Potassium is one of the body’s most essential nutrients. It is frequently referred to as an electrolyte because it carries an electrical charge that helps activate various cellular and nervous system functions. Your body does not produce this mineral naturally, so it is essential to consume potassium-rich foods in order to obtain its nutrients.
Consuming foods high in potassium has numerous health benefits. It can:
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Remove excess sodium (or salt) from the body.
- Enhance your bone density
- Reduce the likelihood of kidney stone formation
9 Best Potassium-Rich Foods
The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily potassium intake of 3,400 mg for adult men and 2,600 mg for adult women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may wish to increase your daily intake to 2,800 mg.
Although many whole foods contain potassium, dietary surveys indicate that very few Americans consume enough potassium daily, putting their heart health at risk. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have identified potassium deficiency as a public health concern due to the fact that Americans do not consume enough potassium-rich foods. The good news is that potassium is present in an abundance of foods that can be incorporated into your diet.
1. Preserved Apricots
A serving of apricots contains 755 milligrams of potassium per half-cup serving.
This is roughly 25% of the daily potassium intake recommendation for adults. Apricots are also a good source of beta-carotene, a pigment that the body converts into vitamin A and which supports immune and vision health.
You can snack on dried apricots or slice fresh apricots to add to yogurt or salads. Keep in mind that dried apricots are higher in calories and sugars than fresh apricots, so it is best to consume no more than a half-cup daily.
2. Soy Nuts
Soy nuts are not typical nuts like almonds or walnuts, per definition. These are instead baked or roasted mature soybeans that have been soaked in water, drained, and made crunchy by baking or roasting. A quarter-cup serving of soy nuts contains approximately 315 milligrams of potassium, which is 10% of the recommended daily allowance for adults.
Other micronutrients found in soy nuts include magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. In addition, they contain less fat and fewer calories than other nuts.
You may consume dry-roasted soy nuts on your own, use them as a substitute for croutons in salads, or add them to trail mix. If possible, look for unsalted options to maximize potassium benefits.
3. Black Beans
With plant-based diets gaining popularity, it is helpful to know that foods like beans can help people meet their daily potassium requirements. Each cup of cooked black beans contains approximately 600 milligrams of potassium or 20% of the daily value. Additionally, a cup of canned black beans can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Chili, soups, salads, dips, and even brownies can be prepared with black beans. If you prefer black beans in a can, look for low-sodium alternatives.
A two-cup serving of spinach contains over 300 milligrams of potassium, which is approximately 10% of the daily recommended intake. The leafy green is also rich in vitamin K, an additional nutrient that promotes heart health.
In addition to salads, other creative ways to consume more spinach include smoothies, scrambled eggs, tacos, burgers, and savory muffins.
Potassium is abundant in dairy products such as yogurt and milk; the lower the fat content, the higher the potassium content. Low-fat plain yogurt contains 625 milligrams of potassium per cup, compared to 380 milligrams of full-fat plain yogurt. Additionally, yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can aid in digestion and boost the immune system.
Yogurt can be incorporated into smoothies and used as a muffin ingredient. You can also use it as a creamy dressing or a quick and healthy breakfast by topping it with nuts and berries. When possible, choose plain yogurt over flavored yogurt because flavored yogurt may contain an unexpectedly high amount of added sugar.
One medium baked potato with skin contains more than 900 milligrams of potassium, which is approximately 30% of the daily value. Potatoes are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6, which can reduce the risk of chronic disease and strengthen the immune system.
You may consider steaming, roasting, or baking your potatoes. Frying potatoes may compromise their nutritional value and reduce their potassium content. In addition to curries, stews, and casseroles, cubed potatoes can be added to curry dishes.
The most reliable source of potassium among meat options is halibut. Halibut is the most nutrient-dense fish, containing approximately 450 milligrams of potassium, or 15% of the daily value. Additionally, halibut is an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients, such as selenium and vitamin B12, which can help strengthen the immune system and form healthy red blood cells.
You could braise halibut in a tomato broth, grill it, and then top it with a sauce before baking it in the oven. Halibut can also be cut into cubes and prepared kebab-style.
You may have guessed that bananas have a high potassium content. A banana of average size contains over 400 milligrams of potassium. Bananas are also an excellent source of fiber and vitamin B6, both of which are necessary for a healthy metabolism.
Typically, bananas are consumed alone. However, you can also add them to various baked goods, combine them with oatmeal or yogurt, and use them as a smoothie base. Typically, bananas are a simple and inexpensive way to maintain your potassium levels.
Prunes, which are dried plums, are another notable source of potassium-rich dried fruit. It contains more than 300 milligrams of potassium per quarter cup. According to one study, postmenopausal women can improve their bone health by consuming up to 100 grams (10 prunes) of prunes per day. Prunes are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and protect against conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Use unsweetened prunes with pits as a potassium-rich snack on their own, or combine them with granola to make homemade energy bars. You can also use prune puree as a substitute for sugar in baking and as a condiment for pork and other cooked meats.
9. Spaghetti Squash
Most vegetables contain a certain amount of potassium, but orange-colored varieties of squash, such as butternut, contain a notably high amount. This is because they contain the immune-boosting pigment beta-carotene. One cup of cooked butternut squash contains nearly 600 milligrams of potassium, which is 20% of the recommended daily allowance. The beta-carotene in butternut squash, according to one study, can also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You can now find peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce section, as well as a puree in the frozen food aisle. Butternut squash puree is a naturally sweet ingredient that can be used in muffins and pancakes. Butternut squash can also be diced for use in curries, soups, salads, chili, pasta dishes, and roasted vegetable medleys.
A Brief Overview
Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps maintain heart, kidney, and bone health. The healthiest way to maintain its level is through a balanced diet which includes dried fruits, vegetables, beans, and seafood.
If you are concerned about getting enough potassium in your diet, consult your healthcare provider about proper foods and supplements.
- Are you including enough potassium-rich foods in your daily diet?
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