If you ever get looped into a text messaging session with me, you may end up regretting it. I know that texts lack the subtle nuances of conversation, but in my world being able to stream conscious thoughts and posing questions quickly to my inner circle is my communication crutch. Unfortunately, that also means that in moments requiring explanation or elaboration of topic, some people find themselves on the receiving end of my rants.
Like yesterday -- a friend of mine inquired about the green smoothie I regramed on Instagram, lamenting the difficulty of finding a green smoothie he liked. I quickly responded with my new go-to recipe for green smoothies:
1/2 cup orange juice + 1/2 cup milk + 1 scoop unflavored whey protein powder + 1 cup loosely packed spinach + 3/4 cup frozen fruit.
Works. Every. Time.
"Any substitute for the milk? I'm not doing white foods."
<insert major Regan eye roll here>
I could hardly contain my frustration in my response. Actually, I didn't contain my frustration. I quickly typed a million plus reasons (give or take a few) this was a bad idea. It was a long rant, and I'm sure he was left thinking he wished he'd never gone there... but seriously, I can't believe this "white food" myth still exists. But it does... and that's a great reason to pick up today's topic: Surprising Sources of Potassium
I asked Lindsay a week or so ago to comb through the gallery and find our top choices for potassium packed foods that you wouldn't expect. I mean, we all know that bananas are good sources of potassium... we learned that the first time we had a leg cramp as a kid and our mom had us eat a banana. But the reality is that the food world is rich in potassium containing foods, even if our diets often aren't. In fact, potassium is enough of a concern that proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts panel would replace vitamins A and C in favor of potassium and vitamin D.
Why all the concern?
At the very root of nutritional biochemistry, potassium literally helps keep our hearts beating. It's a crucial electrolyte and one that the body regulates tightly. But the heart health benefits of potassium really go beyond a simple heart beat (although that's pretty damn important, you know?) Diets rich in potassium are linked to better blood pressure and more favorable cholesterol. It may be an old message, but it's still true -- heart disease is THE number one killer of both women and men in this country. Don't discount the importance of a heart healthy diet. Period.
So, that brings us back to yesterday's "No White Food" text saga. Three of the five food sources of potassium we've chosen below are all -- you guessed it, white. I've added a little note for each of them to expand on why these were such good choices. And here they are:
Potatoes were my top choice for the list, primarily because they get such a bad rap as being nothing more than a carb avoiders nightmare. But potatoes are so far from an empty-calorie starch! They're actually nutrient-rich (yes, even inside the skin), including not only potassium, but also vitamin C, vitamin B6, dietary fiber and magnesium. And the biggest plus? They're crowd pleasers. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't enjoy savoring a spud. I realize that we're always trying to get people to expand their vegetable horizons, but let's not overlook those cherished veggies that people already enjoy eating.
2. White Beans
Butternut & Lentil Collard Wraps via Food Fitness & Fresh Air
Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos via Lemons & Basil
Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna via The Veg Life
Southwestern Style Stuffed Spaghetti Squash via Simply Healthy Family
Yeah, so all these veggies seem pretty obvious, right? But DYK that dairy is actually a really good source of potassium, too? (Clearly my friend didn't, hence the milk avoidance question. *second eye roll of the day*). In fact, yogurt contains a nice trio of heart healthy nutrients -- calcium, magnesium and potassium. So while we often think of yogurt for bones, this particular mineral trio is good for blood pressure. Perhaps my favorite part of yogurt on this list, though, is the fact that it's a fermented food and offers a healthy dose of good bacteria for your GI system.
So what about you -- Are you hearing the "white food avoidance" argument lately? What's your favorite potassium-rich food, other than bananas?