Monday, December 26, 2005

Eat like your ancestors - Up the Potassium!

Though not required, you can now find potassium listed on some food labels. Why?

The FDA, in 2000, after reviewing the research, allowed this
statement: "Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke."

Foods qualifying for the proposed claim must contain 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for potassium (350 mg) and 140 mg or less of sodium per serving. In addition, qualifying foods must also be low in fat and sodium.

"Our diet is remarkably different from what we evolved on," says Lawrence Appel, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore who has examined potassium's importance in the human diet. "We evolved on a low-sodium, high-potassium diet. Now we eat a high-sodium, low-potassium diet. This flip may be in part responsible for many of the [health] problems that are commonplace today."

"The health effects of potassium have not received much attention, but one of our more interesting findings is that diets rich in potassium not only reduce blood pressure, but also blunt some of the rise in blood pressure that occurs in response to sodium intake. High intakes of potassium also reduce bone loss and can prevent kidney stone recurrence in men and women. We recommend that adults consume a diet that provides an adequate Intake level of 4.7 grams of potassium per day, and that intake be in the form of naturally occurring potassium from fruits, vegetables, and juices."

**It should be noted that an increasing number of individuals in the United States and Canada need to carefully control their potassium intake -- those individuals with known kidney problems and those who are on certain diuretics, such as, spironolactone, or other blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitorsand angiotensin receptor blockers. In these individuals, the intake of 4.7 grams may be too high, and they should follow the advice of their health care professionals.

Now, those of you who say, "Sure, I get my potassium each day. I have a banana," should know that you are getting about 1/10 of your required potassium. You can boost your intake easily with potatoes. A large baked potato with skin has 844 mg. of potassium, a medium banana just half that.

So, how about a potato recipe?

Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Serves 4-6

1 3/4 pounds
Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary, picked

Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Place potatoes and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Roast until dark golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of roasting, increase the temperature to 500°, and sprinkle with rosemary.
Remove from oven, and serve.

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At 6:16 PM, December 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks. Sounds like tastey treat!
and healthy too.


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