25 Jan 5 Potassium Rich Foods that Are NOT Bananas
Look, I love bananas as much as the next guy, but they’re not going to be my core source of potassium, because there’s too much sugar in them. So in this video, I want to talk to you about ways that you can get potassium into your body and into your bloodstream without having to eat sugar-filled, carb-filled foods, and I know this is a common problem, because I get asked it a lot — what the best potassium supplement is, or what the best foods that you can get potassium from are.
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. If you’ve ever had a muscle cramp, that’s exactly what’s happening, is the muscles are firing a little bit off kilter, causing you to cramp. Generally speaking, it’s a magnesium or potassium issue.
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. What we can clearly hypothesize from this is that by making sure your potassium levels are elevated and restored to where they need to be, you can flat out work harder for a longer period of time. That’s amazing for working out, but it’s also amazing for the after burn effect. If you work out harder, you know what that does to your metabolism. It cranks it up, so you’re burning fat longer throughout the day. You never would have thought potassium might be the little thing that’s holding you back from getting the most out of your workout.
Let’s talk about what you can do to get the potassium levels in without using a banana. Before I dive into that, what’s funny is that bananas only have like twelve percent of your daily value of potassium, so unless you want to be eating bananas all day and loading yourself up with hundreds and hundreds of carbs via the way of fructose, which your body doesn’t metabolize the same way as other carbs, by the way, then you’re going to want to pay attention to what I’m talking about.
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. They’re high in potassium, they’re easy to digest, they don’t affect protein metabolism, and they still will give you thirty five percent of your daily value of potassium. So, if you just finished a tough workout and you’re cramping, you are much better off to go grab a cup of beans than you are to go eat that banana. You’re going to get more bang for your buck that way.
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. It’s going to shrink it down to like a bite, so if you cook up a lot of spinach and you heat it quickly, and you shrink it down to a really small edible state, you’ve got almost like a potassium supplement that’s got a lot of other vitamins and minerals in it. Combined with some coconut oil, you’ve got your good, healthy omega-3s and your medium chain triglycerides, you’re not only getting your potassium, but you’re also kick-starting some fat loss.
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. You can get those almost any time of the year, and you can rotate them out. If it’s winter time, you can go with a spaghetti squash. If it’s summertime, you can go with a butternut squash. All these squashes are great sources of potassium, and they’re also going to contribute by giving you a lot of B vitamins and what you need to recover a little bit better. Personally, one of my favorite post-workout snacks.
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, so in one low-carb avocado, or in one half of a low-carb avocado, you’re getting more potassium than you are practically getting out of three or four bananas, which have five to six times the amount of carbohydrates, and of course, none of the healthy fats. Lastly, in terms of food, are mushrooms, another quick food that you can zap real quick, you can heat really fast, and get a massive dose of vitamins in. One of the things you can do is you can add your mushrooms to your chard or to your spinach, and then boom, you’ve got a double dose 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. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you in the next video.