5 Potassium Rich Foods that Aren't Bananas is an exclusive look at Potassium and the importance it plays in the body. For more tips and information on my 1:1 coaching, visit http://www.ThomasDeLauer.com and click on "Coaching."
Now, potassium is critical. It doesn't just come down to muscle cramping. Potassium has a lot of different functions in the body. It's what's called a mineral electrolyte, and what that means is that it helps balance fluid within the body. This is super critical to things like blood pressure. It's also critical to fluid retention. If you've ever felt puffy, or after you go out and have a lot of sodium, you feel puffy, because you don't have that balance between potassium and sodium like you normally do. These are all signs of potassium issues. Potassium also aids in maintaining a proper acid level within the body -- a proper PH -- so it's critical for that. It's also critical for nerve firing, so if you're into working out, if you're trying to get in shape, it is super important that your potassium levels are stored where they need to be so that your muscles can contract the right way.
Let's talk about how potassium pertains to exercise, and I want to lead off with a study that I found that was pretty interesting. According to the Journal of Athletic Training, back in 2005, they conducted a pretty interesting study where they took two groups of people. One group of people, they gave a placebo drink. It was just purely water, and they had them exercise for a couple of hours. Now, the other group, they gave them an electrolyte drink loaded with potassium. Well, what was interesting is that those that had the potassium drink literally lasted twice as long in strenuous exercise than those that didn't.
The first food that I recommend you eat are beans. The reason I picked beans is because they are so low-glycemic. They don't have a huge effect on blood sugar. I recommend going with something like a pinto bean, because when it all comes down to it, pinto beans have less of what's called an amylase inhibitor, that amylase inhibitor that is present in a lot of other beans, like black beans, can sometimes inhibit the digestion of protein, so go with a light colored bean.
The next food I want to talk about is something that is not too exciting, and that's going to be simple spinach or chard. Super, super rich in potassium, again, about thirty percent of your daily value in just a cup. Here's the cool thing, is if you saute that spinach, that one cup of spinach, when you saute it with some coconut oil, not only is it going to help the absorption of the other vitamins and minerals within the spinach, but it's also going to shrink it down so it's practically nothing.
The next one is one of my personal favorites, and that is simply some squash. Squashes are great, because again, they're super low-glycemic. They don't affect your blood sugar that much. They're super high in fiber, so they're going to help lubricate the digestive system and get everything moving, but most of all, they're super high in potassium. An acorn squash, to be specific, is going to be one of the best potassium-rich squashes that you can eat.
The next one that is another one of my personal favorites is avocados. You watch a lot of my videos, you know I'm a huge advocate of a high-fat diet, simply because so much of our hormone function requires a high level of good fats. Avocado is one of the best healthy fats that you can get, but one half of an avocado also contains about twenty five percent of your daily value of potassium.
Now, let's talk about what everyone wants to hear, the shortcut, right? If you're going to take a potassium supplement, which I don't necessarily think is bad -- we all need potassium, we all need magnesium, we all need these minerals because they keep us in balance -- but one of the most common mistakes people make is they go for something like a potassium gluconate, which is okay, but here's the thing. It's water-soluble, so you take that potassium gluconate, your body's going to take what it need immediately and then excrete the rest out. This poses problem if you're trying to have a sustained release of potassium throughout the day, so you want to look for potassium chloride. It's a little bit easier for your body to break down over time, and you're not just going to eliminate it immediately, so if you're exercising strenuously and you need to have that sustained release of potassium, look for that potassium chloride. Potassium gluconate is great if you've got an immediate cramp and you need to get some potassium in you right away.
There you have it. We don't have to keep the banana business in business simply because we have muscle cramps all the time, so go and get some potassium in you and see how much better those nerves fire, how much quicker you recover, and how much more brainpower you have after just one or two additional servings.