The healing power of potassium

Posted October 6, 2011

According to Dr Max Gerson (the genius who devised the healing modality that is currently reversing my cancer), one of the major keys to giving the body what it needs to heal itself is to eat a diet that is really high in potassium and really low in sodium. In the book, Healing The Gerson Way by Charlotte Gerson, it states that Dr Gerson recognised that two minerals, sodium and potassium, were mainly involved in creating mineral imbalance in the body. Sort this imbalance out, and you will be well on your way to healing your body.

In her book, Charlotte Gerson writes that the human body needs 90% potassium versus 10% sodium in the diet – but the average modern diet is far removed from this rule. Current dietary patterns are generally heavily skewed in favour of sodium, which is leading to the onslaught of modern diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Excess sodium is an enzyme inhibitor and it has also been shown to stimulate tumour growth and produce edema as the body ties it up with water to try and reduce its toxicity.

This is why the Gerson Therapy diet is loaded with potassium. It’s found in all of the 13 fresh veggie juices we drinks each day, in all of the three full meals we eat each day, and in the potassium compound we add to our juices. Those of you who are still scared of carbs will be horrified to know that we eat white potatoes twice a day – at lunch and at dinner.

What potassium does

• Improves blood pressure
• Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
• Regulates the body’s pH levels (your acid / alkaline balance)
• Converts glucose into glycogen (important in the process of using glucose for muscle energy)

How to increase your potassium levels

The best way to get more potassium into your body is to eat a diet that is abundant in fresh organic vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The other trick is to decrease your intake of salty, refined and processed foods. It’s all about tipping the scales in favour of potassium and not sodium. Get stuck into these foods in particular …

Potatoes (click here to read why white potatoes are not evil)
Sweet potatoes
Brussels sprouts
Swiss chard
Lima beans
Coconut water

Is your diet high in potassium? What are your favourite potassium-rich foods?

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Alex says:

Bananas are my favourite! I know potassium is important for muscle activity and I cannot exercise on an empty stomach, so a banana and some nuts are my favourite thing to eat before exercise.

Maria says:

I just discovered dried Turkish apricots. Five little pieces have 700mg of potassium. For the disease I have (neurological), my muscle spasms and twitches decrease rapidly when I started pushing the potassium. Yay!

Jenny says:

Don’t forget the nettle (Urtica dioica) that grows wild has 1,750mg of potassium. Isabell Shipard from Nambour wrote about the many benefits of this weed. She uses it in smoothies but just wear gloves to pick the leaves!

Josephine says:

I love potatoes but have avoided them because of the carbs. I tend to eat sweet potatoes a lot but may take up potatoes as well! And prunes are one of my new fave snacks. xx

Elaine says:

Chia seeds, I’m a new convert to chia seeds and they have potassium though I don’t know how much…

Kelly says:

Hi Jess what is the type of potatoes you eat?. have you heard of Carisma potatoes? they are supposedly a low gi white potato, or is that all pish posh nonsense?

Jess says:

Hi Kelly, we just eat regular white potatoes. Sometimes we get Dutch creams if they are available – they make great creamy mash without having to add anything! x

sandra says:

thanks Jess for the post….I tend to fall short on my potato consumption !
it is so important for people to see food for it’s healing value and not to fear it for its carb levels…or
whatever trend of fear is going on at the moment !

student says:

I like my potatoes cut thin, baked crispy with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and vinegar. I hope that’s ok.

Jess says:

Hi Student, olive oil will turn rancid when you expose it to heat. A healthier option here is coconut oil as it is stable at high heats and is full of goodness. Apple cider vinegar and Himalayan or a good quality Celtic salt are better options, but only if a small amount is used. x

You have some great articles! I only eat golden, red and purple potatoes, all more expensive than the brown (white) potatoes. Sweet potatoes have half the potassium of potatoes. A tomato has 250 mg of potassium. That is not bad. An avocado has 1,200 mg of potassium (almost 5 times as much). Orange juice has almost as much potassium as coconut water and it is abundant and cheap in the U.S. But coconut water is better for health.

There is only one thing that causes too much sodium in the diet– salt. It is a rock like iron ore, not a food. It is like getting iron by eat iron ore. Foods have plenty of sodium! Salt is 40% sodium. No food has more than 1% of sodium or any other mineral. This means that a teaspoon of salt has more sodium than in 100 pounds of unprocessed food. says cutting down on salt is as good for health as quitting smoking. Every cell has a sodium-potassium pump that depends on much higher levels of potassium than sodium.

In the U.S. 40% of people over age 40 have high blood pressure. In societies where the potassium to sodiium ratio is 5 to 1 or more, less than 1% of the people have high blood pressure. Is it better to get sodium from a food than a rock? Celery is the highest source of sodium I know of (I have a Nutrition Almanac listing this for all food). They found that eating 4 stalks of celery a day lowers blood pressure. Raisins are concentrated (dehydrated) grapes so they have a lot more potassium than grapes. But eating organic grapes is very cleansing fo the body.

