Potassium and Magnesium-Rich Foods for Athletes

November 18, 2022

Everyone who follows a healthy diet is aware enough to know the importance of vitamins and minerals for the proper functioning of the body, but often we do not think about the components of each food we include in our diet. 


In the case of athletes, consuming foods with potassium and magnesium, as well as other vitamins and minerals, is of vital importance to maintain the proper functioning of muscles and heart, to give just a couple of examples.


Why are magnesium and potassium crucial for athletes?


These two minerals are part of the big trio that also includes sodium, which is obtained from salt, so we won't focus on this one. 


Magnesium and potassium participate in proper bone work, regulate heart rate, control muscle contraction, regulate cellular metabolism, and boost nerve transmission. These are all body functions essential for optimal athletic performance and recovery. 


If a person, especially an athlete, lacks these minerals, they will be more prone to injuries, low energy, and slow muscle recovery. 


Foods with potassium and magnesium for athletes


Although a balanced diet ensures the necessary levels of both minerals, it never hurts to know which foods contain the highest amounts of potassium and magnesium.


That's why we have compiled a list for you to memorize which foods you should eat to increase your magnesium and potassium levels. Don't stop at bananas because there are many more!


What does potassium or magnesium deficiency mean?


The recommended daily potassium amount is 3-4 grams, while if we talk about magnesium, it would be necessary to ingest 3500 mg daily in the case of men and 300 mg in the case of women.


Well, the symptoms that may appear when your body is not absorbing the necessary amounts of potassium and magnesium have to do with appetite loss, muscle cramps, constipation, weakness and body fatigue, joint problems, muscle contractions, and even fluid retention, among other things.


As for the functions of each, potassium helps to produce proteins, build muscles, regulate body water levels, and improve cardiovascular health.


Magnesium, on the other hand, improves calcium absorption, contributes to the functioning of the nervous and muscular system, maintains bone health, promotes digestion, acts as a natural tranquilizer, and keeps neurons active, most importantly for athletes: it helps deliver energy to all cells.


List of foods rich in magnesium and potassium


Now that we know the benefits of each mineral and the dangers of having low levels of both, let's see which foods with potassium and magnesium you should include in your diet.


Fruits and vegetables


Foods rich in potassium include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, mushrooms, chickpeas, and kiwi.


As for magnesium, nuts, cocoa, chard, brown rice, and corn stand out.


In general, all fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium and magnesium, as well as other vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Thus, you can include asparagus, avocados, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or chard; potatoes, pumpkin, and fruits such as melon or kiwi in your diet.


Nuts and legumes


In spite of the fact that low-calorie diets insist on removing these products from our menu, the truth is that the benefits of their intake are more than proven, in moderation, of course.


Nuts are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium. Thus, eating almonds, walnuts, or peanuts with certain limitations is more than recommended.


And the same goes for legumes: we recommend eating lentils, which are also a good source of potassium, magnesium, protein, and fiber. If you are in the middle of a weight loss diet, you can forget about stew recipes and eat them in salads, for example. Combine them with rice, and you will improve the absorption of all their nutrients.


Dairy products and meats


Did you know that potassium and magnesium are also found in milk?


Yes, even soy milk and other vegetable milk are rich in these minerals, so if you are allergic or lactose intolerant, you have no excuse. And if you are vegan, neither.


On the other hand, animal products include a good amount of these nutrients. Eggs, turkey, chicken, and oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, anchovies, mackerel, or sardines, are good options if you are looking for foods with potassium and magnesium.


Cereals


Almost everything wholemeal includes both minerals, so you can consume oatmeal, brown rice, wholemeal bread, and wholemeal pasta in general. You can combine them with dairy and nuts for breakfast, and you'll be getting a good dose of magnesium and potassium as you wake up.


Final Word


Magnesium and potassium are super essential minerals for athletic performance and recovery as they aid muscle contraction, improve metabolic functions, and control heart rate, among other benefits. 


What are you waiting for to modify your diet and increase the amount of potassium and magnesium you ingest by combining all these foods rich in both minerals?