Muscle cramps. :(

So for a while I was having problems with muscle cramps in my legs when I was trying to fall asleep at night. You know that thing where your toes want to curl down and it really hurts if you let them? I would have to push my toes against something to make this stop!

Well, people often tell you to eat bananas for this (for the potassium). Then the other day I was entering a homemade recipe into MyFitnessPal and happened to notice that mushrooms have LOTS of potassium. So that got me wondering, what else have I been missing on the subject of potassium rich foods? I did an internet search (of course) and found this website that listed the “top ten foods” for potassium. I thought, “Hmmm…. avocado is first on their list but I’m pretty sure that’s going to add too many calories to my diet.” So I got out my cell phone, opened up MyFitnessPal and started digging, created a spreadsheet and found out the rankings on that website were really off if you look at potassium per calorie. As in way off! So then I visited another website that touted 15 different foods for potassium (including clams and orange juice) and found nine more foods not on the other list. But once again, no white potatoes. Because why?  White potato privilege?  (Okay, okay, I know they are not great for you because of their high glycemic index….) But they also didn’t list broccoli, which it turns out is a pretty decent source of potassium. Weird.

Oh, and with MyFitnessPal, sometimes the entries won’t list potassium so you may have to try several different entries for a food before you find what you need.

So I proceeded to add mushrooms and spinach to my diet.

And I kept getting the muscle cramps. So then I went to a body building website instead of nutrition websites. Oh, yeah, salt.

Seriously?

Yep – I wasn’t eating enough salt. I started eating pretzels before and after every workout (110 calories of them altogether) and guess what. No more muscle cramps.

Wow.

But just because I went to all the trouble and potassium is good for you for more than just muscle cramps, here’s what I found. (Sorted with the most potassium per calorie at the top.)

Serving size Calories Protein Potassium (mg) Potassium per calorie Protein per calorie
Raw white mushrooms 1 cup 15 2.2 428 28.5 0.147
Spinach, chopped, frozen 1 cup 35 3.0 839 24.0 0.086
Acorn squash 1 cup 56 1.1 899 16.1 0.020
Tomato sauce 1 cup 78 3.2 811 10.4 0.041
Coconut water 1 cup 44 0.0 429 9.8 0.000
Brocolli, frozen 1 cup 30 1.0 210 7.0 0.033
Potato, baked with skin 1 large 279 8.0 1600 5.7 0.029
Green beans 1 cup 50 2.0 270 5.4 0.040
Molasses 1 cup 977 0.0 4934 5.1 0.000
Skim milk 1 cup 80 8.0 390 4.9 0.100
Dried apricots 1 cup 313 4.4 1510 4.8 0.014
Plain, nonfat Greek Yoghurt 1 cup 130 20.0 579 4.5 0.154
Orange Juice 1 cup 112 1.7 496 4.4 0.015
Carrots 1 cup 83 1.1 350 4.2 0.013
Sweet potato 1 cup 114 2.0 471.1 4.1 0.018
Cod 4 oz 138 23.7 540 3.9 0.172
Banana 1 medium 110 1.0 422 3.8 0.009
Salmon 4 oz 100 21.0 365 3.7 0.210
1% Milk 1 cup 110 8.0 400 3.6 0.073
California Avocado 1 whole 322 2.0 1068 3.3 0.006
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 230 17.9 731 3.2 0.078
Prunes 1 23 0.2 70 3.0 0.009
Soybeans 1 cup 240 22.0 676 2.8 0.092
Whole milk 1 cup 150 8.0 360 2.4 0.053
Potato chips 1 oz 160 2.0 340 2.1 0.013
Chicken, skinless breast 4 oz 120 24.0 250 2.1 0.200
Clams, raw 2 oz 100 5.0 180 1.8 0.050
Grilled steak 4 oz 160 23.0 250 1.6 0.144
Kidney beans, dry 1 cup 613 43.0 502 0.8 0.070

 

And sorted by protein per calorie.

Serving size Calories Protein Potassium (mg) Potassium per calorie Protein per calorie
Salmon 4 oz 100 21.0 365 3.7 0.210
Chicken, skinless breast 4 oz 120 24.0 250 2.1 0.200
Cod 4 oz 138 23.7 540 3.9 0.172
Plain, nonfat Greek Yoghurt 1 cup 130 20.0 579 4.5 0.154
Raw white mushrooms 1 cup 15 2.2 428 28.5 0.147
Grilled steak 4 oz 160 23.0 250 1.6 0.144
Skim milk 1 cup 80 8.0 390 4.9 0.100
Soybeans 1 cup 240 22.0 676 2.8 0.092
Spinach, chopped, frozen 1 cup 35 3.0 839 24.0 0.086
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 230 17.9 731 3.2 0.078
1% Milk 1 cup 110 8.0 400 3.6 0.073
Kidney beans, dry 1 cup 613 43.0 502 0.8 0.070
Whole milk 1 cup 150 8.0 360 2.4 0.053
Clams, raw 2 oz 100 5.0 180 1.8 0.050
Tomato sauce 1 cup 78 3.2 811 10.4 0.041
Green beans 1 cup 50 2.0 270 5.4 0.040
Brocolli, frozen 1 cup 30 1.0 210 7.0 0.033
Potato, baked with skin 1 large 279 8.0 1600 5.7 0.029
Acorn squash 1 cup 56 1.1 899 16.1 0.020
Sweet potato 1 cup 114 2.0 471.1 4.1 0.018
Orange Juice 1 cup 112 1.7 496 4.4 0.015
Dried apricots 1 cup 313 4.4 1510 4.8 0.014
Carrots 1 cup 83 1.1 350 4.2 0.013
Potato chips 1 oz 160 2.0 340 2.1 0.013
Banana 1 medium 110 1.0 422 3.8 0.009
Prunes 1 23 0.2 70 3.0 0.009
California Avocado 1 whole 322 2.0 1068 3.3 0.006
Coconut water 1 cup 44 0.0 429 9.8 0.000
Molasses 1 cup 977 0.0 4934 5.1 0.000

 

So if you need more potassium and are on a high protein, low calorie diet I hope you really like mushrooms!  😉

 

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