Foods high in potassium provide your body with the support it needs to regulate fluids and function at its very best. The list of potassium-rich foods includes choices such as avocado, salmon, bananas and yam.
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Potassium is a mineral that supports your health in countless ways.
For starters, it provides vital assistance to your muscles and your nervous system. It also helps regulate essential functions such as your heartbeat and your blood pressure. If you don’t get enough of it in your diet, you’re more likely to develop hypertension or come down with a stroke.
Because of this, potassium deserves to play a starring role in your diet. The bad news is that most people in this country fall short of consuming an adequate amount of this mineral.
Certain foods are naturally rich in potassium. Consuming foods high in potassium can help you shore up your intake of this valuable nutrient.
In this article, we will:
- Define potassium, and explain the role it plays in supporting your health
- List the benefits that come with consuming adequate amounts of this mineral
- Explain how much potassium you should aim to consume each day
- List 121 foods high in potassium
What is potassium?
Potassium is a mineral that helps your body function efficiently. It falls within the electrolyte family; it helps your nerves and muscles function as they should, and it helps you maintain a regular heartbeat.
To stay healthy, the cells in your body need to be able to move nutrients in and kick waste out. Potassium assists with this process.
Then there’s the issue of sodium. Sodium in your diet can raise your blood pressure. Potassium can help lessen some of sodium’s harmful effects.
Back when humans were hunters and gatherers, potassium was plentiful in the diet, while sodium was scarce. According to Harvard Medical School, the typical diet that was consumed by humans during this time contained about 16 times more potassium than sodium.
Today, most Americans get less than half the recommended amount of potassium in their diets. And because many processed or prepared foods are high in salt and low in potassium, the average American diet these days contains about twice as much sodium as potassium.
This imbalance isn’t healthy. It’s believed to be a key cause of high blood pressure, a condition that affects one in three American adults.
What are potassium’s health benefits?
Potassium supports good health. Getting enough potassium-rich foods in your diet can provide these health benefits:
1. Supports healthy fluid balance
Roughly 60 percent of the body is made up of water. About 40 percent of this water is found inside your cells, and it’s referred to as intercellular fluid (ICF). The rest of this water is found outside your cells, in places such as your spinal fluid and your blood. It’s known as extracellular fluid (ECF).
If the balance of water in your body runs low, dehydration can set in.
Consuming enough water is an obvious way to address this. However, the amount of water that’s inside and outside of your cells is also affected by the amount of potassium and sodium in your body.
If potassium is low, dehydration is more likely. Dehydration can have negative implications for your heart and your kidneys.
Adequate potassium intake – along with proper hydration – can help you maintain a healthy fluid balance and keep dehydration at bay.
2. Nourishes the nervous system
Your nervous system is a conduit that establishes a path of communication between your brain and your body.
This communication takes the form of nerve impulses. Each impulse governs bodily functions such as muscle contractions, reflexes and your heartbeat. If you experience pain, your nervous system sends those pain signals to your brain. The nervous system also regulates things such as body temperature; if you get too hot, it will tell the body to sweat more so you can cool down.
Research shows that a drop in potassium levels can hinder the body’s ability to generate a nerve impulse.
As such, adequate dietary potassium is necessary if you want to maintain a healthy nervous system.
3. Supports heart health
As potassium moves in and out of your cells, it helps your heart maintain a consistent beat. A steady heartbeat is necessary to maintain life. It helps your body pump vital blood to your organs, brains, tissues and muscles.
If the potassium level in your blood is less than optimal, it can impact the way your heart functions. The heartbeat can become abnormal, creating a condition called heart arrhythmia. This condition can be fatal.
4. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure
Blood pressure is a term that refers to the force of blood as it pushes against your artery walls. If your blood pressure is higher than normal, it can cause damage to your heart, and create a litany of health problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, high blood pressure was a causal factor in roughly half a million deaths in the United States. Excessive sodium intake in linked to high blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium can help remove excess sodium from the body. In so doing, high-potassium food can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
5. Protects against strokes
Strokes are a common cause of death in the U.S. The CDC reports that someone in this country has a stroke every 40 seconds. And every four minutes, someone dies due to a stroke.
A stroke happens when blood flow to your brain is compromised. Research shows that if you maintain an adequate potassium level, you’re less likely to fall victim to a stroke.
One 2011 meta-analysis concluded that higher dietary potassium intake is linked with lower rates of stroke.
6. May prevent osteoporosis
Osteoporosis in a condition in which the bones become weak and porous. This disease can make it more likely for you to break a bone; this breakage typically takes place in the hip, forearm, wrist and spine. While most people with this condition break bones due to falls, breakage may also be caused by more innocuous actions, such as bumping into something or coughing.
