Potassium is the most important electrolyte in the body, which means it helps in conducting electric signals throughout the body. As part of two important cellular pumps in your body – the sodium-potassium pump and the hydrogen-potassium pump – potassium plays a crucial role in transmitting nerve signals, maintaining blood pressure, managing the amount of fluid in your cells, and influencing your overall energy levels.
Adults need 4,700 mg potassium in a day to maintain heart health, bone health, and overall energy levels.
It also helps your heart muscles contract, fortifies your bones, and helps produce stomach acids. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if you are an adult, your recommended daily allowance (RDA) for potassium is 4,700 mg.1 Here are some potassium reserves you can tap into to satisfy your body’s needs.
|Food||Potassium Content In 1 Cup (8 oz)||Percentage Of RDA|
|Apricot, dried||2,600 mg||55|
|Prunes, dry, raw||2,368 mg||50|
|Tuna, cooked||1,272 mg||27|
|Soybean, green, boiled||1,222 mg||26|
|Avocado, raw, cubed||1,099 mg||23|
|Sweet potato, baked with skin||1,064 mg||22.6|
|Spinach, cooked||1,040 mg||22|
|Kidney beans, cooked||904 mg||19|
|White mushroom, stir fried||888 mg||18.8|
|White potato, peeled and baked||872 mg||18.5|
|Banana, raw||800 mg||17|
|Carrot, raw||717 mg||15.2|
|Yogurt, plain, non-fat||579 mg||12.3|
While this table gives you an idea about the potassium content in an 8 oz cup of these 13 foods, please note that for a lot of these, 8 oz is too large a quantity to not have side effects. For instance, 1 cup of dried apricots will meet 55% of your potassium need for the day, but it might give you stomach ache.
List Of Potassium-Rich Foods
Apricot is popular for its antioxidant ammunition – vitamins A and C. It not only protects your eyesight but contributes to your overall well-being, too, by enriching you with good ol’ potassium. One fresh apricot (35 gm) contains 90.65 mg potassium, while 1/2 cup dried apricots contains a whopping 1,300 mg potassium (27.6% of what you need).
Prunes are an acquired taste. They have been bad-mouthed for their laxative effects, which are apparently true. However, if you appreciate its sweetness and chewy texture, a mere 1/2 cup of dry prunes can give you 1,168 mg potassium, which is almost 25% of your dietary requirement. Even if you can’t have it raw, 1/2 cup of stewed prunes can give you 395.2 mg potassium.
Tuna is rich in potassium, with 3 oz of cooked yellowfin tuna containing 484 mg, which meets more than 10% of your RDA. Salmon is also a good choice as 3 oz cooked salmon contains 326 mg potassium (7% of the RDA).
Half a cup of this vegetarian meat substitute can contribute about 13% of your daily potassium requirements, as 1/2 cup boiled green soybeans contains 611 mg potassium, while the same quantity of the mature bean, boiled, contains 576 mg potassium. Being cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, it is a viable option for people with damaged kidneys.
With guacamole options galore and avocado no longer being considered a guest at the dinner table, here is one more reason you need to gormandize this panacea fruit. An average avocado (201 gm) contains 975 mg potassium – that’s 20% of your daily required potassium and a cup of cubed avocados would yield 1,099 mg potassium.
6. Sweet Potato
It’s time you pay some serious attention to this superfood that rules the healthy foods list and is easy to prepare. One medium-sized baked sweet potato (146 gm), with the skin, contains 694 mg potassium (14.7% of your daily potassium requirement). Since about half the potassium content comes from the skin, a peeled, cooked preparation of this starchy root vegetable has a lower value of 230 mg potassium.2
Leafy greens always make it to the list for nutritious foods. This time the focus is on the 520 mg potassium in every 1/2 cup cooked spinach, meeting 11% of your daily need. While catering to your potassium needs and restraining your waistline, it also fills you up with antioxidants, fiber, zinc, and vitamin B1.
8. Kidney Beans
Unless you’re allergic to kidney beans or are exclusively carnivorous, you’re probably already stocked up with this mineral-loaded legume. You’ll be happy to know that in addition to the 452 mg potassium that 1/2 cup kidney beans provides,3 which makes up for 9.5% of your daily requirement, you are gaining protein and fiber from it.
9. White Potato
Surprised to see the most infamous vegetable on this list? While its high calorie and starch content can scare off dieters and diabetics, this popular staple does have a lot to offer – including potassium. One cup of potato boiled with skin has 424 mg potassium, serving 9% of your requirement, while the same amount of a peeled baked preparation contains 486 mg potassium.
The button mushroom serves as a healthy potassium reserve. One cup stir fried white mushrooms contains 888 mg potassium (18.8%). Being low in calories, this mushroom variety provides hope to calorie counters. It also lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. Those are a lot of feathers in its cap!
An average Chiquita banana contains 422 mg of potassium4 – a whopping 13% of the daily recommended value. Even though dates and raisins are richer in potassium, bananas are generally the preferred choice. This is because of their more likable taste and feel in the mouth, not to mention ease on the pocket. Also, our homes are always stocked with bananas because of their versatility in the kitchen, which makes it the convenient choice.
This visually appealing, ever available root veggie should not be underestimated. A 3/4 cup of carrot juice contains 517 mg potassium5(11%) and 1/2 cup boiled carrots contains 183 mg potassium. Bugs Bunny was probably very well informed!
Being low in calories, yogurt is a viable potassium source for the diet conscious. Every 8 oz plain non-fat yogurt has 579 mg potassium, while the same amount of whole-milk yogurt has 352 mg. With an added perk of probiotics, there’s no reason you should hold yourself back from a little sour indulgence.
Don’t Eat All 13 Potassium-Rich Foods Together
Be rational and moderate while planning your meal. While not getting enough potassium can lead to hypokalemia, getting too much of it can cause hyperkalemia. Rather than deriving the nutrient from a single source, mix and match these 13 foods rich in potassium. You have a lot of options to choose from, so get creative right away.
Don’t eat large amounts of a single high-potassium food to meet your daily intake requirement. Have smaller quantities of everything to get balanced nutrition.
- Breakfast: Serve yourself stir-fried white mushrooms and spinach for breakfast. You could even grab a bowlful of yogurt, with a few banana slices or chopped apricot bits as topping.
- Lunch: Reserve the tuna, the kidney beans, the soybeans, and the baked potatoes for lunch but make sure you don’t choose more than one of these, or even if you do, keep the portions small. Most of the other foods you’ll eat through the day have potassium, so being deficient in this nutrient is unlikely.
- Dinner: Except the kidney beans and the potatoes for dinner, which are slightly more difficult to digest, go ahead with any option you like. A tuna salad with slivers of carrots might be a good idea.
- Snack: Munch on a handful of dry apricots or prunes as snacks. And sneak in a banana or a few avocado cubes for sneaky hunger pangs.
Most of the nutrient values have been derived from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.
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