Looking for Nigerian foods rich in potassium?
Then you're on the right page. Because I have compile the potassium-rich foods you can get in Nigeria.
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Nigerian Potassium-Rich Foods List
Here are 16 Foods you can find in Nigeria that are rich in Potassium:
1. Cow Skin (Ponmo)
Cow skin, more known as ponmo, happens to be an excellent source of potassium. Per 100 grams, ponmo contains 670 mg of potassium. This nutritious, collagen-rich food is commonly boiled and seasoned before eating. Ponmo is also rich in protein, providing about 18 grams per 100 gram serving. As a potassium-rich meat, ponmo makes a tasty addition to soups and stews.
Yams are starchy tuber vegetables that are a nutritious staple and rich in potassium. One cooked cup of cubed yam (136 grams) provides 582 milligrams of potassium . Yams are more dense in nutrients than regular potatoes. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. The natural sweetness of yam makes it a delicious source of potassium
3. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense root vegetables that come in a variety of skin and flesh colors. One cup of cooked sweet potato without skin (180 grams) contains 475 mg of potassium . This is more potassium than is found in a banana. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A - one serving provides over 100% of the daily recommended intake. The natural sugars in sweet potato provide quick energy. They can be prepared in both savory and sweet dishes.
Though often touted as the quintessential high-potassium food, bananas are surpassed by many other fruits and vegetables. Still, bananas remain a convenient snack that provides 422 mg potassium per medium sized fruit . They are easy to carry and peel for a quick boost of energy. Bananas help replenish potassium lost after exercise due to sweating.
Beans are an excellent source of potassium. One cooked cup (about 180 grams) of white beans contains 1,004 mg of potassium [5, 6, 7]. That's nearly a quarter of the recommended daily potassium intake!
Beans are packed with nutrition. They are also high in protein to help build muscles and fiber to aid digestion.
6. Irish Potato
Potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They can be prepared in many ways - baked, mashed, fried, and included in soups and salads. Potatoes pack significant potassium and nutrients in a popular affordable vegetable.
Avocados provide 345 mg potassium in just half of a medium-sized fruit. Though small, avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in one serving . The soft green flesh is rich and creamy, making avocados a unique fruit.
Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and other antioxidants like vitamin E. Adding avocado enhances the nutrition of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and dips. It can even be used to make sweet desserts like chocolate pudding.
Watermelon is a refreshing, hydrating fruit that provides 640 mg of potassium per 2 wedged slices. That's about one-eighth of a medium watermelon! This juicy melon is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and B6 [11, 12].
The sweet red flesh is mostly water, making it a low calorie treat. Watermelon contains the antioxidant lycopene which gives it the red color. This tropical fruit can be enjoyed on its own or added to fruit salads.
9. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste adds nutrition and rich flavor to sauces, soups, stews, and gravies. It provides the sweet, tangy taste of tomatoes in a versatile and portable form. Tomato paste is also high in vitamin C and lycopene, a strong antioxidant.
10. Coconut Water
Coconut water is the natural juice inside young coconuts. One cup (240 mL) of this tropical drink has 600 mg of potassium. Coconut water is high in electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and manganese [16, 17].
This refreshing beverage is low in calories and sugar. The mild sweetness makes it a great low-calorie substitute for fruit juice or sports drinks. Potassium-rich coconut water helps hydrate the body before and after exercise.
Fish like salmon, tuna, and cod are excellent sources of potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Just a 3 ounce cooked serving of fish fillet provides 200-500 mg potassium. Fish also supplies protein for building muscles.
Canned tuna and salmon are easy to prepare options. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel contain more potassium than leaner fish. Enjoy fish baked, grilled, or in stews and tacos for a tasty, potassium-rich protein.
12. Orange Juice
Skip the juice from concentrate which often has added sugars. Opt for freshly squeezed juice when possible or choose 100% not from concentrate orange juice. Enjoy a glass of orange juice with breakfast or use it to marinate and tenderize meat.
13. Carrot Juice
Bright orange carrot juice is also high in vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin. It provides vitamin C and antioxidants to support immunity. You can juice fresh carrots at home or find bottled carrot juice. Enjoy this nutritious beverage on its own or mixed with other fruit and veggie juices.
Soybeans are a plant-based potassium powerhouse. Just 100 grams of dry roasted soybeans contains 1,364 mg of potassium. That's nearly half the recommended daily intake!
These nutrient-dense legumes are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Soybeans can be cooked and added to stews, soups and curries. Soy milk and tofu are made from soybeans for an easy way to add them to smoothies, scrambles, sandwiches and more.
15. Locust Beans
The locust bean may not be as well known but it packs a potassium punch. 100 grams of raw locust beans provides 932 mg of potassium. That's over a quarter of the daily recommended amount.
Locust beans come from the carob tree and have a sweet taste. Locust bean gum is used as a thickener in some foods. In West African cuisine, raw locust beans are fermented and added to season soups and stews.
