Want to keep your heart healthy? Try these six important foods
A lot of people have one major problem with their diets, and that is that they take in too much sodium and not enough potassium.
That high level of sodium is a real danger when it comes to heart health, and according to research, cutting your sodium and upping you potassium intake will reduce your risk of stroke by up to 21% and reduce your odds of getting heart disease.
With that in mind, here are a few foods that are full of potassium to help keep your heart in great shape.
1) Sweet Potato
We love sweet potatoes, and there's a good reason for it too. Just one, delicious sweet potato contains 694 mg of potassium and only 131 calories, putting them top of the list and ahead of the usual suspects bananas. As an added bonus, you get plenty of fiber, beta-carotene, and carbs, which are incredibly important, in particular if you're exercising regularly. Try cutting them up, adding a bit of sea salt, paprika and cayenne pepper, and roasting them in the oven.
2) Non-fat yoghurt
About 250g of yoghurt contains 579 mg of potassium, as well as a whole big pile of protein too. It's versatile so you can make savoury dipping sauces, or have it in something sweet instead of cream. For dessert, why not try chopping up some mango and kiwi and serving them up with yoghurt. Throw some dessicated coconut on top for a bit of extra flavour, too.
While taking fish oil supplements is fine, fresh meaty fish like tuna and halibut contains plenty of potassium and eating the fresh variety can increase your lifespan according to what the lads at Harvard are saying. Making sure your diet contains plenty of healthy fats from fresh fish can also reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 35%.
4) Tomato paste
Tomatoes themselves are a good source of potassium, but the paste and puree made from their innards is even richer in potassium. One quarter cup of tomato paste contains 664 mg, so eat up that pasta sauce for a healthy heart.
5) Orange juice
We all love a glass of OJ at breakfast, and with good cause. 3/4 of a cup of orange juice delivers 355 mg of potassium, which isn't a bad way to start off the day.
Of course, they are the food that we always think of when people talk about potassium. We couldn't leave them off the list, seeing as just one can pack in up to 400mg of potassium. They also have plenty of vitamins and fiber, as well as containing Resistant Starch, which boosts your metabolism.
If you're not a fan of the sweet banana, why not try their delicious savoury cousin, the plantain, which packs in 499mg of potassium per 100g. You can fry or mash them, but why not try sprinkling them with a little bit of salt and cumin and roasting them in the oven.
There are also plenty of other options, like milk, soya products, beans or squash, which are all high in potassium too. Keep in mind too that it's a wise idea to get as much of you nutrients as you can from food as opposed to supplements. A healthy adult should aim to get 4,700mg of potassium per day, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Hat-tip to Yahoo! health for the stats