Potassium is a vital mineral for proper bodily functions and it’s one of the most common deficiencies in the US diet today. Many people don’t know that potassium is a key indicator to healthy skin! The reason being is this mineral is a key player in cell integrity by maintaining electrolyte balance and internal fluids – keeping cells hydrated and skin internally moisturized. Potassium is also known for its relation and impact towards blood pressure and a lack of it can be a possible cause of hypertension. Potassium could very well be the “spokes-mineral” for the saying, “you are what you eat,” since it’s a key factor in both internal and external health.
Low potassium levels affect major organs such as the skin. As the potassium levels decrease or stay low, skin cells lose water and can be one of the leading causes of dry skin.
A major issue in most Americans’ diets is that there are not enough fruits and vegetables and too much sodium is consumed. Therefore, many Americans get only half of the required amounts of potassium each day. Eating a diet that is adequate in potassium should include 4700mg for a healthy individual over 18 years old, according to the DRI average intakes. Consuming this amount will make you look and feel more energized and revitalized, especially in the skin’s appearance.
Luckily, there are many delicious foods that are rich in potassium besides a banana! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables while having color in mind is essential. (See our article on eating nutrient-rich, colorful foods.) By ensuring you are consuming different subgroups such as dark green, orange and legume vegetables, you will be providing your body with healthy potassium levels, along with other vitamins and minerals.
Potassium-rich foods include: avocados, potatoes, lima beans, and honeydew melons. One whole baked potato has 844mg of potassium and one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice has 496mg of potassium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Since potassium is a nutrient commonly lost in cooking, it is important to eat produce raw or cooked for a short period of time, in order to receive maximum nutritional value.
Blanching vegetables is a great technique to consume potassium in an efficient and delicious manner. Don’t know what blanching is? It’s easy, just bring a pot of water to a boil and set up a bowl of ice on the side. Place raw vegetables in the boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately transfer them to the ice bath, letting them soak for around a minute. Full and vibrant in color, the nutritional value of the vegetable will still be in tact.
Like always, it’s important to eat your nutrients through foods opposed to consuming them through a supplement. The richness of vitamins and minerals will always be more present in a food.
Yes, you can eat your way to healthy skin with a potassium-rich diet!
Feature photo by keepon. Artwork created by Kristen Arnett.