High Potassium Foods

High potassium foods, low potassium foods and associated potassium symptoms info


Longevity In Sicani

There are quite a few pockets of longevity throughout the world. The long lived people in these pockets seem to have a number of characteristics in common. A recent article (1) about one such pocket, Sicani, gives interesting insight into some of the factors contributing to longevity.

Sicani Is A Pocket Of Longevity

MontiSicaniMap260x191 Longevity In SicaniSicani is an area in the West of Sicily. It has 4.32 times as many people over 100 years of age as the rest of Italy. The area is mountainous, and the people are physically active throughout their life. They are lacking obesity, are small in stature, and have a normal BMI. Their diet has a Mediterranean nutritional profile.

There are multiple Mediterranean diets. Each region in the Mediterranean has a unique dietary profile. The researchers studied the diet of the people in Sicani to describe their particular Mediterranean profile.

What They Eat In Sicani

Seasonal plant food comprises the bulk of the diet in Sicani. The people eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes when in season throughout the year. They have some dairy every day, and have a small amount of meat. They eat only a small amount of refined carbohydrates, with no white bread, and only a little pasta. The amount of pasta is less than one ounce and contributes only 200 calories a day.

Their main source of carbohydrates and calories comes from fruits, vegetables and legumes. There are no snacks, sweets, or sweet beverages. And their main source of fat is virgin olive oil.

Other Factors

Some of the factors these people have in common with other long lived people are unrelated to diet. These centenarians remain physically active throughout their lives. Their BMI is in the normal range, being mostly between 19 and 27. They do not have any excessive fat on their body. They also do not smoke and they limit the amount of wine that they drink.

What Is The Common Dietary Factor?

However, what the people of Sicani do not have in common with other pockets of longevity are the individual items in their diet. The foods in their diet differ from the foods in the diets of other long lived non-Mediterranean populations. What the diet does have in common with the diet in other pockets of longevity, though, is that it has a high potassium sodium ratio.

Although the article did not directly calculate the amount of potassium and sodium in their diet, the types of foods that the people of Sicani eat would indicate that they have a high ratio diet. They do not eat canned vegetables, but rather eat the vegetables and fruits as they come from the ground. This means their food is not preserved in sodium or salt as is so often the case in more developed areas. They eat few baked goods so they avoid the sodium of baking soda and baking powder.

Fresh fruits and vegetables almost universally have a high potassium sodium ratio. We have discussed here and here about the high ratio in fruits and vegetables respectively, and their functional aspect here.

Most dairy has a ratio over 3, as does most poultry and meat that is not processed. As a group, legumes average an especially high ratio of potassium to sodium. The ratio for red wine is 31.

This is not to say that the high potassium to sodium ratio in their diet is the only factor contributing to their longevity. Their physical activity, absence of excess body fat, abstinence from smoking, limited alcohol intake, and supportive social structure are also factors shared with other pockets of longevity.

A lot of factors have to come together to get you past 100 years of age. And one of the big factors is eating a high ratio diet.  You can find tables of potassium and sodium values in fruits, vegetables and legumes at the links.

1. Centenarians and diet: what they eat in the Western part of Sicily. Vasto S, Rizzo C, Caruso C. Immun Ageing. 2012 Apr 23;9(1):10. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-9-10.

Eliminate Most Processed Foods To Start A High Potassium Foods Diet

There are many ways to start a diet consisting of high potassium foods. Probably the best and most thorough way to start is by making a list of what you eat now and finding high potassium food substitutes. However there are multiple other easier ways to start. One way that is relatively easy is to eliminate the obviously processed foods. These are the foods that come in boxes, cans, or plastic wrap. Sodium is usually added to prolong shelf life.

CannedFood Eliminate Most Processed Foods To Start A High Potassium Foods Diet

Boxed Foods

What are some of the foods that come in boxes? These include ready-to-eat cereals, chips, crackers, and multiple other dry foods. The processing of these foods inevitably involves adding sodium chloride – salt. With few exceptions these are all high sodium and low potassium foods.

What foods can be substituted for these? The best substitutes are whole foods. For ready-to-eat cereals, whole oats can be substituted. For chips, you can substitute homemade potato chips. By slicing a potato into thin slices and coating with a little bit of olive oil, you can bake the slices to result in a crispy high potassium snack with no added salt.

