Monday, 20 January 2020

11 Foods That Are Loaded with Potassium (Besides Bananas)

Potassium is a vital mineral and electrolyte for your body.
It helps maintain normal blood pressure, transports nutrients into your cells and supports healthy nerve and muscle function.
The adequate intake (AI) for potassium is 4,700 mg in healthy individuals, but unfortunately, most people don’t get enough potassium through their diets (12Trusted Source).
Some people turn to bananas, as these are well known for being high in potassium, one medium-sized banana typically containing 422 mg or 9% of the AI (13).
But bananas are not the only potassium heroes.
Here are 15 foods that pack more potassium than a banana.

1. Avocados

Avocados have become extremely popular and trendy — and with good reason.
Packed with good fats, avocados are also a particularly great source of vitamin K and folate. One half of an avocado (100 grams) contains 487 mg of potassium, or 10% of the AI. If you eat a whole avocado, you’d get 20% of your daily potassium needs at once (14).
What’s more, avocados may help people with high blood pressure, who are often told to increase their potassium and reduce their salt (sodium) intake.
This advice stems from a study called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Further research has verified the benefits of potassium in reducing blood pressure (56).
Avocados, like most fruit, are low in sodium. Half an avocado provides 7 mg or just 0.5% of your recommended dietary intake (RDI) of sodium (4).
SUMMARYAvocados are jam-packed with nutrients — only half a fruit gets you 10% of your daily potassium needs. They’re also rich in vitamin K and folate and may even help lower your blood pressure.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Like avocados, sweet potatoes have become increasingly popular and are often used as an alternative to potatoes.
They’re an especially nutritious way of supporting your potassium intake — one medium-sized sweet potato contains 541 mg or 12% of your potassium AI (17).
What’s more, sweet potatoes are low in fat, pack a small amount of protein and are a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin A, as one sweet potato provides over 400% of your RDI (7).
Pair these scrumptious root vegetables with good protein such as beans or meat, dark greens or colored vegetables and a little fat for a well-balanced and filling meal.
SUMMARYSweet potatoes are a great way of adding more potassium to your diet. Just one medium-sized specimen doles out 12% of the AI, as well as some protein, fiber and vitamin A.

3. Spinach

Without a doubt, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables around.
One cup (156 grams) of frozen spinach contains 540 mg of potassium, or roughly 12% of the AI (18).
It also packs a punch with other nutrients. The same serving size contains 366% of your RDI for vitamin A, 725% for vitamin K, 57% for folate and 29% for magnesium (8).
Similarly, about three cups (100 grams) of raw spinach contain 558 mg of potassium, also around 12% of the AI (9).
Keep in mind that visually 100 grams of raw spinach is a lot more on your plate than the same amount frozen.
SUMMARYSpinach provides more potassium per serving than a banana — about 12% of the AI per one cup (156 grams) frozen or three cups (100 grams) fresh. This vegetable also packs vitamins A and K, as well as folate and magnesium.

4. Watermelon

Watermelon is a large, delicious fruit with a high water content.
Just two wedges of watermelon (about 1/8 of a melon or 572 grams) will give you 640 mg of potassium, just under 14% of the AI (110).
The same serving size also contains 172 calories, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3.4 grams of protein, 0.8 grams of fat and 2.2 grams of fiber (10).
What’s more, this lush, red melon is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium.
SUMMARYWatermelon is a tasty, summery fruit, just two wedges of which can give you almost 14% of your potassium AI, as well as vitamins A and C at only 172 calories.

5. Coconut Water

Coconut water is a fantastic, hydrating drink. You can shop for it online.
It’s an excellent natural alternative to sports drinks, as it contains key electrolytes that help draw water into your cells, and its natural sugars provide energy during exercise or replenish lost glycogen stores after (11).
One cup (240 ml) of coconut water contains 600 mg or about 13% of the AI for potassium. Plus, it’s a good source of magnesium, calcium, sodium and manganese (111).
It’s refreshing when served chilled with ice after a sweaty workout.
SUMMARYCoconut water is not only a great hydrating drink but also an excellent source of potassium, containing 13% of the AI in just one cup (240 ml). It’s also a good source of magnesium, calcium, sodium and manganese.

6. White Beans

The term white beans can refer to navy (pea) beans, cannellini (white kidney) beans, great northern beans or lima beans.
Though bananas are lauded for their potassium content, one cup (179 grams) of any of these beans has twice as much potassium as one banana. One cup of cooked white beans gives you 829 mg of potassium — a whopping 18% of the AI (1312).
One cup also provides 28–61% of the RDI for various B vitamins. Additionally, white beans are a great source of iron and plant-based protein (12).
As one cup (179 grams) alone contains nearly 19 grams of fiber, they also happen to be very filling (12).
White beans are incredibly versatile and can easily be added to your diet, for example as an ingredient for salads or stews. You can find them online.
SUMMARYWhite beans are a terrific source of potassium — one cup (179 grams) has 18% of the AI or the equivalent of two bananas. These beans can be easily added to salads and stews to increase your potassium intake.

7. Black Beans

Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are a staple food in Central and South America.
They’re often used in burritos and soups. You can even purchase them online.
Although white beans may have more potassium than black beans, the latter are still a great source of potassium. One cup (172 grams) of black beans gives you 611 mg, or 13% of the AI (113).
However, as black beans contain phytates which can reduce your body’s absorption of minerals, not all of that potassium may be put to use.
It’s difficult to know how much these phytates may affect the absorption of minerals like potassium, but if you’re using dried beans it’s best to soak them overnight. This step will help reduce the number of phytates (14Trusted Source).
SUMMARYBlack beans are a versatile food that can provide you with 13% of your potassium AI in one cup (172 grams). Soaking dried beans first may improve mineral absorption, including potassium.

