The surprising key to all-day pep, great focus, flexible joints, and strong muscles? Potassium! “New research suggests that up to 98 percent of us are potassium-deficient and don’t even realize it,” says Michael Greger, MD, author of How Not to Diet ($22.75, Amazon). “Correcting this mineral shortfall helps every cell in your body function at its peak.” Here’s how…
Enjoy fruit salad.
Our daily diet delivers roughly 2,700 mg. of potassium, but National Institutes of Health researchers say we actually need 4,700 mg. for optimal energy and brain function. Thankfully, boosting intake of the mineral is as easy as enjoying a large potato with the skin (1,000 mg.) along with a medium avocado (1,000 mg.). Or munch on fruit salad with kiwi, banana, guava, and cantaloupe — each delivers 300 mg. or more per cup.
Savor a sweet sip.
You lose potassium in sweat, and that can leave you feeling draggy on a warm day, say University of Kentucky researchers. To shake off that slump in 30 minutes, sip a tall glass of savory lemonade. Just combine 10 oz. of water, 1/2 cup of orange juice, the juice of 1 lemon, 1/8 tsp. of potassium-rich Himalayan salt, and sweetener to taste.
When your kidneys flush out sodium, they lose potassium at the same time — so reducing your salt intake can make it easier to keep your potassium levels optimized, UCLA researchers say. Good news: You can drop your sodium intake by 35 percent by cooking without salt, then adding the tasty seasoning at the table.
A 400 mg. daily dose of magnesium may cut your risk of a potassium deficiency in half. Explains Mark Herrmann, MD, magnesium helps shuttle potassium from your blood to cells that need it. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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