Substituting whole-grain foods for some of the dry foods can be done with a little creativity. For example, quinoa or another high potassium grain can be substituted in many dishes for most types of pasta. Cooked rice (not instant or polished – they have a poor ratio) has a good potassium sodium ratio, but loses much of its potassium when cooked. Although the ratio is good, the amount of potassium you get is small.

Canned Foods

The majority of canned foods, whether vegetables, fruits, or legumes, will be high in sodium. Substituting the fresh whole variety will markedly shift the potassium sodium ratio. An alternative is to look for canned foods that show 0 mg or a very small amount of sodium on the label. Although most fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes are high potassium foods, their canned varieties are not.

Plastic Wrap

Many of the foods that are wrapped in plastic are high in sodium. However if a high potassium food in the plastic bag is fresh and simply washed, it should still be a high potassium food. Many vegetables and fruits are now coming wrapped in plastic. Often poultry and fish that are only frozen without other preservatives may come wrapped. But check the amount of sodium on the label. Sometimes they have been injected with salt for additional shelf life.

Low Sodium Alternatives

Because of the emphasis on low-sodium diets, more and more low-sodium alternatives are being found in boxed, canned and plastic wrapped varieties. If the label says there is no sodium, it may be an acceptable high potassium food. However if it simply says reduced sodium or low-sodium, be sure to check the label for the amount of sodium. A reduced sodium teriyaki sauce or soy sauce will still have a great deal of sodium.

High Potassium Foods Breakfast As A Start

In the last post we talked about replacing your usual snacks with nuts. It is an easy way to start a high potassium diet and improve your potassium sodium ratio. But there are many ways to start the high potassium foods diet. Another good way is to replace your present breakfast with a high potassium foods breakfast.
Croissant280x186 High Potassium Foods Breakfast As A Start

Replace Poor Ratio Breakfast Items

Many breakfasts consist of foods with a poor potassium sodium ratio. Sausages, bacon, or other processed meats, ready-to-eat cereals, baked goods such as biscuits, muffins or toast, pancakes and waffles, and cheese omelettes all have a poor ratio.

These breakfasts can be easily replaced with a high potassium foods breakfast. The first consideration is to decide what items in your breakfast have the most sodium and the least potassium. Then replace these foods with high potassium foods. The breakfast items that we mentioned above have a very poor ratio. Replacing these with high potassium foods will improve your ratio for the entire day.

Better Breakfast Meats

Replacing cured ham with uncured ham or grilled poultry will provide a breakfast meat with a good ratio. If you can’t do without sausage, make your own. Commercial sausages have a horrible ratio. The Mayo Clinic has a recipe here for 12 breakfast patties with only 22 mg of sodium per patty. It even has advice on making the patties mild or spicy.

Better Breakfast Cereals

There are a few ready-to-eat cereals that have a high ratio but most are extremely poor. Replacing the ready-to-eat cereal with a high ratio cereal or a hot cereal consisting of rolled oats (old-fashioned oats) is a good way to start. Fruit or nuts or cinnamon can be added for an even higher ratio. Rolled oats have a very high ratio and can provide a lot of potassium in a cup. Other cereals with a high ratio can be found here (for ready to eat) and here (for hot).

Fruit Is A Good Way To Start

Another way to start would be to make a fruit smoothie. Almost any combination of fruit will provide a high ratio breakfast. Thickness of the smoothie can be controlled by adding nonfat milk or yogurt (watch out for added sugar). These will maintain a higher ratio than adding water. Orange juice or orange juice concentrate will increase the ratio even more than dairy. Find tables of high ratio fruit and fruit juice here and here.

Of course you don’t need to make fruit into a smoothie. It can taste great in its natural state. Fruit can be eaten raw as an individual fruit, or cut up and mixed with other fruit. Mixing honey dew melon, cantaloupe, mango, papaya and pineapple in various combinations is very popular.

Skip The Usual Baked Goods

It is important to skip the baked goods such as biscuits, muffins, toast, pancakes, waffles or croissants. These all have very poor ratios in the most common versions. There are “no sodium” alternatives for some of them, but some that call themselves “no salt” or “low sodium” still have more sodium than potassium. Check the label for sodium amount. Replacing the usual butter or jelly condiment with a high potassium alternative such as almond butter, molasses or some types of marmalade can help only a little.

High Potassium Omelette

Eggs by themselves do not have a good ratio, but can be combined with high ratio foods to provide a high ratio breakfast. Adding cheese to make an omelette makes it a very poor ratio breakfast. Almost all cheeses have a poor potassium sodium ratio. However adding vegetables and herbs such as red or green pepper, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes and spices can make an egg omelette a high ratio food.

