Blueberries are sweet, little nutrient-rich powerhouses. They provide antioxidants as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which plays a key role in the development of your cells, tissues and organs. Potassium also helps to conduct electricity through the human body. Work blueberries into your diet on a consistent basis for their potassium benefits. For example, sprinkle them on oatmeal for breakfast or on yogurt for a snack.
One cup of fresh blueberries provides you with 114 milligrams of potassium. Oregon State University notes that you should aim to include 4,700 milligrams of potassium in your diet each day. Potassium works with sodium to produce electricity throughout your body, which is crucial for the proper function of your heart, muscles and nerves. Potassium is the primary positively charged ion within each and every cell in your body. It is vital for optimal health to have the right balance of potassium; if your sodium intake is high, you may need more potassium. Other conditions that may cause a deficiency in potassium include malnutrition, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating and malabsorption syndromes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Talk with your doctor to see if a potassium supplement is right for you if you suffer from any of these conditions.
Potassium is crucial for the health of your heart. Potassium deficiency is called hypokalemia and may lead to an abnormal heartbeat. Along with potassium, blueberries have additional heart-healthy agents, including anti-inflammatory properties. A study by the National Institutes of Health, published in the June 2009 issue of "PLoS One," concluded that consumption of blueberries had a positive effect on the reduction of heart inflammation. Lowering heart inflammation can help reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Other Health Benefits of Blueberries
The anti-inflammatory benefits blueberries provide help reduce symptoms of conditions that affect cognitive function, such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. They also supply polyphenol compounds that help reduce and prevent memory loss, according to Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of "The 150 Most Healthy Foods on Earth." The powerful concentration of antioxidants in blueberries help protect you from free radical damage, which can protect you from many health problems such as cancer.
Additional Dietary Sources of Potassium
A serving or two of blueberries doesn't provide enough potassium for the entire day. Potassium is plentiful in dietary sources from meat and fish to fruits and vegetables. Good meat sources of potassium include chicken, beef, salmon, flounder and cod. Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes, lima beans and potatoes contain a concentration of potassium as well. Potassium is also present in dairy products, such as milk and cheese.
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.