Potassium is one of the highly abundant nutrients present in the body. Also, it is essential for many crucial body functions such as kidney functions, muscle contractions, heart functioning, electrolyte & fluid balance and stimulus conduction (1). Your body can’t produce potassium on its own, and thus it has to come from outside foods. Consuming foods high in potassium, such as white beans, sweet potatoes, banana, milk, beets, spinach, tomatoes, orange, avocados, etc., can make up for potassium deficiency in your body. Potassium rich foods are known to reduce the risk of strokes by 23%.
It also protects the blood vessels from atherosclerotic plaques by preventing oxidative damage and thus prevents thickening of the blood vessel. Benefits of potassium look never-ending.
Moving ahead in this article, we will discuss all kinds of foods high in potassium with nutrients details and advantages.
Are you potassium deficient?
What does precisely potassium deficiency mean? It is a condition in which the recommended daily requirement is not met. Such a condition is termed a hypokalaemia.
The recommended dietary intake for male and female is 4700 milligrams of potassium per day (2).
Potassium deficiency can have various side effects including headaches, dehydration, heart palpitations hypertension and swelling of glands and tissues.
It is difficult to maintain the standard range but once you know the potassium rich foods and the amount of potassium they contain it would become effortless for you to take it in the right quantity. Potassium deficiency symptoms (3) are –
How much potassium is mandatory?
As per the Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine (4), the recommended dose of potassium varies according to the age –
- Infants (0-12 months) – 400-700 milligrams/day
- Children (1-8 years) – 3000-3800 milligrams/day
- Teens (9-18 years) – 4500-4700 milligrams/day
- Adults (more than 19 years) – 4700 milligrams/day
- Pregnant women – 5100 milligrams/day
People who are suffering from kidney problems should avoid meeting the guideline of potassium intake. If your kidney is not functioning well, then even the idle amount of potassium could stay in your body, causing nerve and muscle problems. You can consult your doctor when in doubt.
Foods high in potassium
There are several potassium rich foods which include fruits, vegetables, and nuts. They all can help you meet your daily needs.
1. Sweet potatoes
100 grams of cooked sweet potatoes contain 475 mg (milligrams) of potassium (4).
They are a variety of potatoes, but sweet potato contains more starch than the regular potato. Sweet potatoes are highly abundant in potassium as compared to white potatoes.
According to a study (5), they are found to contain anti-ulcer property and hence are used in the treatment of peptic ulcer. They are also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and beta-carotene.
2. Dried apricots
100 grams of dried apricots contain 411 mg of potassium (5).
It has been found in an epidemiological study (6) that dried apricot is richly supplied with potassium and same is with all other dry fruits such as prunes, dates, and raisins.
The nutrient content is better in fruits that are dried as compared to fresh fruits.
100 grams of cooked beets contain 305 mg of potassium (7).
Beetroots are one of the best potassium rich foods that help to improve blood vessel function and reduce the chance of heart disease. Beets are also rich in folate, nitrates, and manganese.
They have antioxidant properties, which counters oxidative damage and inflammation.
One large raw pomegranate (282 grams) contains 666 milligrams of potassium (8).
One large pomegranate is a good source of potassium. Its seeds and juice are mainly responsible for its potassium content. It is also rich in fibers, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
It is an aphrodisiac food due to its property of reducing cortisol levels in the body. According to a study, pomegranate juice is the healthiest juice in the world (9).
5. White beans
100 grams of white beans contain 561 milligrams of potassium (10).
They contain a significant dose of potassium per serving and are also high in fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, and thiamine.
According to leading health site (11) consuming fiber-rich foods like white beans can help you reduce the risk of heart diseases and diabetes as well. White beans also help in getting a well-shaped waistline.
100 grams of raw banana contains 358 milligrams of potassium (12).
Banana is one of the most easily available foods high in potassium. It is well known for their potassium content, but it is also rich in carbohydrates.
When you work out or do any other physical exercise, your electrolyte balance changes and potassium levels go down. Banana is hence recommended before any workout to provide you with a continuous flow of energy.
100 grams of raw watermelon contains 112 mg of potassium (13).
It is an excellent source of potassium and lycopene, a naturally occurring plant pigment, which is well known to reduce the risk of cancers.