Doing this each day is a great way to begin the switchover to a diet of high potassium foods. To find tables that will give you potassium content of food so you can choose what to eat for breakfast can be found by clicking the List of Posts tab at the top of the page.

Benefits Of Nuts To Start A High Potassium Foods Diet

Nut consumption by the average American has been slowly increasing, but remains quite low. This is at the same time that snacking has doubled in America. The health benefits of nuts are poorly understood. Part of the reason that nut consumption is low may be a concern about weight gain from the high fat content of nuts. Many people still believe that eating fat makes you fat.

Almonds43Gm Benefits Of Nuts To Start A High Potassium Foods Diet

43 g of almonds

However studies have been done on the effect of nuts on health and weight gain. We discussed here, here, and here some studies that were done on weight gain. This recent study (1) is another that looked at weight gain from nuts, as well as the effect on some aspects of health and appetite.

The Study

This study was a randomized, controlled, parallel arm study that included 137 participants. The researchers divided the participants into groups that ate nuts with meals or as a snack in between meals. And they included a control group that did not eat nuts. The nuts they chose were almonds. Each participant consumed 43 g of almonds a day.

43 g was probably chosen because it is one and a half ounces. In 2003 the FDA approved a claim that could be put on package labels that included this quantity. “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

This particular study lasted four weeks. The participants were all prone to developing diabetes and its associated diseases. The researchers looked at the glucose tolerance test, and blood tests associated with coronary heart disease. They also checked on weight gain, increase in waist size, and increase in body fat.

Benefits Of Nuts In The Study

At the end of 4 weeks they found that those who ate almonds had no increase in weight or body fat. They also had improved glucose tolerance tests, meaning less likelihood of diabetes compared to the control group. The researchers found that when taken as a snack, the participants ate less at meals. When taken at meals, portions were adjusted. Participants’ weight remained stable because there was no increase in caloric intake.

One Way To Start A High Potassium Foods Diet

This research shows that a good way to start a high potassium foods diet could be to simply substitute almonds for whatever snack you eat today. Simply by doing this you will be improving your potassium to sodium ratio, your glucose tolerance, and your cardiac blood tests. And you would not have to worry about gaining weight or body fat.

The participants got tired of the nuts, though. At the end of the study, they reported that they liked almonds slightly less than they had before.

Like the participants, if you only eat almonds, you may tire of the taste also. But other nuts should give benefits similar to almonds. Simply rotate other nuts into the snack. They all have high potassium sodium ratios and similar fatty acid profiles. Only coconut has a high percentage of saturated fat.

What Is Responsible For The Health Benefits Of Nuts?

Almost all nuts have a high potassium sodium ratio. Almonds are among the highest. The benefits of nuts on health that come from this high ratio are almost never considered when nuts are studied. The assumption is that the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the major factor involved in the health benefits of nuts.

Although the fat composition is important, studies should try to separate the health benefits attributable to the potassium sodium ratio. Changing the average American’s diet by substituting 43 g of nuts iso-calorically with other foods would improve the potassium sodium ratio from 0.8 to 0.9. Increasing nut consumption iso-calorically to 1 cup a day would increase the ratio to 1.3, without any other change in diet.

One Way The Potassium Sodium Ratio Helps The Heart

As discussed in this post, going from 0.6 to 1.3 in the potassium sodium ratio results in going from heart muscle cell death to no effect on heart muscle cells. Changing the ratio just this much would drop the rate of hypertension and cardiovascular disease dramatically.

But eating a cup a day of nuts by themselves would make many people quickly tire of the taste of nuts. There are other ways to include nuts in the diet. Instead of just eating nuts as a snack, make a nut butter or a paste. Then you can put it on other foods such as bananas, waffles, or pancakes. Add some spice to the butter, such as garlic or cinnamon, and use it as a dip for raw vegetables or fruit as a snack. Almond paste with cocoa and mint can be combined into a delicious dessert.

Watch Out For Additives

But make the butter yourself. If you buy a commercial brand be careful it is pure. Most commercial almond butters and other nut butters have palm oil added. Half of palm oil is saturated fat. Coconut oil is even worse. It is almost all saturated fat.

The saturated fat reduces much of the health value of the nut butter. We have discussed here how polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats improve cell membranes, and thus improve cardiovascular health compared to saturated fats. A pure almond butter can be found here on Amazon.

