You know what they say when it comes to choosing the right food that you are what you eat. True enough. Part of having a healthy lifestyle is for you to know the value of the food you’re eating – it’s nutrients as well as its impacts on your body. One of the significant minerals your body needs is Potassium. It is present in all body tissues and helps in protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. As the primary intracellular cation, it plays a great role to the normal functioning of your body’s different physiological processes such as water regulation, acid-base balance, muscular contraction, and other cellular and biochemical reactions. Hence it is essential that you incorporate potassium-rich food in your diet. Eating food that are high sources of potassium will give you a lot of health benefits from reducing blood pressure to preventing bone ailments as osteoporosis.
Foods High in Potassium
Either you don’t get enough potassium from your diet or you probably have no idea that the food you’re already eating has a lot of potassium in it. Potassium is found in a wide variety of food, but here are some lists of those with the especially high content of potassium to help you level up your health and well-being.
Fruits are good sources of potassium. The following is a list of fruits that are an excellent source of this mineral with their respective milligrams and percent Daily Value (DV) of potassium:
- Avocado: 975 mg (21% DV) per piece
- Guava: 688 mg (15 % DV) per cup
- Kiwifruit: 562 mg (12 % DV) per cup
- Banana: 537 mg (11% DV) per cup sliced
- Cantaloupe: 437 mg (10% DV) per cup
- Pomegranate: 411 mg (9% DV) per cup
- Apricot: 401 mg (9% DV) per cup
- Honeydew melon: 388 mg (8%DV) per cup
- Cherries: 342 mg (7% DV) per cup
- Dried apricot: 330 mg (7% DV) per oz
- Oranges: 326 mg (7% DV) per cup
- Lychee: 325 mg (7% DV) per cup
- Tangerines: 324 mg (7% DV) per cup
- Grapefruit: 320 mg (7% DV) per cup
- Nectarines: 287 mg (6% DV) per cup
- Mangoes: 277mg (6% DV) per cup
- Mulberries: 272 mg (6% DV) per cup
- Persimmon: 270 mg (6% DV) per fruit
- Papaya: 264 mg (6% DV) per cup
- Plums: 259 mg (6% DV) per cup
- Strawberries: 254 mg (5% DV) per cup
- Blackberries: 233 mg (5% DV) per cup
High potassium can also be found in dried fruits like dates, prunes and raisins. Fruit juices are also an excellent source of potassium; however, you should opt for 100 percent fruit juice instead of those with added sugar.
Vegetables are also one of the main sources of potassium. Here is a list of vegetables with high potassium taken from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Reference 17.
- Sweet potatoes: A baked sweet potato contains 694 mg (20% DV) of potassium.
- Swiss chard: One cup of cooked chard serves 961 mg (20% DV) of potassium.
- Beet greens: One-half cup of cooked beets has 655 mg (19% DV) of potassium.
- White beans: A cup of cooked white beans gives you 829 mg or 18 % of the daily value.
- Potatoes: One baked potato has 610 mg (17% DV) of potassium.
- Lima beans: A half cup of cooked lima beans delivers 484 mg (14% DV) of potassium.
- Winter squash: One serving of cooked winter squash contains 448 mg (13% DV) of potassium.
- Black beans: One cup gives you 611 mg or 13% of the daily value
- Spinach: One half cup of cooked spinach serves 419 mg (12% DV) of potassium.
- Parsnips: A single cup provides 572 mg of potassium, 12% of the RDI.
- Tomatoes: A half cup of tomato sauce has 405 mg (12% DV) of potassium.
- Zucchini: 475 mg (10% DV) of potassium can be obtained from one cup of cooked zucchini.
- Broccoli: A cup of cooked broccoli serves 475 mg (10%DV) potassium.
- Asparagus: 403 mg (9% DV) of potassium is gained from eating a cup of cooked asparagus.
- Sweet corn: 392 mg (8% DV) of potassium is found per cup of cooked sweet corn.
Aside from fruits and vegetables, some dairy products like low-fat milk and yogurt have high potassium content. Coconut water is also an excellent source.
Meat and poultry are also rich in potassium along with certain fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, halibut, rockfish and trout. Some carbohydrates like brown and wild rice, and whole-wheat bread are also good sources of potassium.
How Much Potassium Do You Need?
The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium according to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) are: 3800 mg for ages 4 -8; 4500 mg for 9-13 years, and 4700 mg for ages 14 years and above. However, this does not apply for individuals with impaired potassium excretion due to kidney failure.
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Potassium in Your Diet?
Too much potassium is highly unlikely to happen unless perhaps if you take too many supplements as well. An excessive amount of the mineral occurs when your body is unable to remove it through urine; therefore, people with abnormal or poor kidney function are the ones more likely to develop this and should limit their potassium intake. Some complications may also arise to those who take certain medicines that lower blood pressure.
Health Benefits of Potassium-Rich Diet
There is no doubt that potassium is very important for your body’s cellular and electrical functions. A sudden loss of this mineral in your body may lead to unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, insomnia, and severe headaches. Hence it is highly recommended that you eat food rich in potassium to help you elevate your overall health. Some ways the body benefit from a potassium-rich diet are through the following:
- Lowers blood pressure by helping in the removal of excess sodium in the body
- Helps in stroke prevention
- Prevents osteoporosis by reducing the amount of calcium your body loses through urine
- Helps fight kidney stones
- Reduces water retention through increased urine production