High Potassium Foods — Vegetables
Many vegetables are among the high potassium foods that are also low in sodium. They contribute to lowering blood pressure and thereby lower risk of stroke and heart problems. Studies also have shown a reduction in osteoporosis and kidney stone formation. Being loaded with vitamins, other minerals and nutrients, they will provide significant amounts of the recommended daily allowances in many categories. Many have antioxidants to protect against free radicals. They are filled with fiber, many with both soluble and insoluble fiber, to provide the desirable 25 grams per day. Although they supply calories mostly from carbohydrates, the carbohydrates are bound and thus slow to release and be absorbed, giving them favorable glycemic indices.
The protein content for most vegetables is low, so that you will have to look elsewhere for this macronutrient. The exceptions are mostly legumes, such as beans and lentils. The immature seeds of winged beans are one example that provides about 60% of its calories as protein.
Only a few of the vegetables have much fat. But even in these, the fats are mostly monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, making the fat content heart favorable.
Vegetables can be mixed into meals in multiple ways. Many can be eaten raw. Raw they can be a side dish or part of an appetizer. Almost all of them can be used raw in a salad.
They can be cooked in a variety of ways. Most will preserve the potassium, as well as many of the other nutrients in the food. An advantage of cooking is that it can make many of the nutrients more easily absorbed. However, it will frequently unbind the carbohydrate so it is absorbed more quickly, giving a higher blood sugar peak. The glycemic index of such a food will be increased. If you combine the cooked vegetable with other food that is high in protein and favorable fat, such as nuts, the glycemic index for the meal will be brought back down.
Boiling, or cooking in water, will remove much of the desirable potassium and reduce the healthful qualities contributing to lower blood pressure, less bone loss, and reduced kidney stone formation, unless the water they are boiled in is consumed (as in a soup or chili). However, steaming, baking, roasting, microwaving or grilling will preserve the potassium in the food. Grilling is an often forgotten, quick way to prepare many of the vegetables.
When combined with some of the other high potassium foods, such as lentils, nuts and fruits, they can even be made into a dessert.