So if you’re trying to find a simple way to start a high potassium foods diet think about using nuts as a snack.

For Potassium Tables

If you are looking for tables of potassium content in food, click on the List Of Posts tab at the top of the page. It will take you to a page with links to food tables by food group.
1. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial. Tan SY, Mattes RD. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1205-14. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.184. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Hot Sauce Video

How hot sauce is hot – an interesting three and a half minute video from the American Chemical Society. It starts out with explaining that the chemical in hot sauce stimulates the receptors in our mouth that normally notice actual heat. This is the reason the chemical seems hot. People like it because it leads to an endorphin release making us feel good after the burning goes away.

A Heat Scale

Then it compares the different peppers for how much “heat” they produce. Over 100 years ago Wilbur Scoville devised a scale for determining the heat. It went from 0 (a bell pepper) to 16 million for pure capsaicin.

The scale was subjective, so other methods of measuring heat were devised. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is a method that uses American Spice Trade Association Pungency Units. One pungency unit equals one part per million of capsaicin, and is equivalent to 1/15 Scoville units.

How Hot Is It?

Sriracha sauce ranges from 1000 to 2500 Scoville units. Jalapeno pepper is about 4000 units. Tabasco sauce is about 2500 to 5000 units. But if you are really looking for heat, a habanero pepper has 350,000 units.

The potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite in sriracha prolongs shelf life, helping it keep its color. The sorbate reduces microbe growth and the bisulfite slows oxidation. The salt, garlic and vinegar it contains also slow microbial growth. One problem – it has 100 mg sodium in a tsp and an unknown amount of potassium.

Homemade Hot Sauce

I prefer homemade sauces. They have less sodium and you can control the heat and flavor more. For a great habanero hot sauce recipe so you can avoid sodium and get plenty of potassium, go to http://allrecipes.com/recipe/habanero-hot-sauce/
Original recipe – makes 3 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 habanero peppers
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tomato
Some reviewers felt it needed modifying by reducing the amount of water and tomatoes. You always have to modify recipes to make them your own.

Hidden Sugar Video

There are plenty of places that sugar can be readily seen. Everyone knows it is in soda, candy, cookies and desserts. However this only accounts for one half the sugar that we eat every day. The other half is hidden sugar in places you may never suspect. This Ted-Ed video from Dr. Lustig points out how to become aware of this hidden sugar.

The places sugar often hides include such foods as ketchup, spaghetti sauce, soy milk, sports drinks, and peanut butter. In fact added sugar is in three fourths of the items in a grocery store. Most packaged foods have hidden sugar.

Hidden Sugar In Plain Sight

Part of the reason that sugar is so hard to see is that it has so many names. Don’t expect to see “sugar” on the label. The label may list any of 56 aliases for sugar. And even the aliases have nicknames. If you want to know the 56 aliases, watch for them across the bottom of the screen.

When several different types of sugar are used in a product, you may think that you’re not getting so much sugar. You may not notice some of the aliases on the label. But if you add them all up, you will see how much you really are getting.

Upper Limit For Sugar

There is no FDA recommendation on an upper limit for sugar. However the World Health Organization recommends that sugar only account for 5% of your total calories in a day. For most people this is about 25 grams (about an ounce). One of the problems not mentioned in the video, but which has been pointed out by Dr. Lustig in some of his talks is that in 1900 the average American only got 15 grams of fructose (a worrisome form of sugar) in a day, but today gets 55 grams a day. And many people exceed the 55 grams. Just one soda can contain 40 to 60 grams of sugar, more than half as fructose.

Difference Between Two Types Of Sugar

There is a big difference between glucose and fructose, and it is fructose that really needs to be limited. The video points out the chemical difference between glucose and fructose. It shows that glucose has a 6 carbon ring, whereas fructose has only a 5 carbon ring. This different structure means that these two sugars are processed differently in the body.

Fructose in the diet is an area that Dr. Lustig has written about in the medical literature. His work has shown the damage that fructose may be responsible for. However this aspect of sugar is only slightly referred to in the video. To read an abstract of an article he wrote in the medical literature, click here.

The video points out that glucose can be used by all organs in our body. But fructose is metabolized in the liver where it is turned into fat molecules. The main problem occurs when the liver gets too much fructose too quickly. It then starts to form fatty deposits in the liver cells. Eventually the fatty deposits cause the liver to stop working.

Fructose is also found in fruit. But in fruit fructose is bound to fiber. Fiber slows the absorption so that liver cells are not overwhelmed. For more discussion of fructose, click here. For a Table showing how much fructose is in different fruit, as well as a discussion, click here.