This disease is more common in women, and it’s more prevalent in older people. Osteoporosis affects about 25 percent of women aged 65 and older. About 5 percent of men aged 65 and older have this disease.
Osteoporosis is often linked with low calcium levels. Studies show that eating foods high in potassium can help the body retain more calcium. In so doing, a potassium-rich diet may help prevent osteoporosis.
Potassium chloride is a form of potassium. One 2015 meta-analysis looked at the effect of supplementation with potassium chloride. It showed that this type of supplementation reduced calcium loss in ways that benefit bone health.
Research also shows that high potassium intake can help you maintain strong bones. A 2000 study shows that participants who have a high potassium level (via fruits and vegetables) were likely to have better bone mass and bone metabolism than those with medium or low potassium.
7. May prevent kidney stones
A kidney stone is small, hard clump of material that forms in your kidneys. It’s eliminated via your urine, and the process of getting rid of it in this way can be painful.
If a kidney stone is present, it can cause pain in your side, back, lower abdomen or groin. It can also cause pain or a burning sensation as you urinate.
In many cases, kidney stones are mostly made of calcium. Studies show that a form of potassium known as potassium citrate can help lower calcium levels in urine. Potassium citrate is commonly found in many fruits and vegetables.
By having this effect on calcium in your urine, potassium can help fight kidney stones.
8. May reduce water retention
Water retention occurs when fluid builds up in your body tissues and cavities. It can be caused by things such as prescription medication, hormonal changes or eating too much salt.
The symptoms include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Swollen feet, ankles and legs
- Facial puffiness
- Stiff joints
- Weight fluctuations
Potassium can help reduce water retention. Over the years, it’s been used to treat this condition.
Research shows that a high potassium intake can relieve water retention. It does so by ramping up urine production and reducing the amount of sodium in your body.
How much potassium should I get each day?
Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), here are the adequate intakes for potassium across various age groups:
- Birth to six months: 400 mg, both genders
- Seven to 12 months: 860 mg, both genders
- One to three years: 2,000 mg, both genders
- Four to eight years: 2,300 mg, both genders
- Nine to 13 years: 2,500 mg males, 2,300 mg females
- 14-18 years: 3,000 mg males, 2,300 mg females
- 19-50 years: 3,400 mg males, 2,600 mg females
- 51-plus years: 3,400 mg males, 2,600 mg females
- Pregnancy and lactation, 14-18 years: 2,600 mg pregnancy, 2,500 mg lactation
- Pregnancy and lactation, 19-50 years: 2,900 mg pregnancy, 2,800 mg lactation
It’s rare for otherwise healthy people to get too much potassium.
However, if you have poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease, your body may be unable to remove potassium via the urine.
People with these kinds of kidney problems may be at risk for excess potassium in the blood. As a result, they may need to restrict their potassium intake.
Foods high in potassium
The right foods can keep your daily potassium level high. Here are 121 potassium-rich foods (70 plant-based and 51 animal-based) to consider including in your diet:
Plant-based (800 mg or more of potassium)
- Beet greens (cooked) – 1,309 mg in one cup
- Adzuki beans – 1,224 mg in one cup
- Avocado – up to 1,166 mg in one cup
- Canned tomato puree – 1,097 mg in one cup
- Breadfruit – 1,078 mg in one cup
- Durian – 1,059 mg in one cup
- Large white beans (cooked) – 1,004 mg in one cup
- Green soybeans (cooked) – 970 mg in one cup
- Lima beans (cooked) – 969 mg in one cup
- Swiss chard (cooked) – 961 mg in one cup
- Russet potatoes (baked) – 951 mg in one cup
- Red potatoes (baked) – 943 mg in one cup
- Chili with beans – 934 mg in one cup
- Yam (cooked) – 911 mg in one cup
- Baked beans – 906 mg in one cup
- Hash browns – 899 mg in one cup
- Acorn squash (baked) – 896 mg in one cup
- Edamame – 886 mg in one cup
- Yellow plantains (fried) – 857 mg in one cup
- Tahitian taro (cooked) – 853 mg in one cup
- Spinach (cooked) – 839 mg in one cup
- Canned refried beans – 832 mg in one cup
- Small white beans (cooked) – 829 mg in one cup
- Passion fruit – 821 mg in one cup
- Bamboo shoots – 805 mg in one cup
Plant-based (501-799 mg of potassium)
- Mamey sapote – 794 mg in one cup
- Buckwheat (uncooked) – 782 mg in one cup
- Canned navy beans- 755 mg in one cup
- Tamarinds – 754 mg in one cup
- Jackfruit – 739 mg in one cup
- Lentils (cooked) – 731 mg in one cup
- Split peas – 709 mg in one cup
