Affiliate links on our site may earn us commissions. Learn More.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. Visit our Privacy Policy.

arrow
Newsletter

Discover The Best Wellness Tips In Your Inbox

Subscribe to Health Reporter’s newsletter and get our health experts’ highlights and the latest news about healthy living.
The newsletters are spam-free and sent from our health experts and professionals.
sent

Thank You!

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter!
Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow 20+ Foods High in Potassium: Energize Naturally

20+ Foods High in Potassium: Energize Naturally

Dr. Donika Vata
Written by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: December 27, 2023
18 min read 412 Views 0 Comments
clock 18 eye 412 comments 0

Fueling wellness: discovering essential foods for a balanced diet

foods high in potassium

It’s often thought that only athletes need to keep tabs on their consumption of potassium. However, from preventing dehydration to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, this electrolyte plays several important roles throughout the body, regardless of your sporting ability.

As an essential nutrient, our bodies can’t produce potassium on their own. You’ll therefore need to get this mineral from the foods you eat, in quantities high enough to meet the recommended daily intake. 

But what foods should you be putting in the basket during your next trip to the grocery store? We’ll explain the top 20 potassium-rich options to grab, including their health benefits and how you can incorporate them into your everyday meals.

Understanding Potassium: Everything You Need to Know

Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte, meaning that its main duty is to maintain fluid balance within our bodily cells. It also plays a range of other important roles throughout the body, including keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level and aiding muscle contraction.

The Daily Value (DV) for potassium, a measure on Nutrition Facts labels that allows you to compare the different nutrient contents of foods, is 4700 milligrams. This is a general guideline that will prevent deficiency in most people.

However, how much potassium you realistically need to stay healthy varies based on age and sex as follows:

  • 0 to 6 months: 400 mg
  • 7 to 12 months: 860 mg
  • 1 to 3 years: 2000 mg
  • 4 to 8 years: 2300 mg
  • Boys 9 to 13 years: 2500 mg
  • Girls 9 to 13 years: 2300 mg
  • Boys 14 to 18 years: 3000 mg
  • Girls 14 to 18 years: 2300 mg
  • Men 19 years +: 3400 mg
  • Women 19 years +: 2600 mg
  • Pregnant women: 2900 mg

Those with kidney disease are likely to require lower amounts, which will be advised by a doctor. This is because the kidneys play a key role in filtering potassium, so reduced kidney function could cause too much of the mineral to stay in the body. In the long term, this can lead to muscle weakness, nerve damage, and paralysis.

Unveiling the Ultimate List of Potassium-Rich Foods

You may be surprised to learn that many foods you eat daily already contain a lot of potassium.

However, if you are looking for an extra potassium boost to help meet your daily intake, here are some other healthy foods that you should consider adding to your meals:

White beans

Potassium per 100g: 561 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 1004 mg

Beans are packed full of important nutrients like protein and complex carbohydrates that make them an ideal meat alternative.

While we often think of bananas when it comes to high-potassium foods, 1 cup of white beans delivers twice as much of the mineral, which equates to 21% of the DV. 

Not only are white beans a great source of potassium, but they’re also relatively inexpensive, and a highly versatile ingredient. They can be added to salads and stews, mixed through a burrito, and even formed into patties for a meat-free burger alternative. 

Potatoes 

Potassium per 100g: 421 mg

Potassium per serving (1 medium potato): 897 mg

Along with vitamin C, potassium is the main nutrient found in potatoes. While potatoes pack in a huge amount of this mineral, boiling or baking them can cause these levels to drop.

However, as most of its potassium content is found in the skin, cooking potatoes skin-on can prevent some of this loss. When baked in the oven, the texture of the crispy skin also perfectly complements the potato’s fluffy insides. 

So, avoid peeling your potatoes, and use them to create crispy wedges, french fries, or whole baked potatoes with an extra boost of flavor.