Why Is Sugar Added To Food?

Part of why sugar has become present in so many foods is that it is used as a preservative which allows food to be shipped and stay on the shelf longer. This is the same reason salt came to be used in so many packaged foods. On this post you will find a video that discussed another reason sugar is added – its effect on our brain.

The video then discusses what foods added sugar is not in. This is the 25% of food in the grocery store that you should be eating – the natural, unprocessed foods.

Evaluate Scientific Studies In The News – Video

This latest herb reduces blood pressure. This latest drug stops osteoporosis. This superfood prevents cancer. All are backed up by scientific studies. Every day we are presented with these kind of headlines in the news. This Ted-Ed video provides some very nice basic information about how to evaluate scientific studies in the news.

It starts out by pointing out that studies on animals or cells only point the way for further research. These studies provide hypotheses that can be tried on humans. Only human studies can tell you about the effects on humans. The video discusses the gold standard for scientific studies as a randomized clinical trial. Many experts would add that the trial should be double blinded so that neither the participants nor the researchers know which group is which.

FDA Criteria

It points out that for drugs and medical devices the FDA usually requires two randomized controlled trials for approval. However because this is not practical in all circumstances, epidemiological studies are sometimes needed. Epidemiological studies compare two groups that differ concerning the variable that is being studied.

Overcoming Flaws

However an epidemiological study has inherent flaws. It can only show a correlation and not causation. For this reason multiple studies are required. The strongest evidence of causation is found by satisfying Hill’s criteria. See the post here for a discussion of Hill’s criteria. To read the original article by Hill click here.

The video discusses that there are many confounding variables that may coexist in epidemiological studies and give some good examples. Many times the studies will try to correct for the confounding variables with statistical methods. Even so, to satisfy Hill’s criteria multiple studies by multiple researchers in multiple locations under multiple circumstances are needed.

To seriously evaluate an epidemiological study, Hill’s criteria need to be satisfied. However as a good way to evaluate all the scientific studies presented in the news on a daily basis, this video gives you good guidelines.

Ice Cream Softness Video

If you are into making your own ice cream, this video will show you how to control ice cream softness. It’s a fun video from the American Chemical Society about what makes ice cream hard or soft. Ice cream and most other dairy products are high potassium foods that can help you lower blood pressure, strengthen bones, and reduce your chances of kidney stones. If you are interested in finding out how much potassium and sodium are in ice cream and other dairy products, click here for a table of high potassium dairy foods and here for ice cream.

The video has a fun demonstration of three ways to make ice cream of different hardness. It explains that the hardness of the ice cream is related to the size of the ice crystals that form when it is being made. The smaller the ice crystals the softer the ice cream. The two main ways to keep ice crystals small are to use an emulsifier and to freeze the crystals quickly.

The three ways that they demonstrate start with the older method that I learned as a kid, using an ice cream maker and slow freezing. This results in a hard ice cream because of the size of ice crystals that it makes. They also discuss using salt to freeze the ice cream at a lower temperature, which makes it a little bit softer. And then finally they use liquid nitrogen to freeze it at a very low temperature so that the ice crystals form extremely quickly resulting in a very soft ice cream. Not very practical for most of us.

Because ice cream is cold the taste buds do not taste its ingredients as much as if it were warm. For this reason, often sugar is added. So be sure to check the label of ice cream you do not make yourself, and be careful about how much sugar a serving contains. The video also talks about how the rating of ice cream depends on its fat content. In order to be called ice cream it must have at least 10% fat. To be called premium ice cream it needs 20% fat. Personally I go for ice milk or frozen yogurt when I don’t make it myself.

Garlic’s Effects – Video

It is delicious, healthy, and can ward off werewolves and vampires. What more do you need to know? Find out in two minutes with this video about garlic’s effects from the American Chemical Society.

Although it does not discuss that garlic is one of the high potassium foods with a potassium sodium ratio of 34, it does discuss other facts about garlic, such as why you get garlic breath. Most compounds with sulfur have a bad smell. For example, hydrogen sulfide is what gives rotten eggs their bad smell. Some of the sulfur containing compounds in garlic change to bad smelling compounds when the garlic clove is chopped. One of these bad smelling compounds is broken down in the body at a much slower rate than the rest, diallyl disulfide. It is excreted in bodily fluids such as sweat and the water vapor in our breath.

