Potassium is an important mineral, though less discussed than iron and calcium. At its core, potassium is crucial for life and the functioning of several organs including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues.
This mineral helps regulate blood pressure and aids the functioning of the heart and the nervous system. It also negates the damaging effects of sodium, improves sleep quality, boosts mental function and aids muscular function and waste removal. Potassium also helps regulate your body’s fluid levels.
If you are eating less than the recommended dose, you can suffer from potassium deficiency, also known as hypokalemia.
A potassium deficiency can cause several symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, constipation, muscular weakness, tingling sensations, heart palpitations, digestive problems and many more.
Potassium is also a necessary dietary component for preventing an array of health issues.
In order to maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body, it is essential to consume potassium-rich foods.
Here are the top 10 potassium-rich foods.
Bananas are well-known for being rich in potassium.
One medium-sized banana has 422 mg of potassium, or 12 percent of the recommended dietary intake. You can eat this fruit as a snack or add it to oatmeal, yogurt and smoothies.
Along with potassium, bananas contain fiber, vitamins B6 and C, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Due to the natural sugars like sucrose, fructose and glucose in bananas, they are a great energy booster.
In fact, bananas make a healthy, high-energy snack and are better than a sports drink. A 2012 study published in PLOS ONE reports that bananas provide cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and vitamin B6.
Regular intake of this tasty fruit helps regulate bowel movements, improve your heart health, treat anemia, lower your blood pressure, cure ulcers, soothe heartburn and improve your skin condition, to name a few.
Just 1 ripe avocado provides 975 mg of potassium, which is equivalent to 30 percent of the recommended dietary intake.
You can eat a half of a plain avocado sprinkled with lemon juice or your favorite seasoning to meet a good portion of your daily needs. You can also use avocado to make guacamole and other dips or add it to salads, smoothies or sandwiches.
This superfood also has plenty of heart-healthy fats as well as fiber, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin K, copper, iron, phosphorus, protein and folate.
Including avocado in your diet can help ease arthritis symptoms, reduce your risk of certain cancers, lower your cholesterol level, boost your eye health, improve your heart health, promote weight loss, regulate your blood sugar and help with digestion. It also improves the production of collagen, which maintains your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Most dark green vegetables are rich in potassium, but spinach is worth mentioning.
Just 1 cup of boiled spinach provides 839 mg of potassium, which is equivalent to 24 percent of the recommended dietary intake. You can enjoy this green vegetable in salads, vegetable juice or green smoothies. Also, spinach can be added to soups, side dishes or omelets.
Apart from potassium, spinach has calcium, vitamins A and K, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, protein, selenium, copper and nitrates. Plus, these green leaves are high in water content and low in calories.
Some of the potential health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving bone health, lowering the risk of developing asthma, improving bone health, fighting anemia, reducing inflammation, protecting your vision from age-related problems and lots more.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Another potassium-rich food is sweet potatoes. Just 1 medium-sized sweet potato contains 952 mg of this mineral, which is equivalent to 27 percent of the recommended dietary intake.
You can enjoy them sautéed, baked, steamed or fried. You can also add sweet potatoes to soups or salads.
Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of vitamins A and C and also contain vitamins B1, B2 and B6. They also have manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, fiber, phosphorus, calcium, iron and complex carbohydrates.
Regular intake of sweet potatoes can help reduce inflammation, improve your vision, protect your skin from sun damage, ward off cancer, fight premature aging, regulate your blood sugar level, boost your immune system, keep stress under control and much more.
5. White Beans
White beans are also a very rich source of potassium and just ½ cup provides you with 502 mg, or more than 15 percent of the daily recommended amount.
You can add boiled white beans to salads, soups and stews. These beans can also be used to make burgers and hummus.
These beans are also rich in fiber and contain folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and plant-based protein. Another good aspect of white beans is that they contain little to no fat and are cholesterol-free.
By including white beans in your diet, you can prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, lower your heart attack risk, lower your cholesterol level, boost your energy level, maintain your memory, and prevent constipation and other common digestive disorders like diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
6. Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are also a good source of potassium. 1 medium-sized baked potato with skin contains almost 950 mg of potassium, thus providing with about 27 percent of recommended dietary intake.
The flesh usually contains almost 610 mg of potassium. The thin skin of a medium-sized baked potato is also good source of potassium as it packs 330 mg of potassium, providing 9 percent of the recommended daily value.
Plus, potato skin is a concentrated source of nutrients, including dietary fiber, iron, protein, and vitamins B6 and C.
Being low in calories, it is a excellent choice for increasing your potassium intake.
7. Dried Apricots
All dried fruits like peaches, prunes, figs and raisins are great sources of potassium. However, dried apricots are one of the best potassium-rich foods, as just ½ cup contains 755 mg of this
mineral. It provides about 22 percent of the recommended dietary intake.
Dried apricots make a really healthy on-the-go snack and they can be added to salads and to all kinds of cooking and baking.
Along with potassium, apricots contain a number of potent antioxidants, such as vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C. They also contain copper, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Including a handful of dried apricots in your diet can improve your eyesight, fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, lower cholesterol levels and improve the health of skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissue.
8. Acorn Squash
Acorn squash, also known as winter squash, is another excellent source of this important mineral.
Just 1 cup of acorn squash provides 644 mg of potassium, which is 18 percent of the recommended dietary intake. You can eat acorn squash baked, roasted, sautéed, steamed, stuffed, or mixed in with meat and vegetable dishes.
Apart from potassium, acorn squash is a rich source of folic acid and contains vitamins A and C, thiamin, pantothenic acid, several B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous and calcium.
Including acorn squash in your diet can help regulate digestion, boost brain power, prevent certain types of cancer, improve vision, protect the skin, strengthen the bones, reduce blood pressure, maintain fluid balance, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and maintain proper circulation.
9. White Mushrooms
Many people will be shocked to know that white mushrooms are also one of the best sources of potassium. Even though they are one of the cheapest mushrooms, just 1 cup of white mushroom contains around 450 mg of potassium, which is about 11 percent of the daily recommended dose.
Their meaty texture helps add body to your meals and you can add them to soups, salads, sandwiches, stir-fries and side dishes.
These mushrooms also have calcium, vitamin D, several B vitamins, iron, lean protein and magnesium. They are also low in calories but high in water content.
Eating mushrooms can do wonders for your cholesterol and heart health. Other possible health benefits include reduced risk of obesity, regulating blood sugar levels, promoting a healthy complexion, fighting anemia, boosting energy level and improving digestive health.
10. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Concentrated tomatoes, such as sun-dried tomatoes as well as tomato paste and sauce, are also a good source of potassium. In fact, a single cup of sun-dried tomatoes provides 1,800 mg of potassium, which is about 40 percent of your daily requirement.
These tomatoes make a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches, a great topping for pizza and go well in homemade sauces. In fact, these tomatoes have a much more intense flavor than a full, plump and ripe tomato.
Sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of vitamins C, A and K as well as thiamine, riboflavin, protein, iron and fiber.
Eating sun-dried tomatoes can help your digestive and immune system. They are also good for your skin and help maintain good heart health, reduce the risk of cancer, prevent anemia, and regulate bone mineralization.