Sweet potatoes

Potassium per 100g: 337 mg

Potassium per serving (1 medium potato): 541 mg

Whether baked or mashed, sweet potatoes make a great low-fat, high-fiber alternative to regular potatoes. They are mainly known for containing large amounts of vitamin A, a nutrient that is essential for maintaining good vision, but are also packed with potassium.

One raw potato delivers more than 11% of the Daily Value for potassium, while a serving of sweet potato mash boasts a huge 200% of your recommended vitamin A intake.

Beet greens

Potassium per 100g: 909 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 1309 mg

Although beets are a good potassium source, providing 305 milligrams per 100 grams, beet greens are even better. These are the scarlet stems and green leaves at the top of the root, which deliver a delicious sweet flavor.

When cooked, these greens offer a huge 1309 milligrams of potassium per cup serving, which works out to nearly 28% of the daily value for this mineral.

Spinach

Potassium per 100g: 558 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 839 mg

Of all leafy green vegetables, spinach is often considered to be the superfood with the most benefits. It is packed with a huge range of essential nutrients, from potassium, folate, and magnesium to vitamins A and K.

Along with being one of the most nutrient-dense, spinach is also one of the most versatile vegetables out there, working well either raw or cooked. 

However, no matter how you choose to consume this mighty leaf, it delivers huge amounts of potassium. For instance, 3 cups of raw spinach contain approximately 11% of the DV, while 1 cup frozen packs in over 12%.

Swiss chard

Potassium per 100g: 379 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 961 mg

Sometimes referred to as silverbeet, swiss chard is a highly nutritious type of vegetable that contains 20% of the DV for potassium per serving. This is more than double the amount that you’d find in a banana. 

Like spinach and kale, swiss chard is also a high-fiber, low-calorie food that can be used to pack out your plate. Use it as an alternative base for salads, or saute with some olive oil to add a slight crunch to the leaf.

Bananas

Potassium per 100g: 358 mg

Potassium per serving (1 medium banana): 422 mg

When we think of potassium sources, the first food that often comes to mind is bananas. Depending on their size, they contain around 422 milligrams per serving, or approximately 9% of the Daily Value, making them a go-to snack for those looking to increase their potassium intake.

However, if you aren’t a banana fan, then don’t panic. Despite being one of the most well-known high-potassium foods, many other sources deliver the same amount or more of this important mineral.

Avocado

Potassium per 100g: 485 mg

Potassium per serving (1 whole avocado): 975 mg

While eating just half an avocado provides plenty of potassium, incorporating one whole fruit into your daily diet provides more than 10% of the Daily Value. 

If you’ve got high blood pressure, avocados can also be highly beneficial. Those with this condition typically need to reduce their sodium intake, but add more potassium into their diets to maintain a healthy heart. 

Half an avocado delivers only 0.3% of the DV for sodium, making it a great low-salt topping for toast, or as an addition to a Mexican burrito bowl.

Oranges and orange juice

Potassium per 100g (orange): 181 mg

Potassium per serving (1 medium orange): 237 mg

Potassium per 100g (orange juice): 200 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup juice): 496 mg

Although mostly known for their high vitamin C content, oranges are also great sources of potassium, with one orange providing 5% of the DV

Along with whole oranges, drinking orange juice is a delicious and convenient way of getting your daily potassium dose. However, processed and pasteurized juices tend to contain added sugars and colorings that can cause weight gain and tooth cavities. 

Freshly squeezing your own oranges or choosing 100% organic juice from the grocery store are therefore much healthier options.

Dried apricots

Potassium per 100g: 1162 mg

Potassium per serving (1/2 cup): 755 mg

In general, fruits tend to contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals like potassium. Drying fruits such as apricots concentrate their mineral content even further, which is why we recommend including them in your diet.

However, this process also elevates the sugar content and number of calories, so it’s advised to consume no more than 40 grams per day. Try to eat dried apricots in combination with other fresh, low-calorie fruits to ensure that you get all of the essential nutrients in your diet without exceeding your daily calorie goals.

