Potassium & Sodium Content of Foods + Tips To Increase Potassium Intake

 Don and I have already discussed why low-sodium, potassium-rich foods are better for long-term health in several previous articles, including: 

Continual consumption of salt, especially in conjunction with low intake of potassium has been associated with increased risk for stroke,  high blood pressure (HBP), hypertension, stomach cancer, senior senility, kidney disease, osteoporosis, allergies, asthma, and obesity.  

Read the above articles to learn more, or check out either of two  books we recommend ~ Salt And The Seven Deadly Ills, by Karel Sporek for a better understanding of the chemistry of salt (sodium + chloride) and potassium, and The Salt Solution, by Herb Boynton to read about earlier research associating salt intake to the above diseases.  

In this post, I share a few charts from Sporek's book showing the mineral content of a sampling of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts, plus the sodium and potassium content of beef, chicken salmon and eggs.

Fortunately,  all natural foods ~ including meats, dairy, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables ~ contain both sodium (with some exceptions) and potassium, with potassium (K) being in much larger quantities than sodium (Na) ~ {K>Na} ~  however the ratio varies among foods. As you'll notice in the lists below, most plant foods contain at least 20 or more times the amount of potassium as sodium!

I've also included a few photos of 'healthy' wraps, and other food items to show the ratio of sodium to potassium is typically inverted ~ with more sodium than potassium.

The rest of this post is a photo gallery of a few of our recent low-sodium, potassium-rich meals ~ for your inspiration, along with links to recipes where applicable.  Pardon a few photos that aren't super clear.

Low-sodium, potassium-rich meals can be savory and flavorful, despite what many may imagine before trying to ditch the salt rabbit.  


POTASSIUM AND SODIUM CONTENT OF FOODS



 Prunes, not shown have 700mg potassium per 100 grams, while raspberries and strawberries have 200mg.





Note that dried shiitake mushrooms are very light, hence 100g would be 
a considerable amount to make that 1500mg of K. Also notice that potatoes and certain beans, including
the either adored or hated soybean are great sources of potassium.

POTASSIUM & SODIUM CONTENT OF A FEW ANIMAL FOODS

  • 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of 85% lean ground beef contains ~285mg of potassium, 65g sodium
  • 100 grams of skinless chicken breast contains ~247mg potassium, 77g sodium (with less of both if consumed with skin)
  • 100g wild Atlantic salmon contains 628mg potassium, 56mg sodium
  • 100g wild Rainbow Trout 448mg potassium, 56mg sodium
  • 100g eggs (2 eggs) have about 125g each of sodium & potassium

 


SODIUM AND POTASSIUM CONTENT OF A FEW PACKAGED FOODS



1 wrap has 350mg of Na.


Split Top Wheat Bread has 105mg of Na, 34mg of K.  Not super high in Na, but still in the inverse of what is ideal, and that is just one slice of bread.  Lunch meats and cheeses are super high in sodium, so total sodium can add up quickly.  Many people also use salted butter.



650mg of sodium per 1/4 pouch, 0g of potassium.  That's a big Ouch!

Simply Nature must be simply fantastic, right?  Well, ingredients are overall much better than most.  It's 
made with organic whole wheat flour combined with org. cracked wheat and several seeds, but there is 150mg Na per slice, with only 107mg of K.  You'll need to get adequate potassium from the rest of your dietary intake to keep the ratio at K>Na v. the other way around.


These protein wraps have 280mg of sodium, and 160mg of potassium per wrap.  It may not seem like much, but this is just for the wrap.  Add any type of lunch meat, cheese, or taco seasoning, and you'll end up with a load of sodium.



As a general rule, try to avoid buying anything that has more sodium than potassium.  

If it's unavoidable due to lack of lower-sodium / salt-free options, then be cognizant when cooking, or preparing what goes inside the wrap, ensuring to avoid adding more high-sodium foods.  

If making a breakfast burrito, for example, cook eggs without salt (eggs already have a good amount of naturally occurring sodium), and add salt-free salsa and avocado which is a great source of potassium.





