Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in many physiological processes, including muscle contraction, bone health, heart function, and fluid balance. I hope this list – 10 of the best potassium-rich foods – inspires you to embrace the fact that there are easy ways to take better care of your body and boost immunity every day.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps to maintain fluid balance in the body. It is also necessary for muscle function and heart health. Sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, and legumes.
How Much Potassium Per Day?
The adequate intake (AI) for adults is 3,400 mg for men and 2,600 mg for women. Unfortunately, only 3% of Americans meet the recommended amount for this vital nutrient. The reason is the typical Western diet is potassium deficient since it lacks fruit and vegetables.
When mentioning potassium, bananas are the first food that comes to mind, but there are other great choices we tend to overlook.
How much potassium is in a banana?
A banana is a fruit known for its high potassium content and is undoubtedly included in the bucket of potassium-rich foods. A single banana can contain as much as 422 mg of potassium, about 10% of the recommended daily intake for adults.
Potassium-rich foods like bananas are often recommended for people interested in maintaining healthy blood pressure. In addition to potassium, bananas are a good source of other nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium.
What Foods Are High in Potassium?
Avocados are nutrient-dense and full of essential fats such as heart-friendly omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins (C, E, and K). One medium-sized fruit provides 20% of the Daily Value (DV) in potassium, so avocados are a great addition to your daily diet.
They are also great for appetite control and weight loss since they help you stave off hunger and stay full for longer. You can enjoy avocados either raw or cooked; you can add them to several healthy dishes, so you can always boost your potassium intake.
This highly nutritious root vegetable has a vibrant red color and sweet taste and is absolutely part of the potassium-rich foods group. While beets are a concentrated source of potassium, their green leaves offer a spectacular 1309 mg per cooked cup, which translates into 28% of the DV.
On top of that, beets are full of powerful antioxidant pigments that combat damage from free radicals and contribute to disease prevention. They also contain dietary nitrates, which regulate blood pressure by enhancing blood vessel function and improving athletic performance.
3. Dried Apricots
Fresh apricots are delicious in season, but you can also find this delightful fruit in dried form all year round. They are another great source of potassium, iron, and antioxidants.
Dried apricots are a fantastic snack, especially when craving something sweet and healthy (make sure they have no added sugar). Mix them with nuts to get an even more significant energy boost.
Other dried fruit is also rich in potassium: raisins and prunes are two great options if you need a healthy, satisfying winter snack.
Oranges are another high-potassium food and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and thiamine. They have considerable antioxidant power that protects you against inflammation and free radical damage.
Drinking orange juice is also good since one cup offers about 11% of your daily potassium. However, eating whole fruit has an additional benefit: oranges are a good source of fiber and can help you lose that extra weight and prevent obesity.
Both white and sweet potatoes are packed with potassium. They also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. Moreover, the brightly-colored sweet potatoes are of particular interest because they are a good source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.
Try eating your baked potatoes with the skin on them to get more potassium. Avoid french fries as much as possible because they are typically high in sodium, which counteracts potassium.
This dark green vegetable is true royalty among healthy foods and a great option to boost your potassium intake. One cup of cooked spinach provides a respectable 18% of the DV. You also get a concentrated source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese and a fantastic plant-based source of calcium.
This unique nutritional combination boosts your metabolism, eye health, bone health, and immune system. If you eat spinach regularly, you also increase your antioxidant capacity. You can enjoy this versatile, cooked, and raw food in various healthy dishes.
7. Swiss Chard
Like spinach, swiss chard is another leafy green vegetable with fantastic potential for human health. It is a very reputable source of potassium, offering 20% of the DV in a single cup (cooked form).
Swiss chard also contains several essential nutrients such as vitamins A, K, C, the minerals magnesium and iron, and dietary fiber. Moreover, several chemical compounds in dark leafy greens provide powerful antioxidant protection against DNA damage.
Wild Atlantic Salmon is a concentrated source of potassium- one fillet (about 6 ounces) contains 1068 mg of the mineral, which covers 23% of the amount you need daily. Salmon, like all fatty fish, is also a source of high-quality protein and heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.
Regular fatty fish consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Apart from salmon, there are many excellent fish you can try, such as mackerel, halibut, rainbow trout, tilapia, and snapper. All in all, fish is one of the best things you can eat to protect your heart.
9. Tomato Sauce and Pureé
Both fresh tomatoes and their products are particularly rich in potassium. They also contain essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, and B6. Research has shown that tomato juice can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance and improve blood vessel function.
Tomato products can also regulate cholesterol levels by increasing HDL and lowering LDL cholesterol. Moreover, lycopene, the active compound found in tomatoes, has considerable cancer-fighting potential. All in all, the combination of potassium and lycopene makes tomatoes an ideal option for heart health.
10. White Beans
Beans are included in the list of potassium-rich foods. Full of potassium, the white variety offers 20% of the DV per cup. White beans are also exceptionally rich in fiber and plant-based protein. They contain several nutrients (thiamine, folate, iron, magnesium, and manganese) that reduce inflammation and prevent chronic disease.
If you want to mix things up, try lentils and other types of beans, as well. Kidney, black, navy, lima, and adzuki beans are all great options to boost your daily potassium intake.
Boosting your potassium intake is easy if you pick whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Remember to add variety and color to your meals to get as many essential vitamins and minerals as possible.
Moreover, it would be best to reduce your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods as much as possible because sodium diminishes the health benefits of potassium.
Berry, Jennifer. ” Top 13 high potassium foods”. Medical News Today, 11 Jul. 2019, medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325728.php. Accessed 4 Nov. 2019.
Jones, Taylor. “14 Healthy Foods That Are High in Potassium”. Healthline, 22 Dec. 2017, healthline.com/nutrition/high-potassium-foods#section11. Accessed 4 Nov. 2019.
Whitebread, Daisy. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium”. My Food Data, 14 Oct. 2019, myfooddata.com/articles/food-sources-of-potassium.php. Accessed 4 Nov. 2019.