The prior posts gave a sample of the high potassium foods and recipes used by my wife to reverse her osteoporosis within a year. Although not intended as osteoporosis treatment, her diet brought her bone density back to the normal range. It was especially pertinent since shortly after the osteoporosis reversal she had two falls, one down a flight of stairs and another backwards onto concrete from the height of 2 steps. In both cases she had no broken bones.
Potassium To Sodium Ratio
The recipes were for breakfast, lunch and dinner and gave the potassium and sodium breakdown. Sodium is important because for each milligram of sodium there should be three milligrams of potassium so you get a ratio of 3 to 1 or better of potassium to sodium.
Not every food item needs to have that ratio, but the meal should. And the day's total of potassium and sodium should. In addition, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended getting 4700 mg of potassium a day and less than 1500 mg of sodium a day.
Osteoporosis Treatment Or Prevention
There is solid evidence that following these parameters will reduce blood pressure if you are hypertensive and prevent osteoporosis. Diet is not mentioned as osteoporosis treatment though. But in my wife's case her high potassium diet actually reversed her osteoporosis. After having a bone density test showing osteoporosis, she reached normal vertebral bone density within a year.
Her typical day's diet was reported in the last three posts. The total for the day was 7270 mg of potassium and 661 mg of sodium. This gives more than a 10 to 1 ratio with the amounts of both potassium and sodium well within the guideline.
Snacks Can Add Potassium To Your Diet
In addition to the 3 formal meals, she has snacks daily. These provided 1645 mg of potassium on the day sampled. She is in the habit of eating high potassium foods as snacks, leaving several out on the table to snack on. The right snacks can add a lot of potassium to the total for the day.
Spices are a great source of potassium and can add several hundred milligrams of potassium. They can be added to flavor a meal or a snack. If most of your food has a strong potassium to sodium ratio, you can eat some food items with a poor ratio and still remain within the guidelines for the day. Spices are a great way to boost the ratio.
Nuts are an excellent way to add a lot of potassium in a small volume and improve the ratio of potassium to sodium. They can be eaten with a meal or as a snack. With the meal they can be eaten as a separate dish or mixed into a sauce or into another dish, such as an egg omelet or salad.
Although she did not eat any legumes on the day sampled, beans are another great source of potassium. Just a few ounces of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) can provide a great deal of potassium. Baking them with some of your favorite spices, you can leave them at a convenient place for snacking. The post here describes how to do that.
Another convenient high potassium snack is a potato cut into thin slices and then baked with your favorite spices. These home-made potato chips are high in potassium and don't have the fat found in the commercial brands.
Make High Potassium Foods A Habit
After a couple weeks of eating high potassium foods, eating high potassium foods will become a habit. A large majority of natural foods are high in potassium. Check the label of a processed food and avoid it if it is high in sodium. Decide which of the high potassium foods you like as a snack, and leave those you like out on the table so they are convenient to snack on.
Be Happy, Don't Worry
Many people get worried about the exact amount of potassium in a food or dish. If you are well within the IOM guidelines the exact amount is not so important. When you get 7200 mg of potassium in a day your calculations would have to be way off to be less than 4700 mg. The same is true with sodium. If you only get about 700 mg of sodium, the amounts used in the calculation would have to be way off to bring your total above 1500 mg.
So don't get hung up on the exact numbers of potassium and sodium in a particular food item. After the first 2 weeks, my wife rarely calculated the potassium or sodium in a meal. If the food is new to her, she will check the amounts of potassium and sodium on one of the tables on this website or in the PDFs that you can have sent to you.
Diet should be a part of osteoporosis treatment. Sometimes diet can be the entire treatment. It is not as hard as you think to reverse hypertension or osteoporosis.