High Potassium Foods — Beans Can’t Be Beat

Some of the best high potassium foods are beans and other legumes.  They are very potassium dense, and are packed with other nutrients.  They are low in sodium to provide maximum benefit for blood pressure and cardiovascular health.  They also will reduce bone loss and lower the chance of kidney stones.

Packed with fiber, 100 grams (about 3 1/2 oz) of beans will provide 2/3 to 3/4 of your daily recommended amount.  They are generally high in soluble fiber, which has a favorable effect on “good” and “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides.  And they are also high in insoluble fiber, which means they speed up the passage of fat and meat through the intestines.

Other minerals, such as magnesium are plentiful.  The recommended daily allowance of 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men can be achieved with between 1/2 and 1 cup of many of the raw legumes.  Remember though, cooking or soaking in water will leach out magnesium and most of the minerals.  To get the maximum mineral benefit, they should be eaten raw, roasted, or microwaved, or the water they were in also should be consumed.

Legumes are one of the carbohydrates foods, providing about 3/4 of their calories from carbohydrates. However, the carbohydrates they contain are bound carbohydrates that have a slower release than the processed carbohydrates made from flour, such as bread, pizza, crackers, chips, noodles, and other products too numerous to name.  The slower release means the spike of blood sugar is replaced by a gently rolling hill of blood sugar without the 2 hour let-down experienced after a spike.

The protein content of many of the legumes is 20 to 25% of the caloric content.  For vegetarians this can be an important source of protein in the diet.  For non-vegetarians it can provide variety in their protein.

Other than peanuts and some of the soybean products, they are low in fat.  Fat usually provides less than 10% of the calories, often less than 5%.  And of course, the saturated fat is usually less than 1%.

Raw they can be made part of a salad, or added to a sandwich, used with other appetizers, pureed to make a dip by adding your favorite herb or seasoning.  Cooked they can be a side dish, or made part of the main dish of chili, burrito stuffing or bean soup, to mention just a few.

When cooked, use the microwave or roast the beans so they do not lose any of the minerals into a fluid. If boiled or cooked in water, serve the liquid since much of the potassium and other minerals leaks into the water.


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