbohydrate metabolism, and for keeping our sodium levels in check. Having low potassium levels can result to fatigue, insomnia, cardiovascular problems (such as arrhythmia), and muscular weakness or cramping (hence the suggestion to eat a banana). It may even reduce kidney stone occurrence, reduce stroke risk, and help prevent osteoporosis.
The recommended daily value is 4,700 mg of potassium. Sadly, most people don’t hit that target on a daily basis. Maybe because most are not aware of other food sources to get potassium from. The good news is that bananas aren’t the only potassium rich food source. Here are 5 more excellent food sources for potassium.
One medium sized sweet potato has 541 mg of potassium. Swap them out for regular potato dishes by making sweet potato fries or mashed sweet potatoes. You can also roast them up or make sweet potato soup.
Popeye had the right idea when he said “strong to the finish”. A cup of spinach has 540 mg of potassium. You can add spinach to soup or make simple sauteed spinach with garlic, lemon juice, salt, crushed red pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.
One cup of cooked white beans provide a whopping 829 mg of potassium. The same amount of black beans can give you 611 mg of potassium. Beans are very versatile and you can add them to anything, rice, burritos, salads, soups, and stews. Add white beans to your salads and soups and black beans to burritos and stews.
Two wedges of this juicy, summer fruit contains 640 mg of potassium. Make smoothies with it or add it to salads. It’s also fun to eat them as is.
One cup of coconut water has 600 mg of potassium. It is an excellent hydrating drink that contains a lot of electrolytes. It can serve as a natural alternative to those bottled sports drinks that might contain artificial sweeteners.