Less than 2% of Americans achieve even the recommended minimum adequate intake of potassium due primarily to inadequate plant food intake.
If you take any plant, burn it to ash, throw the ash in a pot of water, stir it around, skim it off and then let it evaporate, you’ll be left with a white residue at the bottom known as pot ash, used since the dawn of history for everything from making soap, glass, fertilizers, and bleach. It was not until 1807, though, when a new element was discovered in this so-called vegetable alkali, in pot ash, so they called it pot ashium, potassium. True story, which I bring up only to emphasize the most concentrated source in our diet, plants. Every cell in the body requires the element potassium to function. For much of the last 3 million years or so, we ate so many plants that we got 10,000 mg of potassium in our daily diet. Today, we’d be lucky to get 3,000. Less than 2% of Americans even get the recommended minimum adequate intake of 4,700 a day. To get even the adequate intake the average American would have to eat like 5 more bananas worth a day. 98% of Americans eat potassium deficient diets, primarily because they don’t eat enough plants.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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People eating plant-based diets are often asked where they get their protein (and have to explain that plants are the preferred source). Maybe they should then ask where people eating conventional diets get their potassium--or their fiber for that matter, see Relieving Yourself of Excess Estrogen. For more on what we evolved to eat, see Paleolithic Lessons. This is the first of a three part series on potassium. Tomorrow we'll explore its role in Preventing Strokes with Diet.
For some more context, please check out my associated blog post: 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient
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