by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
When you’re looking for a way to make your diet healthier, getting more potassium-rich foods in your meal plan is a great place to start.
Potassium always seems to fly under the radar and only comes to mind with athletes who need added potassium to prevent cramping. Little do they know, potassium is an important nutrient that should be in everyone’s diet.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. It also plays a role in stabilizing muscle contractions and normalizing nerve function. Most people don’t get enough of it — the average American eats about half the recommended amount of potassium daily.
But here’s the good news — there are lots of delicious foods that are naturally high in potassium, and they’re some of our favorite things to eat!
10 Potassium-Rich Foods That You Should Start Eating
Below, we will look at 10 potassium-rich foods that you can start implementing into your diet to help increase your overall daily potassium intake and reap the benefits.
Avocados are a nutrient-dense fruit packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain high amounts of potassium, an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure, maintain healthy blood glucose levels, and support bone health.
Half an avocado without the seed and skin contains 345mg of potassium, or 7% DV. If you consume a whole avocado, then you will get almost 15% of the DV.
Potatoes are a great source of potassium. One medium-sized potato contains 900mg of potassium. You can add them to any meal or snack to increase your daily intake of this vital mineral. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.
Spinach is a good source of potassium and vitamins A and C. One cup of raw spinach (180g) contains about 839mg of potassium. This nutrient is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles. It also helps to regulate blood pressure, prevent bone loss, and keep your heart healthy.
Spinach has many health benefits, such as helping to lower cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, improving eye health, and boosting immunity.
Legumes are a great source of protein and fiber and can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They also contain potassium. One cup of cooked lentils provides about 730mg of potassium, while one cup of cooked chickpeas has 477mg in it. Split peas have 1932mg per cup, kidney beans provide 2587mg per cup, and lima beans have 955mg of potassium per cup.
5. Coconut water
Coconut water is a great source of potassium. It contains about 600mg per cup, which is more than what you’d find in some fruits or vegetables.
The benefits of coconut water are due to its high electrolyte content. In addition to potassium, it contains sodium and magnesium, which are essential for proper body function.
Juice is a good source of potassium, and most juices are also very high in sodium. While the amount of sodium in juice varies, it is typically lower than the amount of sodium found in bottled waters or other beverages. A cup of orange juice contains about 496mg of potassium, while grapefruit juice has about 400mg per cup.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and are what we commonly look for when we need more potassium in our diet. One medium banana contains 422mg of potassium. In addition to being a good source of potassium, bananas are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese.
Seafood is one of the best sources of potassium, along with being a healthy source of protein.
If you’re trying to get more potassium-rich foods in your diet, seafood is an excellent way to do it. The list below shows some of the best sources of seafood and how much potassium they contain.
- Tuna (canned in water): 522mg
- Salmon (fresh or frozen): 363mg
- Cod (fresh or frozen): 413mg
- Shrimp (cooked): 259mg
9. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are another excellent source of potassium, providing 588mg per cup. They’re also a good source of zinc and magnesium, which support the immune system and cardiovascular health, respectively.
Pumpkin seeds have a nutty flavor that makes them ideal for snacking on their own — toss them into salads or smoothies for an extra crunchy texture. They can also be roasted over low heat until they turn golden brown, then sprinkled with salt and paprika for an easy snack that pairs well with yogurt or cottage cheese.
10. Butternut squash
Butternut squash is a great source of potassium, providing 493mg per cup. This richly colored vegetable is also high in vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy eyesight, and supports skin health.
Butternut squash can be enjoyed in many ways, such as being used as a side dish, pureed into soups, or added to casseroles or curries. It’s also tasty, roasted with olive oil and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Give these potassium-rich foods a try and add your favorites to your daily nutrition plan!