Expert image border Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Nutrition Consultant for Consumer Health Digest (CHD)

“Dried apricots are readily available in grocery stores throughout the year and can also be conveniently purchased online. These are shelf-stable and nutritious snacks, but opt for unsweetened varieties to avoid unnecessary added sugars.”

Prunes and prune juice

Potassium per 100g (prunes): 732 mg

Potassium per serving (1/2 cup prunes): 637 mg

Potassium per 100g (prune juice): 276 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup juice): 707 mg

Like dried apricots, prunes, or dried plums, are another of the best potassium sources, clocking in at over 600 milligrams per serving. Choose those that are pitted and unsweetened, as these varieties are less likely to contain added oils or sugars. 

Along with supporting bone health, prunes are also known to be a food high in antioxidants, which protect against conditions such as stroke and heart disease. 

Although citrus juices tend to provide the most potassium, prune juice can also make a decent contribution, offering nearly 6% of the DV per 100 grams.

Yogurt 

Potassium per 100g: 255 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup): 579 mg

As a fermented food, yogurt is packed full of friendly probiotic bacteria that help to keep your gut and digestive system healthy. However, it is also an excellent source of potassium, providing more than 200 milligrams per 100 grams.

Be sure to select, plain-non fat varieties like Greek yogurt. These types tend to be higher in protein, yet lower in added flavors and sugars that boost the calorie content and remove many of the health benefits.

Fish 

Potassium per 100g (salmon): 363 mg

Potassium per serving (3 oz salmon): 326 mg

Potassium per 100g (tuna): 252 mg

Potassium per serving (3 oz tuna): 214 mg

Fatty fish are known for being heart-healthy foods. They provide plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce blood fats called triglycerides and lower your risk of heart disease. 

However, you may not know that they’re also an excellent source of minerals like potassium. When cooked, just half a filet of salmon delivers approximately 21% of your daily potassium dose, while the same-sized serving of tuna provides 17%.

Although fatty fish tend to contain higher amounts of potassium, leaner white fish also work if you’re consuming plenty of healthy fats through other sources. For instance, per half a filet, cod has 12% of the DV, and haddock comes in a close second with 11%.

Tomatoes and tomato products

Potassium per 100g (raw tomato): 237 mg

Potassium per serving (1 medium tomato): 292 mg

Potassium per 100g (tomato sauce): 297 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup sauce): 728 mg

Tomatoes are generally known for being a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants such as lycopene, which may fight diseases such as cancer, infertility, and liver damage. They also provide a huge 292 milligrams of potassium per fruit, which equates to just over 6% of the Daily Value.

It’s not just whole tomatoes that contribute to your potassium intake though – 1 cup of tomato sauce offers over 15% of your recommended daily intake. 

Similarly, tomato paste provides more than 10% of the DV in just 3 tablespoons. This paste is produced from concentrated tomatoes that have been peeled and seeded, and is a kitchen cupboard staple. 

However, try to avoid tomato-based products that contain added chemicals like sugars or preservatives.  

Pumpkin seeds

Potassium per 100g: 919 mg

Potassium per serving (1 oz): 260 mg

Pumpkin seeds are a potassium powerhouse, containing 260 milligrams per serving

Although roasted and salted seeds make a delicious snack, raw varieties are often healthier as they exclude added salts and oils. As well as being eaten alone, they work well sprinkled on top of yogurt and fruit bowls, or added into smoothies. 

Along with being high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are also known for being one of the best natural sources of magnesium. This mineral works alongside potassium to maintain normal blood pressure, keep your bones healthy, and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Raisins

Potassium per 100g: 749 mg

Potassium per serving (1/2 cup): 543 mg

Like other dried fruits, raisins are calorie-dense, so it’s important to control your portion size. However, the drying process also makes them highly nutrient-dense, packing in around 540 milligrams of potassium per serving.

Along with being low in sodium, raisins are also full of plant compounds called phytonutrients, antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Opt for varieties that are made with only the dried fruit, and exclude added sugars and coatings.

