Used to maintain fluid levels and balance electrolytes, potassium is a vital nutrient for the body. It’s also used to ensure the proper function of several vital organs, such as the kidneys, the heart and the brain, as well as muscular tissues. Lastly, potassium helps to keep the body hydrated and works in conjunction with sodium in order to support cellular function. With all that said, potassium is an essential nutrient, so it’s important to make sure that you are consuming enough potassium-rich foods.
Currently, the recommended dietary intake of potassium for both adult males and females is 4,700 milligrams a day. That may sound like a lot to consume on a daily basis, but it’s because potassium is such a vital nutrient that the recommended intake is so high.
If you aren’t getting enough potassium, it can lead to hypokalemia, or low potassium levels, which can have some pretty unpleasant effects. The symptoms of low potassium include intense headaches, dehydration, swollen tissues and glands, as well as heart palpitations.
For many people, getting enough potassium on a daily basis is a challenge. However, by knowing what foods are high in potassium, you can easily add them to your diet and ensure that you are meeting the recommended daily intake so that you can avoid a potassium deficiency.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a lot of foods that are high in potassium, so ensuring that you are getting the right amount of this nutrient shouldn’t be as difficult as it may sound. To help you create a potassium-rich diet, here’s a look at 21 foods that offer potassium.
It’s no secret that bananas are good for you, and one of the main reasons why is because they pack a lot of potassium. In fact, one large banana offers 487 milligrams of the nutrient, which is about 14 percent of the recommended dietary intake. A banana is a great tasting, healthy snack, or you can add it as a topping to your breakfast cereal or yogurt.
You could also puree a banana and freeze it for a healthy treat, or use it as an ingredient in a smoothie. In addition to potassium, are also rich in dopamine, the feel-good hormone, so not only will you be upping your potassium intake when you munch on this yellow fruit, but you’ll boost your mood, too.
2. Sweet Potatoes
A highly nutrient-rich food, sweet potatoes are a potassium powerhouse; 1 large sweet potato offers up about 855 milligrams of the nutrient, which is around 24 percent of the recommended daily intake.
In addition to being rich in potassium, sweet potatoes are also offer many other vital nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6 and beta-carotene. The best way to eat a sweet potato? – Simply bake it and it is as-is, or if you want to add a little more flavor, add a pad of low-fat, organic butter and maybe a small sprinkle of cinnamon.
You could also boil and mash sweet potatoes, just like you would white potatoes. This veggie can also be used as an ingredient in various recipes, such as sweet potato pancakes and sweet potato muffins.
Here’s a pleasant surprise: in addition to being totally yummy, avocados offer tons of potassium. In fact, when you consume 1 whole avocado, you will get about 1,067 milligrams of potassium, or about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake.
By consuming just one avocado a day, you will lower your risk of metabolic disease, balance your hydration levels and boost your overall health. You can simply slice open an avocado, remove the pit and spoon the meat right out of the shell, or you can dice it up and add it to a variety of dishes.
It makes a great topping on potatoes, salads, and of course, corn chips.
You may not be as strong as Popeye, but you’ll definitely boost your potassium levels when you add spinach to your diet. Just 1 cup of cooked spinach offers up 839 milligrams of potassium, or about 24 percent of the recommended daily intake.
You can easily add raw spinach to salads, or if you prefer to cook it, it makes a great addition to pastas and tastes great with just a little bit of low-fat organic butter and a dash of cinnamon.
5. Acorn Squash
One cup of this veggie will provide you with about 896 milligrams of potassium, or about 26 percent of the daily recommended intake. In addition to potassium, acorn squash is also antioxidant rich, specifically carotenoids, which are best known for their ability to combat various types of cancer.
There are so many ways you can add acorn squash to your diet; try roasting it, sautéing it or mashing it up. However you eat it, acorn squash will definitely do your health a favor.
Salmon, more specifically, wild caught salmon, is another potassium-rich food. Just ½ of a filet will give you about 770 milligrams, which is around 22 percent of the suggested intake.
In addition to being high in potassium, wild caught salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, protein and several other vital vitamins and minerals. Grill up a salmon fillet and eat it as a main dish, or top a salad or pasta with it to increase your potassium levels.
7. Dried Apricots
Another great potassium rich food, ½ a cup of dried apricots serve about 750 milligrams of potassium.
These dried fruits are also packed with other important vitamins and minerals, and can help improve your overall health.
Snack on some dried apricots throughout the day, or add them into your cereal or yogurt and you’ll be sure to boost your potassium levels.
8. Coconut Water
Food isn’t the only thing that contains potassium; beverages do, too. One cup of coconut water has about 600 milligrams of potassium.
Opt for a no sugar added variety and you will not only improve your electrolyte levels and stay hydrated, but you’ll also limit the amount of calories you ingest.
Plus, coconut water is very tasty and refreshing, making it a great way to stay hydrated.
The seeds and juice of this fruit are excellent sources of potassium, providing about 670 milligrams.
Plus, they are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and other vital nutrients that your body needs. Pomegranate also helps to lower cortisol levels, which will help boost your mood.
10. White Beans
Half a cup of white beans contains about 500 mg of potassium, which is pretty significant.
On top of that, these beans are also high in fiber, which means that in addition to help you stay hydrated, balancing your electrolyte levels and ensuring the proper function of your vital organs, white beans can lower your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Plus, they can also help to keep your waistline in check.