High Potassium Foods — Fruits

 

Many fruits are among the high potassium foods.  They have the health advantages of the high potassium foods – promotion of lower blood pressure, a lower risk of stroke and cardiac disease, improved bone density, and less risk of kidney stone. Some have been show to lower cholesterol. Most have low fat content. Those that do have a high fat content have heart healthy fats, being low in saturated fat.  Although most are almost completely carbohydrate, they generally have a low to moderate glycemic index. They are high in fiber, improving intestinal flow to prevent digestive by-product build-up. Many have multiple phytochemicals that are antioxidants, helping to overcome the free radicals that can cause so much damage to the body.

Because of the sweetness of many fruits, the concern of many people is whether they cause worse control of blood sugar. For the fruits among the high potassium foods, the blood sugar effect is usually favorable. Only a few have a high glycemic index. 

The glycemic index for avocado, kumquat, loganberry, mulberry, raspberries, and rhubarb is zero. When added to any meal, they will slow the absorption of sugar, and flatten the sugar spike. Many of the others have a low glycemic index. Apples, banana, blueberries, cherries, custard apple, dates, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, mango, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, plum, prunes, and strawberries all have a low glycemic index, being less than 55. Litchis and watermelon have slightly high glycemic indices, being 79 and 76 respectively.

Avocados are the only raw fruit with a large amount of fat. But avocados have heart healthy fats, and have been used in medical studies to reduce cholesterol, and improve the HDL/LDL ratio (1). 

The fiber content varies from a small amount of 0.4 gm in 100 gm of watermelon to 10 gm in 100 gm of passion fruit, with most falling between 3 gm and 8 gm. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 25 to 35 grams.  The dried or dehydrated fruits have a higher percentage of their weight as fiber than the fresh raw fruit.

Many of these fruits in the high potassium foods family are high in vitamins A and C, and polyphenols. These are felt to counter excessive free radicals. This may be part of the reason why fresh fruits and vegetables reduce cardiovascular disease and some cancers in populations that eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

These fruits all can be made a delicious part of every meal and snack.  They can be eaten raw as a snack, or as a part of a meal, raw or cooked, whether comprising the main course or final dish.

1. Lopez Ledesma, R; Frati Munari, A C : Hernandez Dominguez, B C : Cervantes Montalvo, S : Hernandez Luna, M H : Juarez, C : Moran Lira, S (1996 Winter). “Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia”. Arch-Med-Res. 27 (4): 519–23. PMID 8987188.

 

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