13 Potassium-Rich Foods: Meet Your Daily Requirement of This Valuable Mineral
Women over 60 are more susceptible to a deficiency.
There was a time when I didn’t have to think about my diet. Was I meeting the daily nutritional requirements recommended by experts? Maybe. Did I care? At the time, not really. I didn’t worry about brittle bones, stiff joints, or an aching back. Making sure I was fueling my body with essential nutrients just wasn’t a concern, and getting enough potassium definitely didn’t cross my mind, either. As a young adult, my resilient body and otherwise occupied mind didn’t need or want to track nutritional values.
Then I turned 50, and symptoms like constipation, fatigue, and muscle cramps became commonplace. These not-so-subtle reminders forced me to re-evaluate my diet and bump up the potassium. The joys of aging!
While it’s true that anyone can become deficient in potassium (medically known as hypokalemia), research shows that women over 60 are especially vulnerable to low potassium. This can be due to aging kidneys, adrenal disorders, or the use of diuretics. Not to worry, though, as there are numerous potassium-rich foods that will help you meet the recommended daily value for this vital mineral.
When thinking about potassium, chances are you conjure images of bananas, and for good reason. Just one medium-sized banana has about 422 milligrams, which is 12 percent of your daily value. The 100-calorie fruit contains several B vitamins, 3 grams of fiber, and dopamine, which is a major mood-enhancing hormone. If you’re aiming to increase your potassium intake, support your emotional wellness, and kick hunger pangs to the curb, grab a banana. Trust me; you’ll thank me later.
Fresh tomatoes ripe off the vine offer a ton of amazing health benefits. To get more potassium, though, it’s generally best to use concentrated tomato products, such as tomato juice or tomato puree. While fresh tomatoes do contain potassium, the roughly 290 milligrams in a medium-sized fruit can’t compete with the 550 milligrams of potassium in a half cup of tomato paste.
From its skincare and haircare uses to replacing ingredients like butter, eggs, and oil in the kitchen, the avocado has become ubiquitous in recent years. Not only are avocados undeniably delicious, but the creamy, green-fleshed fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is an excellent source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6m, as well as niacin, folate, riboflavin, magnesium and — you guessed it — potassium. How much potassium, you ask? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium-sized avocado contains a cool 690 milligrams of potassium. That’s nearly 15 percent of your daily value of potassium, making this an especially great choice for anyone trying to get more of this vital mineral.
4. Dried Apricots
Dried apricots are extremely high in potassium, with more than 1,100 milligrams in a ½ cup serving. This means a single serving of the fruit could provide almost one-quarter of your daily potassium needs. Dried apricots also contain many other important nutrients, such as iron, antioxidants, and fiber.
Pro Tip: To help keep your glucose levels in check, opt for dried apricots that don’t contain added sugars.
Are you a fan of pomegranates? Well, you’re in luck because this unique fruit is highly nutritious. It contains around 667 milligrams of potassium, as well as folate, fiber, and vitamins C and K. Additionally, its ability to reduce stress levels earned it a spot on the list of top aphrodisiac foods. So, whether you’re looking to boost your potassium intake or simply combat cortisol, pomegranate just might be able to help.
6. Lima Beans
You probably won’t see lima beans on the menu at the fancy restaurant in town, but don’t overlook this humble legume. A single cup of cooked lima beans has a whopping 955 milligrams of potassium. This means that one serving of these tasty legumes can knock out nearly one-quarter of your daily potassium needs.
Beets are delicious root veggies with wonderfully bright color and flavor. They’re tasty and versatile, and they contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals — including potassium. One cup of beets contains 518 milligrams of potassium, or 11 percent of the daily value. They also supply nitrate, which may provide health benefits ranging from improved blood vessel function and enhanced exercise performance, to a reduction in high blood pressure.
Pro Tip: For even more potassium, try beet greens, which are the edible leaves of beets. These leafy greens are packed with lots of potassium (1,309 milligrams in one cup, to be exact) as well as vitamin C, B vitamins, and fiber.
8. Swiss Chard
When most people think of dark leafy greens, spinach and kale typically take center stage. There is, however, another nutritious veggie that deserves some love: swiss chard. Just one cup of this nutrient-dense vegetable contains an incredible 961 milligrams of potassium. It also contains vitamins C, K, and A, plus magnesium, iron, manganese, and fiber.
Of all the veggies that make up the vegetable kingdom, spinach is one that’s arguably the most nutrient-dense. Just one cup of frozen spinach packs 12 percent of the daily value for potassium, while three cups of raw spinach contain around 11 percent of the daily value. Plus, for the same serving of frozen spinach, the leafy green vegetable also contains 857 percent of the daily value for vitamin K, 127 percent for vitamin A, 58 percent for folate, and 37 percent for magnesium. A superfood? Absolutely!
10. Green Peas
Low cal and high in nutrients, green peas are a fantastic source of potassium (434 milligrams in just one cup) and many other nutrients that the body needs to function. These tasty little morsels also contain a concentrated amount of polyphenols and antioxidants, which are believed to have benefits relating to blood lipid profile and inflammation.
Packed with vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and 365 milligrams of potassium, sardines are a nutritious and delicious addition to any diet. Apart from their high potassium content, these salty fish are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids — a type of essential fatty acid that may help promote cognitive function and boost overall mood.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet spuds are rich in potassium and have a much higher nutrient density than their white potato counterpart. One cup boasts 16 percent of your daily value. These delicious root veggies are also high in beta-carotene, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Plus, they’re low in fat, contain protein, and are a great source of complex carbs and fiber. What’s not to love?
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is watermelon. This large, delicious fruit has high water and potassium content, with just two wedges providing 640 milligrams, or about 14 percent of the daily value. Watermelon is also a wonderful source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, and the antioxidant lycopene — a phytochemical responsible for the fruit’s cherry red color (which may be linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and age-related eye disorders).
In addition to watermelon, other melons like honeydew and cantaloupe are also high-potassium foods — they’re low in calories, too. Any of these potassium-rich food sources, as well as fruits like nectarines, plums, and apples, will amplify your daily intake.
Additional Potassium-Rich Foods
On top of the potassium sources listed above, there are several other foods worth mentioning (at least briefly). These include:
- Dried fruits
- Broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Orange, grapefruit, pomegranate, and prune juices
- Butternut, acorn, and winter squash
- Kidney beans and white beans
There are countless other foods that are good sources of potassium, but this list provides a solid starting point for increasing your potassium intake.
Think you might be low in potassium?
Potassium is an essential electrolyte that’s needed for cells to function properly. Without high enough potassium levels, you might experience muscle cramps or twitching, tingling, constipation, fatigue, arrhythmia, and general weakness. In severe cases, muscle weakness can lead to paralysis, which occurs when you’re unable to make voluntary muscle movements. If you think you might be potassium deficient, contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.
More often than not, a potassium deficiency can be remedied with an oral potassium supplement or bolstering your diet with more potassium-rich foods. Talk to your doctor or dietitian to discuss the amount of potassium you need and how best to get it.
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