Aug 22, 2013

K is for Potassium

      Since my last entry I have been trying hard to not compete against that “better” day. However over the past while I have been surprised by how well I am feeling. My attitude is positive and I am pleased with the drive that I have summoned within myself. Some of this is just plain grit that I apply but I have also been eating better.

      I am the owner of a vitamix (no endorsements for that claim). It was a wise investment that has proven its worth in many ways. In the past I would occasionally make a smoothie after a good run and use maybe 2 or 3 fruits in the mix. After finding that I would benefit from adding ingredients that were more specific to my needs.I decided to add up nutrient needs and was surprised to find what I was lacking my diet. In fact what I often struggled with when it came to muscle and endurance issues had a lot to do with what I was NOT getting in my diet. My research showed me that my random cramps in various muscles was related to a deficiency in POTASSIUM (K).

      Figuring this out was the easy part for me. On the other hand I now faced the challenge of HOW to start getting K into my body. The first food that came to my mind was bananas, however to get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 mg one would have to ingest around 10.5 medium sized bananas. I am not going to eat that many bananas. Instead I had to find a variety of ways to get the proper levels of K in my body.

      Research led me to find that orange juice, milk, potatoes, and other fruits, nuts & veggies were the EFFECTIVE way to go. Now after my morning run I try to mix up a smoothie with 8oz of orange juice or pineapple juice. I will also mix in 3 or 4 servings of berries, a couple handfuls of spinach, a banana, carrots, as my base. Depending on the day I will also sometimes try to mix in chia or flax seeds, almonds, milk and other fresh ingredients that I may have on hand.

      This has made huge improvements in my mood, and stamina. I am sure as time goes by that if I stay consistent with this I will see other differences. One of the great things about smoothies is that you can put in whatever you want or need. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I buy mostly frozen ingredients. If you Google around for smoothie recipes you will find an amazing (and sometimes overwhelming) amount on the web. However I am a trial and error type and have a pretty good idea what works for me, but that doesn’t mean others are in the same ring.

      In addition to a nice smoothie immediately after strenuous exercise I do try and get K throughout the day. This means cutting out a lot of junk and not dwelling on one key item while expecting others to just appear in my diet. However I have found that while consuming healthier food the other good nutrients usually tend to show up more often.

What does Potassium (K) do for you?

-Regulates fluid balance in the body. 

-Helps in nerve impulse and muscle contraction (includes the heart muscle)

-Assists in muscle building and bone strengthening.

-Helps prevent high blood pressure and stroke  

Where to find Postassium (K):
The numbers on the right are in the amount of milligrams.

½ cup cooked spinach 420
1 cup raw spinach leaves 160
1 medium baked potato with skin 610
½ cup boiled potato 250
½ cup potato mashed with milk 250
½ cup cooked broccoli 230
½ cup canned sweet potato 270
½ cup acorn squash 250-350
1 cup tomato soup with water 265

1 cup cantaloupe or honeydew cubes 430
1 medium raw tomato 290
½ cup tomato juice 275
½ cup strawberries 230
1 medium sized banana 450
1 fresh orange 237
½ cup orange juice 235
½ cup grapefruit juice 200
¼ cup raisins 270
½ avocado 600
½ cup prune juice 350
5 dried prunes 310 

Meat and Legumes
3 oz. cooked beef, pork or fish 335
3 oz. cooked chicken 210
¼ cup roasted soybeans 630
1 cup split pea and ham soup 400
½ cup cooked dry beans 350
1 oz (24) almonds 206 

1 cup fat-free, 1%, 2% or whole milk 440
1 cup fl avored yogurt 400
1/3 cup instant fat-free milk 385

1 oz bran cereal, All Bran, 100% Bran 320
¼ cup wheat germ 270

 However take note that you should avoid too much Potassium (K), and always check with your Physician before adding to or changing your diet.

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