The food we eat is not as nutrient dense as it once was (soil depletion), but not everyone wants to take supplements so what do we do? Well first we need to understand what is most important for maintaining optimal health. Is it vitamins? Minerals?
Many holistic health practitioners and nutritional scientists tend to agree the order of importance is as follows: Oxygen, water, enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Nutritionally speaking we need enzymes for digestion or we end up with a whole slew of problems, but these should be occurring naturally when food is chewed thoroughly so that leaves vitamins and minerals… Minerals being more important than vitamins.
So which minerals top the list? Magnesium is considered to be the “master mineral” seeing as it’s involved in over 300 metabolic processes. The general consensus varies as to what is considered the correct dose, most of us are deficient and don’t even realize. Testing is not as accurate as we would think and according to recent research there is an epidemic on the rise but that’s a whole other post.
What about potassium? This is also a vital nutrient, too little can lead to hypokalemia, resulting in irregular heart beat and death. Here is the catch, too much is just as dangerous as too little resulting in hyperkalemia, however this is rare. Having a healthy amount is a preventative measure for autoimmune diseases as well as pain relief for such things as rheumatoid arthritis – when too low it can promote autoimmune disease. Don’t panic yet!
According to Dr. Michael Greger, 98 percent of us are potassium deficient. We all tend to go by the RDA (recommended daily dose of 4700mg/day) which generally are lower than the realistic dose of what is needed. I see this a lot with Vitamin D, Can’t we just agree to disagree? Obvious symptoms of both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia are similar: Nausea, muscle fatigue, limb cramping, and irregular heart rhythms. Makes it hard to know what is what doesn’t it.
So does this means we are all walking around malnourished – gasp! Yes… and no, it’s fixable with a healthy diet rich in greens and various plant foods. Sounds simple enough right? We all know bananas to be a viable source but they aren’t top of the list believe it or not. A baked potato skin has TWICE the potassium of a banana. Check this chart out for a list of potassium rich foods, this should help make life a little easier.
While many physicians are hesitant to recommend potassium supplements (for many cautionary measures) that doesn’t mean eating foods rich in potassium are a bad thing – for a healthy person. As a side note vitamin B12 promotes potassium absorption so supplementing with that could be a good idea.