8. Edamame

Edamame, traditionally eaten in Japan, are immature soybeans served in the pod.
They too have more potassium in one cup than a banana. In fact, one cup (155 grams) provides 676 mg or just over 14% of the AI (115).
They’re filled with many other nutrients, but most notably contain 121% of the RDI for folate per cup (155 grams) (15).
What’s more, they’re a great source of vitamin K, magnesium and manganese (15).
Edamame are delicious lightly steamed as an accompaniment to meals.
SUMMARYEdamame are packed with nutrients, with one cup providing 14% of your potassium AI, as well as good amounts of vitamin K, magnesium and manganese.

9. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is made from cooked tomatoes that have been peeled and deseeded.
This concentrated condiment adds great flavor to all tomato-based sauces and dishes. You can purchase tomato paste online.
Just three tablespoons or about 50 grams contain 486 mg of potassium, which is just over 10% of the AI. Tomato paste is also a good source of vitamin C and lycopene, a beneficial plant compound (116).
Watch out for tomato pastes that have added sugars, additives or preservatives. It’s advisable to pick the product with the fewest ingredients.
SUMMARYTomato paste not only enriches the taste of your food but provides ample amounts of potassium in small servings. Three tablespoons or about 50 grams pack around 10% of the AI, as well as vitamin C and the beneficial plant compound lycopene.

10. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a sweet-tasting winter squash. While technically a fruit, it’s cooked like a root vegetable.
One cup (205 grams) of butternut squash can give you 582 mg of potassium — over 12% of the AI (117).
It’s also a great source of vitamins A and C and has smaller amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium (17).
Butternut squashes can be roasted, boiled, steamed or chopped up for use in hearty soups.
SUMMARYButternut squash is a great source of potassium, boasting 12% of the AI in a single cup (205 grams). This fruit also packs vitamins A and C, as well as smaller amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E and magnesium.

11. Potatoes

Potatoes are a starchy root vegetable that remains a staple food in several countries worldwide.
One potato (136 grams) can provide 515 mg of potassium, which is 11% of the AI (118).
In fact, one study reported that potatoes are the best dietary source of potassium, calculating that a small baked potato provides 738 mg of potassium, or nearly 16% of the AI (119Trusted Source).
However, there are many different varieties of potatoes, and their potassium content may depend on the soil in which they’re grown.
As potatoes are eaten daily in many parts of the world, they may be a key contributor to potassium intake in people’s diets.
SUMMARYPotatoes are a staple in many households and plentiful in potassium, with one potato typically providing 11% of the AI.

12. Dried Apricots

Dried apricots are made from dehydrated fresh apricots. They have a long shelf life and are usually pitted.
Six dried apricots provide 488 mg of potassium, which is over 10% of the AI. These fruits are also a good source of fiber and vitamins A and E (120).
Dried apricots are lovely mixed into muesli and are a healthy snack on hikes or camping trips. You can find them online.
SUMMARYDried apricots are a great alternative to bananas for a potassium boost. About six apricots will give you 10% of the AI, as well as fiber and vitamins A and E.

13. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, also known as silverbeet or simply chard, is a leafy green vegetable.
Their thick stalks can range from red to orange to white in color.
They’re highly nutritious. Just one cup (178 grams) of cooked chard provides 961 mg or 20% of the AI for potassium — that’s more than double the potassium in a banana (121).
The same amount also packs 716% of the RDI for vitamin K and 214% of the RDI for vitamin A (21).
They’re also low in calories and a good source of fiber.
Swiss chard is sometimes overlooked in favor of other leafy greens, but it’s a delicious base for salads and can be easily steamed or sautéed with a little oil.
SUMMARYSwiss chard is a nourishing dark green vegetable that contains over twice as much potassium per cooked cup than a banana, about 20% of the AI. They’re also loaded with vitamins K and A.

14. Beets

Beets or beetroot are a deep-purple vegetable, often boiled, pickled or added to salads.
One cup or around 170 grams of boiled beets can give you 518 mg of potassium, or 11% of the AI (122).
For those wanting to increase their potassium intake to help prevent or manage high blood pressure, beets may have an added advantage.
This root veggie also contains nitrates, which — when converted into nitric oxide — have been shown to support blood vessel function and overall heart health (23Trusted Source).
Beets are also an excellent source of folate, with one cup (170 grams) providing 34% of the RDI (22).
SUMMARYBeets or beetroot are a deep-purple vegetable that, when cooked, contains 11% of your potassium AI in one cup or about 170 grams. They’re also a good source of folate and contain nitrates which have been shown to support heart health.

15. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are an extremely healthy, multi-seeded fruit, about the size of an orange and ranging in color from red to purple.
They’re a fantastic source of potassium, as one fruit can bestow 666 mg. This equates to just over 14% of the AI (124).
What’s more, pomegranates are packed with vitamins C and K, as well as folate and have a higher protein content than most fruits — 4.7 grams per fruit (24).
However, they pack more calories than most fruits and a sizeable amount of natural sugars (24).
On the other hand, pomegranates also have 11 grams of fiber, which can help slow digestion and make you feel fuller longer.
SUMMARYPomegranates are a very healthy fruit. Their potassium content stands at 14% of the AI, and they pack vitamins C and K, as well as folate, fiber and some protein.

The Bottom Line

Although bananas are a great source of potassium, many other healthy foods — such as sweet potatoes and beets — have more potassium per serving.
Some foods such as Swiss chard and white beans even have double the amount of potassium per cup, compared to a medium-sized banana.
The key to getting enough potassium is to eat a good range of plant-based foods each day. In particular, you could aim to include some of the above 15 high-potassium foods in your diet regularly to help boost your intake.

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