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List of Healthy Foods High in Potassium

foods high in potassium

There are plenty of other healthy foods besides bananas that are high in potassium.

When I first got involved in this whole healthy eating thing, I analyzed the nutrients I was getting from food each day and compared those numbers to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. One of the biggest red flags was my lack of potassium. I came to the obvious conclusion that I needed to incorporate more foods high in potassium into my diet.

You probably do too. In fact, less than 2 percent of American adults get more than the recommended 4,700 milligrams per day.[1]

So I decided to do some research on why potassium is so important and what high potassium foods I should be eating more of. Here’s what I found …

What is potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in certain foods that’s critical to the proper functioning of nerves and muscles cells. Our bodies use potassium to build protein and muscle, break down carbohydrates, maintain cellular growth, control the electrical activity of the heart, and control its level of acidity.

How much potassium do you need?

The Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following amounts of potassium:

Infants Children/Adolescents Adults
0 – 6 months: 400 mg/day 1 – 3 years: 3000 mg/day Age 19 and older: 4700 mg/day
7 – 12 months: 700 mg/day 4 – 8 years: 3800 mg/day
9 – 13 years: 4500 mg/day
14 – 18 years: 4700 mg/day

In general, women who are breast feeding need slightly higher amounts (5100 mg/day) and should therefore seek out more foods high in potassium (after talking to their physicians, of course).

Effects of low potassium

Now let’s look at some low potassium symptoms and effects. A 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University, and Harvard University found that Americans who eat a diet high in sodium and low in potassium have a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and twice the risk of death from heart attacks!

A diet that includes plenty of foods high in potassium is important to help you control your blood pressure because potassium counteracts the effects of sodium.

When you have a low level of potassium in your blood, it’s referred to as “hypokalemia.” This condition can lead to weak muscles, abnormal heart rhythms, and increased blood pressure.

Effects of high potassium

There is such thing as too much potassium as well.

For example, those who suffer from chronic kidney disease or acute kidney failure can’t get rid of enough potassium in their urine because their kidneys may not work as well.

When this happens, it can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia, a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder. High potassium symptoms may include muscle fatigue, weakness, paralysis, heart arrhythmias, and nausea.

Other causes of hyperkalemia may include Addison’s disease, alcoholism or heavy drug use, use of ACE inhibitors, excessive use of potassium supplements, and type 1 diabetes.

Eating a low potassium diet can lower the risk of developing hyperkalemia. If you have one of the aforementioned conditions, talk to your doctor about what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

High potassium foods

Potassium is found in a lot of different foods. I included a detailed list of high potassium foods below but here’s a basic list broken down by food group:

Meat: Beef, chicken, and fish such as salmon, halibut, cod, and flounder are all good sources of potassium. Soy products and veggie burgers are also good sources.

Vegetables: Broccoli, corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and sweet potatoes are your best bets for high potassium vegetables.

Fruits: Citrus fruits, bananas, melons, cantaloupe, kiwi, prunes, and apricots are your best options for fruits high in potassium.

Dairy: Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of potassium.

Grains: Barley, oat bran, and whole grain cereals are high potassium foods from the grains group.

List of foods high in potassium

Here’s a chart of the healthiest high potassium foods.

Food Amount Potassium (mg)
Beet greens 1 cup cooked 1309
Canned white beans 1 cup 1189
Canned tomatoes (no salt) 1 cup 1098
Soybeans 1 cup cooked 970
Lima beans 1 cup cooked 955
Halibut 6 oz. 916
Chestnuts 1 cup 847
Spinach 1 cup cooked 847
Tomato sauce 1 cup 811
Rockfish 6 oz. 775
Pinto beans 1 cup 746
Kidney beans 1 cup 713
Sweet potato 1 medium (skin on) 694
Black beans 1 cup 611
Haddock 6 oz. 599
Sockeye salmon 6 oz. 581
Non-fat yogurt 1/2 cup 579
Bulger 1 cup dry 574
Parsnips 1 cup cooked 573
Pumpkin 1 cup cooked 564
Kohlrabi 1 cup 561
Barley 1 cup 560
Mushrooms 1 cup 555
Bananas 1 cup 537
Oat bran 1 cup dry 532
Beets 1 cup cooked 519
Potatoes 1 medium w/ skin 515
Orange juice 1 cup 496
Artichokes 1 cup cooked 480
Broccoli 1 cup cooked 457
Brussels sprouts 1 cup cooked 450
Cucumber 1 large 442
Okra 1 cup cooked 431
Cantaloupe 1 cup 427
Turkey 1 cup cooked 417
Chickpeas 1 cup cooked 413
Grapefruit juice 1 cup 405
Canned corn 1 cup 391
Peas 1 cup cooked 384
Milk 1 cup 382

(source: USDA National Nutrient Database)

This article is #9 in my 9-part tutorial called “Healthy Eating 101”.

To read the previous article #8 about how much sodium you should eat each day click here.

If you’re ready for some more advanced topics (organic eating, gluten free eating, grass fed beef, etc.), check out my next 10-part tutorial “Healthy Eating 201”

 


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22854410?tool=MedlinePlus



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