GarlicsEffects Garlics Effects   VideoBut the video also tells you how to combat garlic breath. Drink some milk or eat some parsley at the same time as eating garlic. The video doesn’t mention that the milk should be mixed in the mouth with the garlic containing dish. It does not work as well when drunk afterward. The parsley only works for a short time. So another alternative is to take a sauna to sweat out the compounds.

The video mentions that garlic is good for your health, but then goes into how some of the compounds in garlic can kill bacteria. This is not the basis for the favorable health effects. Garlic had been used before the modern era of antibiotics to try to prevent gangrenous infections and as a disinfectant, but there are better alternatives today.

There have been many clinical trials with garlic’s effects in medical conditions. It has been found to reduce the formation of cholesterol plaques in arteries, to improve blood lipid profiles (reducing cholesterol and triglycerides), to lower homocysteine levels, and to reduce blood pressure in treated but uncontrolled hypertension.

The sulfur containing compounds may have something to do with these effects, but many of the same effects are associated with an improved dietary potassium sodium ratio also. It is difficult to separate the effects of the sulfur compounds from the effects of the improved ratio.

What about werewolves and vampires? We are unaware of any controlled studies, so you will have to research this on your own.

To go to Youtube to watch the video, click here.

Tables Of Spices And Other Foods

To find a table with the potassium and sodium content of garlic and other spices, click here. To find a list of posts containing tables of other foods and their potassium and sodium content, click here.

Sugar’s Brain Effect- Video

Another TED-Ed video – about sugar’s brain effect. Why sugar is so desired. Why food companies put it in so many foods. How our brain works to have us seek it out almost addictively and not get bored of it like we do with many healthy foods.

First it explains the kinds of molecules that are sugar. And it goes into the different types of sugar and the different names that sugar has. These are the words that you would look for on the food label to know if sugar has been added.

It also discusses some of the foods that sugar is added to, so that you are not looking just at desserts and other foods that you expect sugar to be in. In fact it is added to almost all of our packaged foods. It’s in “healthy” granola and “healthy” yogurt. You really cannot go by descriptive words such as healthy, organic, or natural. You have to look at the labels to check the amount of sugar.

Sugar’s Brain Effect

However, the best part of the video is when it begins to discuss how sugar affects our brain. This explains why companies so often add it to foods in ever-increasing amounts, and why added sugar should be avoided except on occasion.

SugarsBrainEffect Sugars Brain Effect  VideoIt gives a good general explanation of the brain’s reward system. Without too much scientific wording it explains that we have receptors in various parts of the brain which communicate with each other to give varying amounts of reward sensations. It also explains that there are also sugar receptors in our gut that signal the feeling of fullness and signal the secretion of insulin. The insulin is needed to push the sugar in our bloodstream into our cells.

The video goes into how the neural signaling molecule dopamine is found throughout this reward system, and discusses how it works. A healthy meal with a low level of sugar leads to a reward spike of dopamine. But with repeated healthy meals there is less and less dopamine secreted when the food is the same.

Some foods do not lead to any spike at all in dopamine. These are the foods we have little craving for. Broccoli hardly causes a blip. Now you know why our kids don’t want broccoli.

This reward spike is followed by less secretion of dopamine when each meal is the same. To keep getting dopamine spikes we seek a variety of foods. Overall this is a healthy desire. By getting a variety of foods, we get a variety of nutrients. This way we are more likely to get all the essential nutrients we need.

Sugar on the other hand causes a spike every time just like a new meal. No matter how often we eat sugar, every time is like the first time. We get a big spike of dopamine in our brain’s reward system. Sugar never gets boring to our brain.

With this knowledge we can come up with a better plan for our meals. We can avoid the boredom that occurs when eating the same basic food items, when avoiding added sugar, or when avoiding salt. By using a different spice or flavor combination at each meal we can add enough variety that we should continue to get a strong spike of dopamine to keep our brain happy.

Potassium Tables

If you are looking for tables with the potassium content of a food item, click on the List Of Posts tab at the top of the page. Figure out what food group your food of interest is in. Then look for the post that mentions that food group and has the word “table” in it. Click on the link to that post and look for your food of interest in the table.



Two excellent books about high potassium foods and blood pressure reduction are available on Amazon. The first is a practical guide to changing your diet to a high potassium foods diet. It is helpful even if you do not have hypertension. The second is a scientific explanation of the diet. It discusses the changes to your body that occur with high potassium foods.

Practical Guide

Scientific Explanation

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