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Potassium plays a key role in maintaining fluid balance, and keeps your brain, nerves, heart and muscles functioning normally. It is also known to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the major risk factor for stroke and heart disease  ,  .
Potassium aids in easing muscle contractions and keeps the sodium level in check. There are many people who don't get enough potassium. This could cause low potassium levels in the body and the condition is known as hypokalemia.
Symptoms Of Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia)
- Weakness and fatigue occur when blood potassium levels are too low and your muscles start having weaker contractions  .
- The muscles of the digestive system are unable to contract which leads to indigestion and constipation  .
- Heart palpitation is a sign of potassium deficiency which happens when there isn't a proper flow of potassium through the heart cells  .
- Muscle cramps or spasms happen due to low potassium levels in the body  .
- Low blood potassium levels also cause muscle ache and stiffness as the blood vessels are unable to contract and restrict blood flow to the muscles  .
- Potassium deficiency can lead to shortness of breath because your lungs may not expand and contract properly  .
- Mood changes are another sign of potassium deficiency  .
- Low blood potassium levels may cause numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, legs and feet  .
To prevent potassium deficiency, it is necessary to include potassium in your diet.
Foods Rich In Potassium
Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium. Most of the potassium content is found in the flesh of the potatoes and about one-third is found in the skin. So, make the most of this important mineral by consuming unpeeled potatoes  . Baking white and sweet potatoes is the healthiest way to obtain potassium.
- 100 g whole white potatoes contain 407 mg potassium
- 100 g sweet potatoes contain 337 mg potassium
Beans such as white beans, kidney beans, lima beans and pinto beans are good sources of potassium and contain good amounts of folate, iron, magnesium and manganese. In addition, the high fibre and antioxidant content in beans aid in reducing inflammation and cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes  . You can either bake them or boil them and add it to salads.
- 100 g raw white beans contain 1119 mg potassium
- 100 g raw kidney beans contain 1,406 mg potassium
- 100 g raw lima beans contain 1,403 mg potassium
- 100 g pinto beans contain 1,393 mg potassium
Bananas are considered the best food for potassium because they keep your blood pressure level stable, help control blood sugar levels and improve gut health  . Bananas are also rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. Add bananas to your smoothies or porridge.
- 100 g bananas contain 358 mg potassium
Pomegranates are another fruit which contain a good amount of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fibre. Eating pomegranates every day will keep your blood pressure level stable and also improve your overall health  . Add pomegranates in your oatmeal, yogurt or have it in the form of juice.
- 100 g pomegranates contain 236 mg potassium
Spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contain good amounts of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, vitamin C and antioxidants. The potassium content in spinach increases when it's cooked. So load up on this dark leafy green every day. You can either consume raw spinach or have it boiled.
- 100 g spinach contain 558 mg potassium
6. Tomato paste
Though fresh tomatoes contain potassium, you will obtain even more potassium from tomato paste, tomato sauce and sun-dried tomatoes. Tomato paste, tomato sauce and sun-dried tomatoes contain other essential nutrients like vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds like lycopene. Both potassium and lycopene can reduce the risk of heart disease  .
- 100 g raw red tomatoes contain 237 mg potassium
- 100 g tomato paste contain 818 mg potassium
- 100 g tomato sauce contain 221 mg potassium
- 100 g sun-dried tomatoes contain 1,565 mg potassium
It is a known fact that citrus fruits like oranges are high in vitamin C, but they are also an excellent source of potassium. Having oranges will provide your body with added nutrients like vitamin A, folate, thiamine and antioxidants. All these help in preventing inflammation and heart disease  .
- 100 g orange juice contain 200 mg potassium
Avocados are heart-healthy fruits packed with monounsaturated fats, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, antioxidants and pantothenic acid. They are also a good source of potassium which studies have shown benefits heart health and improves metabolic syndrome  . Add avocados to your salads or smoothies.
- 100 g of avocados contain 485 mg potassium
9. Swiss chard
Swiss chard is a green leafy veggie with thick stalks that is red, orange or white in colour. It's a highly nutritious vegetable packed full of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A, and fibre. Swiss chard can be used as a base for salads or you can eat it by steaming or sautéing in oil.
- 100 g Swiss chard contain 379 mg potassium
10. Coconut water
Coconut water is an electrolyte that contains potassium and other minerals. That's the reason why most low blood pressure patients are advised to drink coconut water as it provides energy to the body and keeps blood pressure stable  . Coconut water also contains other minerals like calcium, sodium, manganese and magnesium.
- 100 g coconut contain 356 mg potassium.
- 100 g coconut water contain 250 mg potassium
Watermelons are rich in potassium, carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre. According to the food scientists from Florida State University, the fruit contains amino acids which improve the performance of arteries and lower blood pressure in people with prehypertension  ,  . You can either have a watermelon salad or have it as a juice.
- 100 g watermelon contain 112 mg potassium
Beetroots are another vegetable that are known to prevent or manage high blood pressure due to its rich potassium content. The vegetable is also a good source of nitrates, which is converted into nitric oxide after consumption. This has been shown to support the functioning of the blood vessels and promote heart health  ,  .
- 100 g beetroot contain 325 mg potassium
Yogurt is a good source of potassium. The higher the intake of yogurt, the lesser the risk of cardiovascular disease in both men and women with hypertension according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension  . Another study conducted by the American Heart Association found that individuals who eat yogurt are less likely to develop high blood pressure  .
- 100 g yogurt contain 141 mg potassium
Salmon is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, protein and many vitamins and minerals including potassium. A healthy diet rich in fatty fish like salmon can decrease the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease according to a study  ,  . You can consume either grilled or baked salmon fish.
- 100 g raw salmon contain 363 mg potassium
15. Dried fruits
Dried fruits like apricots, peaches and figs benefit your health as they are loaded with potassium and other vitamins and minerals. As these fruits are dried and dehydrated, much of the nutrients are in concentrated form along with fibre and antioxidants.
- 100 g dried apricots contain 1,162 mg potassium
- 100 g dried raisins contain 749 mg potassium
Papayas are super fruits rich in potassium that are known to help people suffering from high blood pressure. Carpaine, an alkaloid component in papaya, has positive effects on heart health  . You can add papaya to your salad or you can also have it raw. But avoid eating excess papaya as its laxative effects may cause an upset stomach.
- 100 g papaya contain 182 mg potassium
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