Friday, August 5, 2011

Food Fact Friday: the best sources of...

Bananas are the best source of potassium and oranges are the best source of vitamin C...or are they?

Your body uses potassium to keep your nerves and muscles firing efficiently, and an adequate intake can blunt sodium’s effect on blood pressure. One 2009 study found that a 2:1 ratio of potassium to sodium could halve your risk of heart disease, and since the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, your goal should be 6,800 milligrams of daily potassium. You’re extremely unlikely to ever reach that mark—and never with bananas alone. One medium banana has 422 milligrams and 105 calories. Here are the sources that earn you roughly the same amount of potassium in fewer calories:     
Potato, half a medium spud, 80 calories     
Apricots, 5 whole fruit, 80 calories    
Cantaloupe, 1 cup cubes, 55 calories     
Broccoli, 1 full stalk, 50 calories     
Sun-dried tomatoes, a quarter cup, 35 calories

Far more than a simple immune booster, vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a host of important roles in your body. It strengthens skin by helping to build collagen, improves mood by increasing the flow of norepinephrine, and bolsters metabolic efficiency by helping transport fat cells into the body’s energy-burning mitochondria. But since your body can neither store nor create the wonder vitamin, you need to provide a constant supply. An orange is the most famous vitamin-C food, and although it’s a good source, it’s by no means the best. For 70 calories, one orange gives you about 70 micrograms of vitamin C. Here are five sources with just as much vitamin C and even fewer calories:     
Papaya, ¾ cup, 50 calories     
Brussel’s sprouts, 1 cup, 40 calories     
Strawberries, 7 large fruit, 40 calories     
Broccoli, ½ stalk, 25 calories     
Red Bell Pepper, ½ medium pepper, 20 calories

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