Potassium is an essential element that contributes to complete nutrition and balances electrolytes in the body, helping keep pH levels in check. The micronutrient also regulates hydration and works in conjunction with sodium at the cellular level to ensure each cell functions correctly. Low potassium or hypokalemia can cause headaches, migraines, dehydration, and heart palpitations. Many foods are naturally rich in potassium, making it fairly easy to consume the average recommended intake of 4700 milligrams per day.
Avocados are high in potassium. One fruit contains around 975 mg and is rich in healthy dietary fats, as well, making it a good choice for people with metabolic syndromes. In addition to these shining qualities, avocados also contain vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, and folate. The creamy fruit is easy to incorporate into a wide variety of meals.
This hard rind fall squash has a dark green color and acorn shape. The flesh is sweet and mild and, like many gourds, high in potassium. One half-cup serving of baked acorn squash provides about 450 mg or around 10 percent of the potassium needed for a 2000 calorie diet. In addition, the squash is high in antioxidants, which, when paired with potassium, can facilitate cell repair. Acorn squash can be cubed and roasted or stewed and served as a side dish or entree.
Leafy greens like spinach are naturally high in many essential minerals. A one-cup serving of raw spinach contains 167 mg, while a cup of cooked spinach has more than 800 mg. The veggie also contains more than 100% of the DRI of vitamin K and is a good source of non-heme iron, too. Studies support the benefits of spinach's anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous compounds.
Sweet potatoes are lower in calories and have a lower glycemic index than regular white or red potatoes. For this reason, they're a good choice for people with metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. The root vegetable is also high in potassium; a single baked sweet potato contains about 500 mg. Manganese and vitamins A and C are also prevalent in the sweet side dish.
Salmon is rich in protein and potassium. A significant part of a healthy diet, this fish has plenty of other important nutrients, as well. Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health, are prevalent in salmon and work with potassium to contribute to cognitive health. One three-ounce serving of dry cooked salmon contains 534 mg of potassium. Omega-3s and appropriate levels of potassium can help alleviate some symptoms of depression, sharpen the mind, and improve concentration. A diet incorporating salmon can also play a role in lowering blood pressure, soothing eczema, and even counteracting symptoms of ADHD.
Due to their concentrated nature, dried apricots are a good option for a quick potassium boost, and the tangy, fresh fruit is also beneficial. A half cup of dried apricot contains about 750 mg of potassium. A cup of fresh apricots has about 400 mg. The nutritional perks of apricots include a high antioxidant count to reduce oxidative stress on the body, vitamin A for eye health, and fiber for improved digestion.
A whole grapefruit has more than 300 mg of potassium and is also rich in vitamin C, essential for a healthy immune system. The fiber in this citrus fruit can aid in weight loss by promoting reduced calorie intake, and studies suggest grapefruit may even help prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes by lowering fasting serum levels of this important hormone.
Broccoli is a superfood in many ways and is one of the best plant sources of potassium. One serving of broccoli has 450 mg of the mineral, about ten percent of a 2000 calorie diet's daily recommended amount. Eating broccoli also helps manage metabolic syndrome, as it's a fibrous vegetable that can lower blood sugar levels. The cruciferous vegetable is also a great source of vitamin K and folate. Raw or lightly steamed broccoli will offer the most nutritional benefit.
White beans are high in potassium and dietary fiber. Just one cup of the beans, also known as cannellini beans, offers more than 1000 mg of potassium, one of the highest concentrations available, although this amount drops a little if the beans are boiled. This low-glycemic legume can also help prevent the storage of energy as fat. Antioxidants and magnesium round out this bean's nutrition profile.
Bananas are well known for their potassium content, though they contain less than a number of foods on the list. However, this easy-traveling fruit has other benefits to its name. Vitamin B6 and manganese are prevalent in bananas; both are necessary for cell repair. Bananas can improve muscle recovery after any activity and balance out water retention.
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