By Margaret Ruth Olson
A happy heart runs off of a balance of electrolytes including the essential enzyme potassium. A potassium deficiency can result not only in temporary heart palpitations, but also in long term heart abnormalities such as hypertension and congestive heart failure. Though the average adult has the opportunity to consume electrolytes in a well-balanced diet, exercise, sweating, and other factors can diminish the amount of electrolytes in the body. In the past, athletes were known to “fuel-up” on sugary power-drinks and calorie-heavy meal supplements to maintain healthy levels of electrolytes, but now, there are easier, healthier ways to keep a happy heart.
So who needs potassium?
Simply put, everyone. For the average adult, the daily recommended dietary intake of potassium is 4700mg. However, the more active you become, the more conscious you should be about consuming potassium-rich foods. This will not only maintain a happy heart, it will also prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and soreness after an intense workout. Keep in mind: One hour of moderate exercise can result in 230mg of potassium lost.
Great Tasting Potassium:
1. Coconut Water: Packed with 250 mg of potassium per serving and just 40 calories, this slightly sweet drink is a great way to not only stay hydrated, but watch your figure. Personally… I’m obsessed with Vita Coco
2. Prosciutto Wrapped Cantaloupe: Great in the summer and super easy to make. Take a cantaloupe, peel it, and cut it into moon-shaped slivers. Wrap each piece in a thinly sliced piece of Italian prosciutto. The clash of salty and sweet is irresistible and has 430mg of potassium per serving (about 3 slices of cantaloupe or 1 cup).
3. Lima Bean Guac: Half the fat and 4 times the potassium of regular guac? What’s to lose? Lima beans have 955mg of potassium per cup and add a unique twist to this classic recipe.
1 cup cooked lima beans
½ ripe avocado
¼ cup fat free soup cream
¼ cup lime juice
1 Tbs minced garlic
¼ cup diced tomatoes
¼ cup diced onions
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, puree the lima beans. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash in the avocado. Combine with the rest of the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with homemade tortilla chips or popchips.
ALSO WATCH CUCUMBER LOW-FAT GUACAMOLE
4. Banana Smoothie:
This smoothie will not only fill you up, it is also low in fat and high in protein to keep you going. Coming in at a big 500mg of potassium and 0 grams of fat, this is a total win.
½ Almond Milk
1 Tbs PB2 (This is a powder product that you can find in most health food stores. Try PB2 Chocolate for an extra kick or late night treat)
Combine ingredients in a blender for one minute and serve cold.
Margaret Ruth Olson is not your average 21 year old. A single chick, restricted to a wheat-free diet and a much tighter budget, she takes every opportunity to make life fabulous. An expert in fashion, fitness, and food, she has experience buying clothes for local boutiques in her home town Austin and working up close with nationally recognized magazine, Texas Monthly. A career in magazine writing on the horizon, she knows her way around the kitchen as well as she knows her way around a jam-packed closet. She prides herself on her ability to find good gluten free food in the most obscure of places, pulling off a thigh-high stiletto boot with any outfit, and of course, somehow managing to fit Bikram yoga and a short run into the hottest, busiest day in Texas.