Potassium is a macromineral that plays a big role in supporting optimal GI function. Unfortunately, 98% of Americans are not getting adequate amounts of potassium in their diet due to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Fad diets that remove fruit and starchy veggies like potatoes and squash, as well as avoid quality dairy, increase the risk of inadequate potassium intake. Furthermore, individuals may lose potassium due to potassium wasting medications (like diuretics), high coffee or alcohol intake (also diuretics), excessive sweating from high intensity exercise or sauna, and high levels of stress (hello COVID years!).
Why is it important to focus on potassium intake?? There are many reasons why focusing on potassium intake can benefit your health. But today I want to focus on two directly related to gut function.
For healthy individuals aim for 3500mg or more of potassium per day. If you are unsure how much potassium you are getting daily, I highly recommend tracking your food intake for three days on Cronometer. Get an average, and see how close you are to getting 3500mg per day, then make some dietary changes or tweaks to boost that level. Some potassium rich foods are listed below. You can also check out this awesome source listing out the top 100 potassium rich foods.
If you are a SIBO or IBS patient and are on a limited diet consider adding in the following low FODMAP, high potassium foods.
NOTE OF CAUTION:
If you have kidney disease or are taking potassium sparing medications (including spironolactone, amiloride, eplerenone, triamterene, etc) work with your health care provider because you may need to REDUCE your potassium intake and not increase it.
Like to read? Then get your evidence based nutrition information here! All posts written by Selva Wohlgemuth, MS, RDN Functional Nutritionist & Clinical Dietitian