Potatoes & Potassium: One More Healthy Reason to Chow Down!

Potatoes can be served in hundreds of ways; most of which are down right delicious. From baked potatoes and mashed potatoes to french fries and the delicate Pierogi, most of us have a potato dish that makes the heart sing. Potatoes get a bad rep for being white tubers that are high in starch and low in nutritional value, but that is simply NOT true! They are chocked full of potassium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals.

How Much Potassium Can Potatoes Provide for the Human Body?

In just one cup of diced potatoes, you will find about 18% of your daily potassium needs! This translates to roughly 630 mg, or MORE than one cup of sliced bananas. Isn’t that unbelievable? They contain more potassium than the fruit that is well reputed as a potassium powerhouse! The next time you get a charlie horse in the middle of the night, reach for some good old potatoes rather than bananas.

What Do We Need Potassium For?

Potassium is extremely important to regulate blood pressure and fluids within the body. Potassium is an electrolyte, which you might be more familiar with. It assists with the health of the central nervous system, which is responsible for transmitting electrical pulses to the brain to recognize both pain and pleasure. For those who are active with healthy lifestyles, potassium intake needs to monitored. The more exercise one engages in, the more likely it is that beneficial electrolytes are out of balance.

What Are the Symptoms of Low Potassium?

One of the hallmark symptoms of low potassium is cramping in legs or arms, as well as weakness. This is why your mother will tell you to eat a banana if you encounter a charlie horse during the night. You might also experience numbness or tingling. Since low potassium can severely affect the heart’s health, you might encounter heart palpitations or fainting due to low blood pressure. Eating a potato on occasion might actually help you to avoid going crazy too! Low potassium can cause psychosis, hallucinations, delusional thinking or behaviors, a confused state, and depression. Just to add even more to the list, nausea, vomiting, constipation, excessive urine production, constant thirst, and abdominal cramping may occur. Potassium is incredibly important to maintain healthy bodily functions, making it even more important to eat potatoes at every given opportunity; within reason of course!

If you believe you might be experiencing the symptoms of a potassium deficiency, please seek your doctor’s assistance immediately. He or she can order blood work in order to determine the potassium levels within your body. If you are deficient in this vital nutrient, your doctor can help you to create an ideal dieting plan to ensure that your body is receiving all of the potassium that it needs.