It’s about damage control. I like my cake, cookies, chips and chocolate like any other warm-blooded American, but I make sure I take care of my body first. My kale/berry smoothie for breakfast, tomatoes and cucumbers at lunch, and salad or broccoli for dinner are my health reinforcements to make up for my splurges of tasty, crunchy morsels during the day. I make sure I fortify my body with enough dietary potassium, a mineral that most Americans under consume.
Dietary Health Concerns
The scientific report from the 2015 dietary guidelines advisory committee concludes:
“Nutrient intake data, together with nutritional biomarker and health outcomes data indicate that vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and fiber are underconsumed and may pose a public health concern. Iron also is a nutrient of public health concern for adolescent and premenopausal females.”
They further conclude:
“Nutrient intake data, together with nutritional biomarker and health outcomes data indicate that sodium and saturated fat are overconsumed and may pose a public health concern.”
We hear a lot on the importance of Vitamin D, calcium and fiber, but why is dietary potassium so important for health?
According to the National Institute on Health our body needs potassium in order to:
- Build proteins
- Break down and use carbohydrates
- Build muscle
- Maintain normal body growth
- Improve heart health by lowering blood pressure
- Improve acid-base balance in the body, with a move towards a more alkali blood pH.
This fabulous article goes into further detail how an alkaline diet, one high in potassium, (particular fruits and veggies), can improve bone health, cardiovascular health, and prevent muscle wasting as we age.
Getting Enough Dietary Potassium
The FDA recommends that adults get at least 3500 mg of potassium based on a 2000 calorie diet. And now the new food labels will include potassium.
The bottom of every food label will now list the amount of dietary potassium. But the best sources of potassium are found in foods with no labels, from mother nature herself – fruits and vegetables. The FDA recommends that we eat at least 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies a day in a variety of colors.
Fortify Your Body
I think life is not about getting things perfect, just better, so I feel better. When I feel good, I’m happier. Focusing on fruits and veggies is a simple way for me to think about food. When I do that right, the rest tends to fall into place. In the winter and early spring, I keep frozen berries and veggies in the frig to add to smoothies, soups, and even casseroles. In the summer I add lots of celery, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions to pasta salads or snack on them raw. I grow a few things in my garden that I feel are the simplest and give me the most bang for my time: tomatoes and lettuce. Fall is wonderful for winter squashes, root veggies, and apples.
I may not eat a lot of cake but I sure do stroke my sweet tooth by making fruit crisps. Often, I just use frozen fruit like sliced mango, but apple is my favorite. A fruit crisp is the perfect solution to getting a serving of fruit and whole grains, while still satisfying that need for a little somein’, somein’! You can have your sweets, and still take care of your health too!