Building on my recent series exploring common nutrient inadequacies among the general public, today my gaze turns to potassium & fibre.
I’ve chosen to group them together because, as is often the case, it is a very similar core group of foods that are high in both of them.
They are also both incredibly important nutrients to consume more of to help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a well known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the medication used to treat it is among the most frequently prescribed in Canada.
While potassium is a well known blood pressure reducing mineral, it is also the case that a higher dietary fibre intake can additionally contribute to blood pressure lowering.
This is important to acknowledge, particularly for men because they tend to consume excessive amounts of sodium which is the primary driver of high blood pressure.
If you’d like to learn what the top 5 sources of sodium in your diet are, read my piece on that topic as well.
With that said, let’s get right into the good stuff.
Potassium & Fibre – The Heavy Hitters
There are 6 key families of foods you need to have on your radar to ensure adequacy in your fibre & potassium intake.
Leafy Greens – Such as spinach, chard, beet greens and KALE.
Legumes – Such as lentils, lima beans and white beans.
Starchy Veg – Especially squash/sweet potato, yam but skin-on classic potatoes of all types work too.
Other Veg – Particularly various types of zucchini, tomatoes and mushrooms (crimini, oyster, white button especially).
Fruit – Especially banana, plantain as well as oranges and kiwi (Kiwi may also help with constipation).
Healthy Fats – Including avocado as well as hemp, chia, flax, pistachios and almonds.
Bonus ( No Fibre, High Potassium) – Salmon, mackerel (also contain omega-3s which lower blood pressure further) and yogurt ( high potassium, can easily add nuts/seeds + banana)
More Reasons To Care
Adequate fibre and potassium intake are fundamental for good health not least of which for the fact that the foods that contain them also inevitably contain several other beneficial compounds and nutrients.
And that is, to be perfectly honestly only the tip of the iceberg.
If you need professional support to make these foods a bigger part of your daily routine – you know who to call.
Andy De Santis RD MPH