Before we talk about how to get more potassium-rich foods into your diet, let's quickly touch on why you should. First of all, your heart simply won't beat without potassium -- that's kind of a big deal. Secondly, even if a hottie on the subway manages to get your heart going, your muscles won't move without potassium, so you won't even be able to chase her. Thirdly, even if you manage to run her down, you probably won't have to strength to put together a declarative sentence and ask her out on a date, as potassium shortage impairs your cellular processes and weakens you considerably. Let's face it: potassium is part of a generally healthy diet. In fact, once you've added more potassium to your diet, I'd recommend that you pick up a copy of Your Plate Your Fate to learn more about how to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.
Convinced that potassium is a necessary part of your day? Okay. So now, how the heck do you eat more of it? You've got lots of options:
- It's easy -- just go nuts! No, really, eat more nuts. Nuts and seeds are both extremely high in potassium, and also contain heart-healthy fats.
- If you're not a huge fan of nuts, try getting an early edge on your potassium intake by always making breakfast a potassium-tastic experience! Start with a bowl of potassium-rich cereal, such as bran flakes, wheat bran or wheat germ. Top it with a potassium-rich fruit, such as apricots, figs, bananas or currants.
- If all that "bran" and "wheat" advice has traumatized you, try a tasty little bowl of muesli -- you'll get similar potassium benefits!
- Since dried fruit is all very high in potassium, have a little handful of dried apples, cranberries, peaches, or an adventure-mix between breakfast and lunch.
- Mix chopped, dried apples into you tuna or chicken salad -- I promise it tastes better than it sounds.
- Toss a handful of raisins on your cereal, or even onto your salad!
- You're going to love me for this one. Have a great, big, fat, steaming baked potato. That's right, I am CONDONING your consumption of otherwise useless carbohydrates for the sake of high potassium consumption. Now, notice that I am NOT condoning the use of sour cream, bacon, and cheese atop this potato, so don't even think about it.
- Snag a dinner date to a Cuban restaurant and order some tasty boiled (not fried) plantains.
- Indulge in a healthy diet of whole-wheat pasta and make tomato sauce, as both are very high in potassium.
- Have some sardines...no? Okay, stick to the pasta.
Believe it or not, I can hear you balking all the way from my computer, but listen up -- nearly one in five people hospitalized in the U.S. suffers from low or deficient levels of potassium. I'm betting the same is true of at least one or two of you, so eat up!