Judy says:

According to what I’ve read in a few sources, there are many people who are low on iodine because they are cutting the salt out of their diet. It seems that the iodine in salt is also unstable and loses it’s strength. A naturopath does a test by painting an iodine patch on your forearm and seeing how long it lasts before fading away. I’m sure western medicine also has a test.

I guess you heard that after the nuclear accident people were supposed to get more iodine to replace radioactive iodine. Now at that time was all the salt sold out in stores? Of course not. Iodine is in salt since it is added to it. But then it is inorganic iodine like getting iron from eating rust. This has nothing to do witih organic growing but organic and inorganic chemstry. The iron in spinach is organic and you cannot overdose like you can if you eat iron nails.

At that time of the accident stores were sold out of a food. This is a very sustainible food since it grows like weeds. You could not find seaweed since people bought it up. I did not believe it so I called Whole Foods and they have lots of seaweed. They were all sold out. Are Japanese the longest living people? Yes! Do they consume iodine? No they eat lots of seaweed like kelp.

You can buy granulated kelp and sprinkle it on foods. It is loaded with orgainic iodine but also lots of trace minerals that are missing in the ground but the sea is loaded with trace minerals like idoine.

Gerson Person says:

Chuck: You are I are on the same page. Per Gerson, salt is a carcinogen cuz it loads the body with sodium and depletes the potassium! You can’t eat enough great juices and vegan eating to offset the sodium taken in by using salt — salt of any type! I don’t even care if it health store Himalayan salt! But that’s not salt’s (NaCl) only crime. There is the chlorine — which causes us to lose iodine — another Gerson imperative nutrient. Last but not least, in every serving of iodized table salt there is 35,000 times more chlorine atoms than the added iodine atom. So, do the math. Chlorine wins. Eating iodized table salt lowers our iodine stores — doesn’t increase it. That’s why other countries don’t iodize stupidly using a food carrier like NaCl with a halogen in it like chlorine. For example, other countries put the iodine in eggs or dairy where it will “stick” in the body when eaten. Decades ago USA used to put iodine in flour — so we got plenty of it in bread. But no more. Decades ago milk buckets at the farms were sterilized with iodine and thus, citizens got iodine that way inadvertently via milk drinking. But no more. Bottom line about the increase in cancer in this country in even our youth like Jess: Yes, we are a super toxic nation. Yes, we have forgotten what ‘real food’ is. But per a Max Gerson speech I just read, here’s the quote of what he said on what to do if one wanted to avoid getting cancer: “First of all, eat as much as you can of raw food, keep the potassium level up, and take some iodine. ” And like you said Chuck there is NO WAY you can keep potassium levels up via the use of table salt and the foods that contain table salt. Hence, why I call salt — table salt, Himalayan salt etc, all carcinogens. It really scares me when I hear alternative docs tell people to take table salt for alkalinity etc. They just don’t see the big picture like Gerson did.

Jade says:

Hi Jess, are they better baked, boiled or steamed? I know the microwave is a big no-no but does the cooking method make any difference to the potassium retained?

Boiling causes a lot of potassium in the potato to be lost. It goes into the water. The best way to eat the potato is to eat it raw. No, I am just kidding. Baked and steamed are fine. Yes the microwave alters food in a strange way. This information comes from a book by an M.D.

John.W.Brown says:

I read in the Gerson approved and not approved food list that Avacdos are not allowed and that oils of ANY kind or Any products with them in it are not allowed. Also had someone here in the states yesterday try and tell me that coconut oil is healthy but they couldn’t find evidence anywhere for it.

Don Read says:

” … Also had someone here in the states yesterday try and tell me that coconut oil is healthy but they couldn’t find evidence anywhere for it.”

Google up ‘Mary Enig coconut oil’

Gerson Person says:

Jess: Got a question for you. I’m a bit confused. I’m eating the Hippo soup twice a day. Is it the pot in the soup you are talking about when you say you are eating pot twice a day? Or extra pot on top of what is in the soup? But when you were in Mexico did you also have to eat more potatoes than what is in the soup? And if so, how prepared and how much? I’m getting the impression that baked potatoes are a daily requirement but need your help. And how to bake? Potatoes are so important I want to do this right — and you’ve been to Mexico — and I haven’t. Potatoes not only provide potassium but it is the primary protein source on the program for the first 3 months of animal-free eating. I await. Thanks!

Jess says:

Hi there! Yes, we Gerson people are to eat potato twice a day on top of what is in the soup. In the beginning I was having a whole potato at both lunch and dinner as well as Hippo soup at lunch and dinner. Now I just have half a potato at lunch and dinner. The potato is just to be baked in an oven. Some times we will have potato salad, but mostly baked. All the best! And thank you for all of your insightful and interesting comments. You are going to do really well on this program :)

Rachel says:

My favo meals are (all naturally high in potassium – go figure)
my green smoothie with coconut water, spinach, cacao, vanilla, stevia and green nutritionals calcium (and loads of ice)

a whole avocado mashed with vanilla bean powder with a whole banana followed by a can of pure organic coconut water

the flesh and water of a young coconut blended with ice to create a chilled soup

the sunflower bread from ground organics with heaps of fresh avo and lemon juice – skip the salt