I'm not sure off hand what this product was anymore, however, with what is available to read, you can see how the package is boasting a value of greatness ~ Chef's...We use only...fill in with your imagination.  YET, take a gander at the ingredients.  Thevery first ingredient listed is modified cornstarch, a non-essential non-nutrient!  There's maltodextrin, coconut oil, salt...hardly anything to boast about.  And, look at the sodium content!  Over 1000mg Na, 215mg K per 1/4 cup dried / 1 cup prepared. How many people using a product like this are only having one cup if it is a meal?  Add to that the sodium intake from other meals, or food items used to prepared meals (canned tomatoes with salt, for example), plus salt used at the table or while cooking.  The sodium:potassium ratio is inverted with 5 x more Na than K!


These products are not even near as high in sodium as most foods ordered out, whether pizza, stir fry, chicken wings, burger and fries, pot pies, tacos, burritos, or even a breakfast omelet.  

Sporek has several charts showing the amount of sodium in many different popular entrees.  It's clear that most Americans ~ and elsewhere ~ consume way more sodium than potassium, far above minimal recommended requirements of about 500mg of sodium per day.

Tips For Increasing Potassium In The Diet


  • Eat more fresh or dried fruit!


Fruit crisps can be made with a variety of different seasonal fresh and/or
dried fruit ~ such as apples, pears, cranberries, dates and/or raisins, as shown above.  
Top with Greek yogurt, and enjoy for breakfast or dessert!






Who can resist fresh, seasonal, locally grown apples in the fall?  
So versatile with many ways to enjoy them!  

Here are a few Naturally Sweetened Apple & Apple Cranberry Sauce Recipes to get you started



Enjoy fruit with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey ~ top with other
optional extras as desired.  Enjoy for breakfast, or as a between meal snack.





Waldorf Salads are one of my favorites.  I love combining apple, raisin, celery, walnuts, yogurt & honey as they create a great combination of crunchier and softer textures. 
I sometimes add 1 tsp. each wheat germ (great source of Vitamin E) and ground flax seeds

  • Increase intake of other potassium-rich foods including regular and sweet potatoes, winter squash, vegetables, meats, poultry and fish!




Winter squash, beef and tomatoes are all great sources of potassium, along with just enough natural sodium found in beef.  Spaghetti Squash w/ Meat Sauce (& cut up green beans on the bottom)

Roast a few types of potatoes together for texture and flavor contrasts
~ Potato & Squash Recipes Here




Pot roast, nicely browned on the outside is a perfect way to add potatoes, carrots, celery
or sweet potatoes to your meal.  Season with rosemary, paprika, cumin, pepper, and a little balsamic 
vinegar.  Comes out great roasted covered on a lower heat.  
Or try this Savory, Salt-Free Beef & Squash Soup/Stew recipe.

Roasted potato slices with onion are a great alternative to salty potato chips!  
Season w/ herbs, like rosemary, smoked paprika or pepper and onion powder ~ 
More potato and squash recipes, here.

  • Look for low-sodium and salt-free breads or tortillas at natural foods stores, or perhaps make a request for a low-sodium bread from a local bakery.  Food For Life brand Ezekiel Low-Sodium Sprouted Grain Bread is a great option, often found in the freezer.


Classic American breakfast, but healthier, with Low-Sodium Ezekiel Sprouted bread, unsalted butter & strawberry preserves, and salt-free scrambled eggs and potatoes

  • Stock up on no-salt added canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce for cooking soups, stews, and making homemade barbecue or other sauces.  

  • Pay more attention to labels, and choose items with more potassium than sodium as much as possible.

  • Stop adding, or begin using less salt when preparing meals.  Use other dried herbs or seasonings instead.  Read labels!  Spice blends like lemon pepper may have salt or other additives! 

I guarantee your tastes will change!  In just a short time of reducing or even eliminating salt, you will come to prefer lower sodium meals!   Salt-free foods taste sweeter ~ like the food, not the salt!  We don't miss the salt at all!  


Look for recipes here and at Live-Fruitfully.com   


Be sure to keep focusing on consuming fresh, whole natural foods, as outlined in the Three Tiers of Foods of Meats and Sweets ~ meats, dairy, eggs, fruits, winter squash, tubers, vegetables and sprouted or whole grains, with some nuts, seeds and other foods added as per your needs and tolerance.