Potassium is an essential electrolyte with the primary role of maintaining normal fluid levels inside cells—sodium, on the other hand, affects the fluid levels outside cells. We need more potassium than sodium to keep hypertension and heart disease at bay, but modern diets often provide more salt instead.
The average adult man requires at least 3,400 mg of potassium daily, and the average woman needs 2,600 mg. Too much potassium, though, can be problematic for people with kidney issues, so check out these high-potassium foods, but speak to your doctor before you make any major dietary changes.
Beans are affordable and easy to incorporate into your diet. They are low in fat and high in fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. You can make a spicy bean salad or chili with many of the varieties. A cup of cooked lima beans offers 969 mg of potassium.
Adzuki beans, white beans, pink beans, and the black turtle beans found in Cajun and Creole cuisine are higher in potassium than edamame and fava beans.
Like beans, lentils are available dried or canned and have similar nutritional benefits. Canada is the world's largest producer of this legume, a gluten-free source of complex carbs. Half a cup of cooked lentils offers about 115 calories and 366 mg of potassium. You can use split red lentils and whole green lentils in hearty stews, Indian dals, soups, salads, and pasta.
Lentils also contain manganese to fight free-radical damage and boast the most folate of all plant-based foods.
Fix yourself a virgin bloody mary or make a flavorsome spaghetti sauce. Concentrated forms of tomato provide more potassium—there's approximately 162 mg in a tablespoon of tomato paste. A cup of stewed tomatoes or 100% tomato juice offers 528 mg of potassium, but if you're buying a can of stewed tomatoes, be mindful of the sugar content.
One medium-sized fresh tomato would give you about half this amount of the mineral. In addition, tomatoes are sources of vitamins A and C.
Leafy greens are super low in calories but pack a punch nutritionally. Swiss chard is right up there with lima beans, offering 961 mg of potassium per cup of the cooked vegetable. But neither is the top dietary source of potassium. That honor belongs to beet greens—a cup of cooked beet greens has a whopping 1309 mg of potassium.
Spinach is hot on the heels of these top scorers, and cooked cress and purslane contain more potassium than tomatoes.
Dairy products like yogurt are rich in potassium. A cup plain yogurt can score you almost 400 mg, and low- or non-fat options actually have a bit more. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, and kefir, a yogurt drink, has become particularly popular for its gut microbiome benefits. A cup of kefir has 399 mg of potassium—about 11% of the daily requirement.
A cup of cooked brown medium-grain rice will give you 154 mg of potassium, about 3% of the recommended daily value. This amount is much more than you'll get from its refined counterpart, white rice.
A slice of whole-wheat bread will provide 81 mg of potassium. Raisin bran and grape nuts have over 300 mg of potassium per cup. If you need to eat less potassium for health reasons, there are still plenty of grains to choose from, including oatmeal, bran flakes, and shredded wheat.
A quarter cup of dried peaches has loads of potassium—399 mg, to be precise, and the same serving of dried apricots is pretty high too. With a quarter cup of dried plums or prunes, you're looking at 319 mg of potassium, and raisins aren't that far off.
Dried fruits are very healthy but high in calories and sugar, so they're best to consume in moderation.
A cup of unsweetened coconut water, the clear liquid inside young coconuts, is a refreshing way to boost your potassium intake by about 450 mg. Coconut milk, on the other hand, comprises an even more impressive 631 mg of potassium.
Because of the high potassium in these fluids, it's advisable to drink them in moderation, especially if your diet is rich in other sources of potassium. Too much can lead to an irregular heartbeat and kidney problems.
Three ounces of your favorite fish should make up a sizable portion of your potassium intake. Most types of fish have over 300 mg of potassium in a serving the size of your palm. Clams are technically not fish, but they contain the most potassium in the seafood category, with 534 mg of potassium.
Wild Atlantic salmon has similar amounts of potassium, and if you're following a low-potassium diet, you can opt for anchovies and lobster.
Many soy products are high in potassium. Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is a plant-based protein. Half a cup contains about 160 calories and 342 mg of potassium. If you're more of a bean curd or tofu fan, a tofu scramble with half a cup of raw, firm tofu has about 299 mg of potassium and will get your morning off to a good start. Soy is high in phosphorus too.
A tablespoon of whole flax seeds contains 84 mg of potassium. An ounce, the recommended daily amount, of pumpkin or sunflower seeds has 240 mg of potassium. Because they have more than 200 mg of the nutrient, they're considered high-potassium foods.
Seeds have many benefits, including regulating body weight and protecting against heart disease. You can pan-fry them in extra virgin olive oil or roast and lightly season them before sprinkling them over dishes for added crunch and flavor.
Nuts have many of the same benefits as seeds. An ounce of pistachio nuts will give you 286 mg of potassium. An ounce of nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, and Brazil nuts offers about 200 mg of potassium. Walnuts, pecans, and macadamias have approximately half that amount. S
If you enjoy nuts in your trail mix, the ones you'll toast and include will depend on whether you're following a high-potassium or low-potassium diet.
Three ounces or a palm-sized serving of boneless grilled chicken breast contains about 332 mg of potassium. Top sirloin beef has a similar amount, for comparison. Three ounces of roasted turkey breast have 212 mg of potassium.
Animal proteins are complete proteins that give us all the essential amino acids we require.
Ask the average person to name a food high in potassium, and most will say bananas. Potassium helps muscles contract, so you may have seen an athlete munching on one mid-match. The humble banana, medium-sized, has 425 mg of potassium, but just half an avocado beats it with 487 mg.
Half a cup of a stinky but beloved durian will load you with 530 mg. A whole pomegranate has 400 mg, fresh mango has 325 mg, and half a cup of cubed cantaloupe, an apple, or a kiwi also provides more than 200 mg. A cup of OJ comes in at over 470 mg of the mineral.
Half a cup of cooked broccoli will give you 230 mg of potassium. That's not the highest on this list, but this bushy veg is no slob, either. Half a cup of raw cauliflower can contribute 160 mg to your target, and the same amount of Brussels sprouts has 225 mg of potassium.
If you're looking to reduce rather than increase your potassium, it's worth remembering that soaking these cruciferous veggies lowers their potassium content.
What everyday veggies stand out? Carrots, asparagus, zucchini, and squash, for starters. Half a cup of cooked zucchini has 220 mg of potassium, and the same amounts of cooked winter squash and asparagus have 250 and 202 mg, respectively. Summer squash has slightly less.
The hero of every garden salad, the carrot, trumps all of these. One cup of pure carrot juice has a massive 689 mg of potassium, and a raw carrot has 410 mg.
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