Potassium is a mineral that is found in many of the foods we eat. It plays a major role in the regulation of many of our body functions. Studies have shown that potassium is very essential for maintaining normal water balance, blood pressure, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, heart rhythm, pH balance, etc.
Potassium is an essential mineral because our body cannot produce it naturally. If you are a vegan, there are many plant-based foods that offer a good amount of potassium. Adding them to your daily plant-based meal will help to prevent potassium deficiency and thereby improve your overall health.
First, let’s take a look at some of the important health benefits offered by potassium.
Reduces Blood Pressure
More than 30% of Americans are suffering from high blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors of heart disease. Studies have found that eating more potassium-rich foods can help in reducing your blood pressure significantly by removing the excess sodium from the body. Excess sodium levels can elevate your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.
According to some recent studies, increased intake of potassium can reduce systolic blood pressure by 3.49 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.96 mmHg in people with high blood pressure. Another study has also linked a high intake of potassium-rich foods with reduced blood pressure.
Osteoporosis is one of the common bone diseases that affect older adults, especially women who have undergone menopause. According to some experts, osteoporosis occurs due to the loss of bone mineral density. Fortunately, studies have found that a diet rich in potassium could prevent this condition by reducing the loss of calcium, the mineral that is essential for maintain bone health.
A recent study conducted on people between the ages of 45 and 55 showed that the total bone mass was higher in people who ate more potassium-rich foods. Another study looked at 994 premenopausal women who ate foods rich in potassium regularly. It was found that the bone mass in their hip bones and lower back was higher when compared to others who had a lower intake of potassium-rich foods.
Reduces The Risk Of Strokes
A lack of blood flow to the brain can lead to a stroke. According to statistics, more than 130,000 people in the United States die from strokes every year. Some of the recent studies are showing that consuming more potassium-rich foods could help in reducing the risk of stokes.
A recent analysis of several clinical studies has shown that the risk of stroke reduced to 24 % when people increased their intake of potassium-rich foods. Another study has also found that eating more potassium-rich foods can help in reducing the risk of stroke by 21 %.
Helps To Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form in concentrated urine. The main mineral in kidney stones is calcium. According to some of the recent studies, potassium citrate could lower calcium levels in urine and prevent kidney stones.
Potassium citrate is found in many fruits and vegetables that we normally eat. According to a 4-year study, the risk of developing kidney stones was reduced by 51 % in people who consumed potassium daily.
Let’s take a look at some of the plant-based foods that are rich in potassium.
Bananas are often considered one of the best sources of potassium. You will get around 451 mg of potassium from just one average-sized banana. In addition to potassium, bananas are also loaded with nutrients like magnesium, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Some studies have shown that regular intake of bananas can help in managing blood sugar levels and also improve your gut health.
This popular citrus fruit is a good source of potassium and vitamin C. You will get around 496 mg of potassium from just one cup of orange juice. In addition to vitamin C and potassium, oranges can also provide good amounts of thiamine, vitamin A, folate, and antioxidants. Studies have shown that oranges are very helpful in fighting free radicals because of the high amounts of antioxidants in them.
Tomato and its various products are packed with several healthy nutrients, including potassium. Just one cup of tomato sauce can provide around 728 mg of potassium. They are also rich in lycopene, a plant compound that can help in reducing inflammation in your body. Tomatoes are also packed with nutrients like manganese, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, etc.
Spinach is one of the highly nutritious leafy green vegetables available in the market. Including cooked spinach in your daily diet is one of the best ways to increase your potassium intake because you will get around 839 mg of potassium from just one cup of cooked spinach. In addition to that, spinach can also provide good amounts of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese.