Most people in the United States don’t get enough potassium in their diet. Just like sodium and calcium, potassium is a mineral you can find in some foods. It helps with keeping your blood pressure healthy by removing excess sodium from your body. Secondly, potassium allows the walls of your blood vessels to relax, which also helps keep blood pressure at healthy levels. Potassium is also needed for muscle and nerve health. Knowing all of this, it’s no wonder you want to eat more foods high in potassium.
It’s essential that you get potassium in the right amounts so it’s always a good idea to eat lots of foods rich in potassium. First off, many fresh fruit and vegetables are high in this mineral and electrolyte, as are certain dairy products. Other foods that contain potassium are fish and legumes.
The daily recommended or adequate intake (AI) for potassium is 4,700 mg for healthy adults. Most people automatically think of bananas when they’re thinking about potassium sources, but there are actually many foods that contain potassium. Here are 11 foods that are high in potassium.
Just half of an avocado has 487 mg of potassium, or 10 percent of the AI. If you eat the whole thing, you get 1/5 of your potassium needs for the day, all at once. Sprinkle on some salt substitute with potassium and you’ll get even more.
Avocados aren’t good for just potassium, however: they’re also high in good fats like monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), vitamin K, and folate. They’re low in sodium and eating them on a daily basis can even help lower your blood pressure.
- Avocados are nutrient rich: only 64 calories and a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as potassium, magnesium, folate, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin.
- Avocados are good for vision: they contain zeaxanthin and lutein, to antioxidant phytochemical that help minimize eye damage. Other nutrients like beta-carotene can also help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- Avocados support a healthy heart: they have 25 mg of beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol that helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- Avocados help prevent osteoporosis due to high levels of vitamin k: just half of an avocado gives you a quarter of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Essential for bone health, vitamin K helps increase calcium absorption and reduces the urinary excretion of calcium. In other words, vitamin K makes sure calcium gets to where it’s supposed to go, and stays there.
2. Sweet Potato
With the Paleo craze, sweet potatoes have become hugely popular, and for good reason! They are especially high in potassium: one medium-sized sweet potato offers 12 percent or 541 mg of potassium AI for the day.
They’re also low in fat, have a bit of protein, and are a great source of fiber and complex carbs. Sweet potatoes are astronomically high in vitamin A, too. One medium tuber packs over 400 percent of the daily RDI.
- Sweet potato improves insulin sensitivity in diabetics: In one study, an extract of sweet potato improved insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetics.
- Sweet potato helps prevent diabetes: the more fiber a person eats, the lower his or her chances in developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Sweet potatoes help maintain healthy blood pressure levels: the potassium in sweet potatoes is about five percent of the RDI for an adult. Potassium is essential in hearth health.
- Sweet potatoes lower the risk of certain cancers: the beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the risks of lung and prostate cancers.
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water, which is the clear liquid from inside of a green coconut, is packed full of health benefits. It’s so high in potassium it can help ward off muscle cramps and help lower blood pressure. In fact, an eight-ounce glass of coconut water has 600 mg of potassium, 10 times more than most sports drinks.
- Coconut water is a natural sports performance drink. Its naturally occurring electrolytes, low sugar content, and lack of artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors, makes coconut water a superior sports drink.
- Coconut water is low in calories: only 45 calories in a cup. This makes coconut water an ideal substitute for juice or soda.
Watermelon is a delicious fruit that is packed full of water and potassium, and not a lot of calories, making it a valuable snack. Two wedges will provide 640 mg of potassium, which is almost 14 percent of your potassium AI. It also offers vitamins C and A, and magnesium.
- Watermelon helps prevent asthma: those people who have diets high in vitamin C, among other nutrients, have lower chances of developing asthma.
- Watermelon helps reduce blood pressure in people with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension: a study showed that watermelon extract helped improve the circulatory health of obese middle-aged adults with signs of or early stages of high blood pressure.
- Watermelon helps the digestive system: because of its fiber and water content, watermelon helps prevent constipation, promoting a healthy digestive system.
- Watermelon helps prevent cancer: it’s an excellent source of antioxidants which help to fight against the formation of free radicals that cause cancer.
5. Black Beans
Also called turtle beans, black beans are actually legumes prized for their vitamin and mineral, high protein, and high fiber content. One cup of beans has around 611 mg of potassium, or 13 percent of the AI for healthy adults.
- Black beans help maintain healthy bones: the minerals in these delicious legume all work together to build and maintain bone strength and structure.
- Black beans help lower blood pressure: black beans are low in sodium and high in potassium, which helps to naturally decrease blood pressure.
- Black beans assist in the management of diabetes: those with type 1 diabetes who ate a diet high in fiber had lower blood glucose levels, and fiber is in bountiful supply in black beans. In type 2 diabetics who ate higher fiber diets showed improved insulin and blood sugar levels.
- Black beans help fight off heart disease: The folate, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber in black beans all support a healthy heart.
Edamame are young soybeans that are enjoyed all over the world as a snack or side dish. Naturally gluten-free, they are low in calories, have no cholesterol, and are a great source of protein, calcium, and iron.
- Edamame helps combat age-related brain diseases: the isoflavones in edamame help improve nonverbal memory and verbal fluency
- Edamame’s soy protein lowers bad cholesterol and helps prevent cardiovascular disease: soy protein has properties that lowers the bad cholesterol levels in blood. Another study showed that soy can also help heart health through antioxidants and fiber content.
- Edamame reduces the risk of prostate and breast cancer: the main isoflavone in soy has antioxidant properties that could prevent the growth of breast cancer cells. When it comes to prostate cancer, a review from 2018 showed that the consumption of soy-based products could greatly reduce the risk of prostate cancer in males.
- Edamame may help with depression: folate is present in high amounts in soy, and folate is required to help prevent depression.
7. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is great to eat over the winter season and is a wonderful source of potassium, fiber, and other key nutrients. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked, cubed butter nut squash has just 82 calories and a whopping 582 mg of potassium.
- Butternut squash helps lower blood pressure while preventing high blood pressure: a high potassium intake is linked to lower risk of death from all types of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Butternut squash helps reduce the chances of developing asthma: the high amounts of beta-carotene that makes butternut squash its distinctive colour helps fight off asthma.
- Butternut squash promotes healthy skin and hair: the high vitamin A content is needed for the production of sebum, which keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A also plays a role in the growth of skin and hair.
- Butternut squash helps prevent constipation and promotes a healthy digestive system: a high fiber diet can also help keep gut bacteria healthy and even enhance weight loss.
8. Tomato Paste
Tomatoes are nutrient-dense superfoods that offer a wide range of benefits to a different selection of bodily systems. One can of tomato paste has 1,724 mg of potassium! That’s an incredible amount of this amazing micronutrient.
- Tomato paste protects against cancer: tomatoes contain an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants that are essential in fighting free radicals.
- Tomato paste may help lower blood pressure: balancing a healthy sodium intake with the proper amount of potassium via tomato paste can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and overall heart health.
- Tomato paste helps support healthy bowel movements and gut health: foods high in water and fiber, like tomato paste, can help support normal and regular bowel movements, thus helping to keep the digestive system happy.
Milk offers valuable nutrients, and a wide variety of health benefits. One cup of milk contains 366 mg of potassium on average. As an aside, lower fat milk has more potassium than full fat milk.
- Milk is a great supporter of bone health: it offers a good source of calcium, which is required for healthy teeth and bones. Cow’s milk is also fortified with vitamin D, which also helps in healthy bones.
- Milk enhances vasodilation and reduces blood pressure: the potassium in milk decreases the risk of death from ischemic heart disease.
10. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is an amazingly nutritious green leafy vegetable that offers more than three times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K and although only seven calories in one cup of cooked Swiss chard offers 136 mg of potassium.
- Swiss chard lowers blood pressure: the minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium in Swiss chard help protect against high blood pressure.
- Swiss chard helps fight cancer: the chlorophyll in Swiss chard helps hinder some of the carcinogenic effects of grilled foods.
- Swiss chard can help manage diabetes: alpha-lipoid acid in Swiss chard can lower glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity. Swiss chard can also reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics. It can also help protect against retinopathy, common in diabetics.
- Swiss chard can help prevent osteoporosis: leafy greens like Swiss chard have high levels of vitamin K, which can help prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Beets, or beetroot, is a superfood that can reduce blood pressure, improve athletic performance, and increase blood flow. One cup of cooked beets contains 442 mg of potassium.
- Beets, or beetroot, is a superfood that can reduce blood pressure, improve athletic performance, and increase blood flow. One cup of cooked beets contains 442 mg of potassium.
- Beets are good for the heart and blood pressure: a study in 2015 showed that people with high blood pressure who drank beetroot juice every day saw that their blood pressures were lowered significantly as a result.
- Beets help control diabetes: beetroot increases insulin sensitivity and lowers blood glucose levels.
- Beetroot juice helps in athletic performance: high doses of beet juice improved the time results of experienced cyclists in one study done in 2019.
- Beets may help with cancer prevention: certain compounds can disrupt how cancerous cells mutate, although more research is necessary before scientists can definitively state a link between beets and cancer prevention.
Other foods that are high in potassium include:
- Whole-wheat bread and pastas;
- Meat and poultry;
- Fish like tuna, halibut, and cod;
- Salt substitutes;
- Bran cereal; and
- Brown and wild rice.
Important Note About Potassium
If you have kidney disease, your dietary requirements for potassium will be much different. If your kidneys don’t work as they should, too much potassium stays in your body, which can lead to problems. Speak to your doctor about your safe daily limit of potassium.