16. African Star Apple
Also called agbalumo in Yoruba, this exotic African fruit contains 682 mg potassium per 100 grams. The star apple is round with a thick, purple-green skin that reveals a pink-white flesh speckled with seeds.
The fruit can be eaten raw or made into juice. African star apple is popular in Nigeria, Ghana and throughout west and central Africa. It provides a unique source of potassium and vitamin C.
What Is Potassium?
Potassium is an essential mineral that helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. Most people do not get enough potassium in their diets. While bananas are a good source, there are many other Nigerian foods that contain even more potassium.
Why Is Potassium Important?
Potassium is an essential mineral that is crucial for overall health and normal functioning of the body. It plays several critical roles:
Regulates Fluid Balance
- Potassium helps control the balance of fluids both inside and outside of cells in the body. It works with sodium to maintain the right balance between the fluid inside and outside the cells.
- This fluid balance is important for allowing nutrients to enter cells, removing waste, and allowing nerves and muscles to function properly.
Supports Muscle Contractions
- Potassium is needed for muscles throughout the body to contract effectively, including skeletal muscles, smooth muscles like the heart, and digestive system muscles.
- It helps transmit nerve signals that trigger muscle contractions and allows muscles to relax after contracting. Without enough potassium, muscles may spasm, feel weak, or cramp.
Maintains Normal Blood Pressure
- Potassium supports healthy blood pressure levels by blunting the effects of sodium in the body. Higher potassium intakes are associated with lower blood pressure.
- It helps blood vessels dilate so that blood can flow more freely through the circulatory system and takes strain off the heart.
Aids Nerve Function
- Signals are transmitted along nerve cells in the form of electrical impulses. Potassium plays a key role in allowing nerves to generate these impulses.
- It also allows the impulses to cross synapses between nerve cells. Proper nerve function depends on having adequate potassium.
In summary, potassium allows cells, muscles, nerves, and organs to work effectively. Without enough potassium, you may experience fatigue, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Severe deficiency can cause paralysis and abnormal heart rhythms.
Recommended Daily Intake
The U.S. National Academy of Medicine recommends the following potassium intake per day:
- Women: 2,600 mg
- Men: 3,400 mg
- Pregnant women: 2,900 mg
On average, adults only get about 50% of the recommended amount from their diets.
Signs of Deficiency
Symptoms of low potassium (hypokalemia) include:
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Tips to Increase Potassium
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy, fish, and nuts
- Choose whole, minimally processed foods
- Be consistent - make high potassium foods part of your daily diet
- Avoid excessive sodium intake which causes potassium loss
Getting enough potassium from natural food sources is important for overall health. Be sure to include several portions of these potassium-rich Nigerian foods in your daily diet.
Potassium Toxicity (Hyperkalemia)
While potassium deficiency is more common, it is also possible to get too much potassium in the blood, which is called hyperkalemia.
In healthy individuals, the kidneys are usually able to efficiently remove any excess potassium through the urine so that blood levels remain in the normal range. However, some conditions can impair the kidneys' ability to excrete potassium properly.
Advanced chronic kidney disease is one of the main causes of hyperkalemia since the kidneys have difficulty filtering out excess potassium. In addition, medications like NSAIDs and beta blockers can cause the body to hold onto more potassium rather than excreting it.
People with compromised kidney function are at highest risk for hyperkalemia if they consume very high potassium diets above 4,700 mg per day from food and supplements. Salt substitutes that use potassium chloride in place of regular salt also introduce more potassium.
Mild hyperkalemia may not cause any symptoms at first. As potassium levels get higher, the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and palpitations
Severe hyperkalemia is considered a medical emergency. Extremely high potassium levels can cause the heart to stop beating (cardiac arrest). Anyone experiencing chest pain, palpitations, or severe muscle weakness due to possible hyperkalemia requires immediate medical attention.
For most healthy individuals, hyperkalemia is unlikely to occur solely due to food sources of potassium. However, those with kidney disorders should be cautious with potassium intake and alert their healthcare provider about any suspected symptoms. Monitoring potassium levels through blood tests can help guide dietary restrictions if needed.
Conclusion on Nigerian Foods Rich In Potassium
Getting enough potassium is essential for overall health and normal body functioning.
While bananas have become the poster food for potassium, many other Nigerian foods actually contain more potassium per serving.
Yam, sweet potato, beans, cow skin, and fish are traditional sources of potassium in Nigerian cuisine.
You can also get significant amounts from fruits like orange, carrot, coconut water, and the African star apple.
To increase your daily potassium intake, eat a variety of these foods across meals and snacks. Emphasize whole, minimally processed options like fresh produce, beans, nuts, seeds, dairy and seafood.
A diet rich in natural sources of potassium can help reduce risk of deficiency and related health issues like muscle cramps, fatigue, and high blood pressure.
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