While freshly pressed juice is also a good alternative, a 12-ounce bottle of juice is free of sugar and provides 825 milligrams of potassium.
100 grams of cooked spinach can give you as much as 466 milligrams of potassium (14).
It is a green leafy vegetable which is quite affordable and nutritious too. Spinach is one of the best potassium rich foods. It is also a great supplier of iron, vitamin A, K, manganese, and calcium.
These nutrients are vital for maintaining the health of bone, vision, metabolism and immune system.
9. Swiss chard
100 grams of cooked Swiss chard offers 549 milligrams of potassium (15).
Swiss chard is a green leafy vegetable. It is one of the best foods high in potassium and ideal for vegetarians. It contains iron, manganese, fiber, vitamin C and K.
It contains healthy plant compound and has antioxidant properties, just like other leafy vegetables.
100 grams of cooked salmon fish includes 384 milligrams of potassium (16).
Seafood, such as fish, is one of the best potassium rich foods. There are several options when it comes to fish rich in potassium. Some of them are halibut, anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna and yellowfin.
They are known for their ability to reduce the risk of heart diseases and increases one’s lifespan.
100 grams of avocados contain 485 mg of potassium (17).
Avocados offer a wide variety of health benefits. It contains more potassium than a similar amount of banana. It is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids. Also includes special component lutein that is known as a cancer-fighting carotenoid.
100 grams of cooked mushrooms contain 356 milligrams of potassium (18).
Mushroom is an excellent low-calorie food item. It is also one of the best foods high in potassium. It provides some vital minerals like niacin, phosphorus, zinc, folate, thiamine, and selenium.
Skimmed milk contains 382 milligrams of potassium per cup (247 gram) (19).
Milk is an essential health drink to meet our daily calcium requirement. Other than calcium, milk is also a good source of potassium. Either you can have plain milk or mix it with fruits to form smoothies.
100 grams of yogurt contains 155 milligrams of potassium (20).
Yogurt is one the best source of potassium, calcium, and riboflavin. It is fermented food, so it is beneficial for your good gut health. Always go for a plain version of yogurt since its flavored version is sugar-laden.
15. Coconut water
100 grams of coconut can provide you with 250 mg of potassium (21).
You might know that drinking coconut water can maintain your body pH and its high electrolyte content can keep you hydrated. Also, it promotes good gut health and helps in smooth functioning of nerve and muscle.
Other foods high in potassium
Our list is not yet over. There are several other potassium rich foods such as kidney beans, soybeans, pinto beans, lima beans, bran cereal, brown & wild rice, molasses, whole-wheat bread, pasta, pumpkins, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, cooked broccoli, etc.
If you are juice lover, then go for some potassium rich juices such as orange juice, prune juice, apricot juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, etc.
Why do you need potassium?
Till now, we saw that potassium is a vital nutrient needed by our body to perform various physiological functions like muscle contraction, electrolyte balance, kidney functions and many more.
Unfortunately, our body does not make potassium on its own. To fulfill the need, we have to consume foods high in potassium. Let’s some of the top benefits that potassium has to offer.
Reduces risk of stroke
Many studies suggest that people who include potassium rich foods in their diet plan have a lesser risk of stroke. This holds true if you consume potassium via natural dietary intake and not through supplements.
The right amount of potassium inhibits oxidative damage to cells and hence prevents plaque formation.
Also, with the help of kidneys, potassium helps in removing extra sodium from your body. Too much of sodium can cause high blood pressure.
Protects from osteoporosis
Research has found a direct relationship between high dietary intake and increased bone density. Potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate are two salts found in potassium rich foods, and they are known to promote bone strength (23).
Meeting the idle goal of potassium can boost the strength of your muscles too.
Boosts heart health
Potassium is equally effective in improving heart health. It acts in such a way that muscles and vessels of the heart stay healthy and produce no hurdle in the functioning of the heart.
Final thought on foods high in potassium
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral found in our body, and it is also an essential mineral for all of us. It helps in maintaining many physiological processes of our body.
Including potassium rich foods every day in our diet plan can suffice our body needs of this mineral. There are many potassium supplements available on the market, but you should try your best to consume it naturally via fruits and vegetables.
Potassium deficiency can lead to many symptoms of lethargy, irritability and what not. So be conscious about your health and consume recommended a daily dose of potassium.