- Shredded coconut meat – 707 mg in one cup
- Sun-dried hot chile peppers – 692 mg in one cup
- Blackeyed peas (cooked) – 690 mg in one cup
- Guavas – 688 mg in one cup
- Oats (uncooked) – 669 mg in one cup
- Homemade granola – 658 mg in one cup
- Soursop – 625 mg in one cup
- Coconut water – 600 mg in one cup
- Soy milk (unsweetened) – 598 mg in 16-ounce glass
- Firm tofu – 597 mg in one cup
- Bananas – 537 mg in one cup
- Oat bran – 532 mg in one cup
- Portobello mushrooms (exposed to sunlight) – 529 mg in one cup
- Tomatoes (cooked) – 523 mg in one cup
- Beets (cooked) – 518 mg in one cup
- Dried apricot – 518 mg in one cup
- Apple juice – 501 mg in 16-ounce glass
Plant-based (390-500 mg of potassium)
- Parsnips – 499 mg in one cup
- Chestnuts (roasted) – 497 mg in 10 kernels
- Coconut milk – 497 mg in one cup
- Orange juice – 496 mg in one cup
- Brussels sprouts (cooked) – 494 mg in one cup
- Winter squash (cooked) – 494 mg in one cup
- Butternut squash – 494 mg in one cup
- Garbanzo beans (cooked) – 477 mg in one cup
- Zucchini (cooked) – 475 mg in one cup
- Sapodilla – 465 mg in one cup
- Cherimoya – 459 mg in one cup
- Broccoli (cooked) – 457 mg in one cup
- Fava beans – 456 mg in one cup
- Sweet potatoes – 448 mg in one cup
- Green peas (cooked) – 434 mg in one cup
- Celery (cooked) – 426 mg in one cup
- Soy-based protein powder – 420 mg in one scoop
- Lupin beans (cooked) – 407 mg in one cup
- Elderberries – 406 mg in one cup
- Asparagus (cooked) – 403 mg in one cup
- Yellow sweet corn – 391 mg in one cup
Animal-based (800 mg or more of potassium)
- Kielbasa sausage (cooked) – 1,125 mg in one link
- Wild Atlantic salmon (cooked) – 1,068 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Grouper (cooked) – 959 mg in one fillet
- Yellowfin tuna (cooked) – 896 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Snapper (cooked) – 887 mg in one fillet
- Mahimahi (cooked) – 847 mg in one fillet
Animal-based (501-799 mg of potassium)
- Yellowtail (cooked) – 785 mg in ½ fillet
- Coho salmon (cooked) – 782 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Pacific herring – 780 mg in one fillet
- Tilefish (cooked) – 768 mg in ½ fillet
- Skim milk – 764 mg in 16-ounce glass
- Pork tenderloin (broiled) – 755 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Whey protein powder isolate – 750 mg in one scoop
- Sockeye salmon (cooked) – 741 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- High-fat milk – 737 mg in 16-ounce glass
- Low-fat milk – 732 mg in 16-ounce glass
- Lean pork chops – 728 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Atlantic mackerel (cooked) – 682 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Chicken leg (roasted) – 681 mg in one leg
- Tilapia (cooked) – 646 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Whole milk – 644 mg in 16-ounce glass
- Nonfat yogurt – 625 mg in one cup
- Ground pork (cooked) – 615 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Fat-free ground turkey – 607 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Ground beef patty (broiled) – 600 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Atlantic herring – 599 mg in one fillet
- Catfish (cooked) – 599 mg in one fillet
- Canned sardines – 591 mg in one cup
- Lean chicken breast (cooked) – 583 mg in 6-ounce breast
- Canadian bacon – 581 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Dungeness crab (raw) – 577 mg in one crab
- Whitefish (smoked) – 575 mg in one cup
- Lamb shoulder roast (cooked) – 575 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Low-fat cured ham – 573 mg in one cup
- Northern pike (cooked) – 563 mg in 6-ounce fillet
- Cuttlefish (cooked) – 541 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Clams (cooked) – 534 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Haddock (cooked) – 526 mg in one fillet
Animal-based (370-500 mg of potassium)
- Ribeye steak – 494 mg in one fillet
- Skirt steak – 483 mg in 6-ounce steak
- Ham (roasted) – 475 mg in one cup
- King mackerel (cooked) – 474 mg in one cup
- Beef stock – 444 mg in one cup
- Skipjack (cooked) – 444 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Swordfish (cooked) – 424 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Turkey breast (roasted) – 423 mg in 6-ounce serving
- Striped bass (cooked) – 407 mg in one fillet
- Gjetost cheese – 400 mg in 1-ounce serving
- Sablefish (cooked) – 390 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Pollock (cooked) – 388 mg in 3-ounce serving
- Top round steak (grilled) – 370 mg in 3-ounce serving
Now that you know all about the importance of potassium, upgrade your diet to make sure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient. You can purchase foods high in potassium online or at your local grocery store.
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