UMA Global Foods

Sodium & Potassium – Fraternal twins, alike yet different

Sodium & Potassium - Fraternal twins, alike yet different

Blog > Fruits and Vegetables: fresh, frozen or canned – what’s best for you?

Sodium & Potassium - Fraternal twins, alike yet different

Sodium and Potassium form an electrolyte partnership that regulates blood & fluid volume in our body. Where potassium helps maintain fluid content inside cell walls, sodium is necessary for fluid regulation outside cell walls. This difference in pressure gives rise to an important process that conducts electricity between cells, enabling everything from controlling muscles to sending nerve messages.

The average adult requires only 200 milligrams of sodium a day, compared to 4,700 milligrams of potassium. However, with processed and convenience foods and more meals eaten outside, our diets have inverted that ratio and we tend to eat far more sodium than we need, and in multiples more when compared to potassium. Researchers have shown that this excess sodium level results in high incidence of cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and heart attack. Additionally, there is mounting evidence of the negative impact of excess sodium on bone health and the need for greater balance of potassium levels.

In all, it’s a good idea to cut the salt. Look out for some of these potassium-rich foods to balance the scales.

Bok Choy: potassium-rich crucifer
Originating from China, the name in Cantonese is roughly translated into “white vegetable”. This vegetable is a staple stir fry in many Chinese households, and is the base for fermented Kimchi. Amongst the cruciferous family, Bok Choy has some of the highest concentrations of glucosinolates, a cancer-fighting compound. A 1-cup serving of cooked Bok Choy provides up to 600mg of potassium (13% DV), and is a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin K.

Celery: delicious flavor and crunch, but also sensible nutrients
Celery is more than just a flavorful juice, soup or salad ingredient. It’s a veggie to be taken seriously. One cup provides 30% daily value Vit K. Celery also provides enough potassium, folates, dietary fiber for the day, with lower amounts of Vit A, some B, C. It’s rich in antioxidants like flavonols that prevent systemic inflammation. If you’re on a diet, celery is a great way to provide satiety quickly – one cup chopped provides 1.6g fiber.

Squash: a quick guide to potassium levels
The levels vary across the varieties, but they are all still healthy sources of potassium.  ‘Winter’ squashes like the acorn, butternut, buttercup, hubba, pumpkin, Japanese kabocha, spaghetti & turban are rich in potassium, providing 250 – 445 mg per ½ cup cooked. The others like bitter melon, silk squash, fuzzy melon, winter melon, chayote, pattypan, globe, scallopini, yellow squash and zucchini are lower in comparison, with ½ cup providing 90 – 250 mg potassium.

Fennel: an aromatic defender against many ailments
Fennel has a long history as a charm against evil spirits, ancient remedies and even as an appetite suppressant for fasting. 100g of fennel gives 414 mg potassium, or 9% of the recommended DV. This helps in regulating the blood pressure. Fennel also has significant amounts of fibre (3.1g per 100g), that helps in digestion and metabolism. Fennel also has other rare micronutrients like selenium and copious amounts of Vitamin C and B6, along with zero cholesterol, that helps maintain heart health, boosts immunity and promotes skin health.