Nuts 

Potassium per 100g (almonds): 705 mg

Potassium per serving (1 oz almonds): 200 mg

Potassium per 100g (walnuts): 441 mg

Potassium per serving (1 oz walnuts): 125 mg

Nuts are crammed full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. However, did you also know that some types, such as almonds and walnuts, are high in essential minerals like magnesium and potassium?

Although they are generally lower in potassium than fruits and vegetables, nuts make an easy on-the-go snack. They can also be added to healthy desserts or salads for an extra crunch. 

Try to choose varieties with the skins still on, as this is where many nutrients are concentrated.

Dark leafy greens 

Potassium per 100g (kale): 491 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 885 mg

Leafy greens are among the best sources of potassium available. Although they are great eaten raw, their potassium content increases even further when cooked. 

This is because cooking vegetables such as kale loosens the cell walls, making it easier for your body to digest the food and absorb its nutrients

Studies also show that boiling or frying dark leafy vegetables may enhance their antioxidant content, therefore improving their ability to fight disease-causing free radicals in the body.

Milk

Potassium per 100g: 150 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup): 366 mg

Research shows that the highest contributors to potassium intake in the US are fruits and vegetables, making up 20% of our daily intake. Following this are milk and milk drinks, contributing 11% of our overall intake.

If you are allergic to lactose or on a plant-based diet, soy milk is one of the best dairy-free milk alternatives, delivering a huge 158 milligrams per 100-gram serving.

Lentils

Potassium per 100g: 369 mg

Potassium per serving (1 cup cooked): 731 mg

Like beans, lentils are another high-protein, fiber-filled, potassium-packed member of the legume family. Just one cup of lentil packs is 15% of the daily value of this mineral.

However, legumes contain phytic acid, which form phytates, a type of anti-nutrient, when consumed. As your body doesn’t contain the right enzymes to break them down, phytates can prevent the absorption of potassium and other minerals. 

To avoid this and reduce the phytate content of lentils, try soaking, heating, or sprouting them before eating.

Expert image border Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Nutrition Consultant for Consumer Health Digest (CHD)

“Both dried and canned lentils are widely available and make a convenient pantry staple for quick and nutritious meals. If choosing canned options, opt for varieties with low sodium or no added salt to maintain a healthy sodium intake. Lentils can be used in a variety of dishes such as salads, soups, curries, and stews.”

5 Benefits of Potassium You May Not Be Aware Of

You now know some of the best high-potassium foods to include in your diet, but it’s also important to understand why you should eat them. Below, we explain the health benefits of maintaining adequate potassium levels and the risks associated with deficiency.

#1 Supports mental health

Several studies have found that hypokalemia, or potassium deficiency, is common among those with mental illnesses. For example, it has been associated with psychosis in patients with schizophrenia

Low potassium levels may disrupt the electrical signals and nerve transmissions that help your brain to function, which can lead to trouble focusing, difficulty retaining information, and mood swings

Research into potassium intake among adolescents also shows that failing to get enough of this essential mineral, yet consuming too much sodium, increases the risk of depressive symptoms. The results suggest that consumption of a high-potassium diet can help to prevent this.

#2 Reduces risk of stroke

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is important for protecting your heart and preventing conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Consuming potassium can help with this as, alongside the kidneys, it removes excess sodium from the body. By eating too much salt, around 89% of adults exceed the daily recommended sodium intake, which can increase your blood pressure.

Potassium also loosens tight or rigid blood vessel walls, another factor that can increase your risk of high blood pressure.

#3 Alleviates menstrual symptoms

As a mineral that is vital for good cell communication and muscle contraction, potassium can help regulate the pain women experience before and during menstruation.

This menstrual pain is referred to as dysmenorrhea and occurs when receptors in the body are triggered by chemicals that cause the uterus to contract. Studies into the effects of potassium on young women showed that after treatment with a potassium-based drug during their periods, they were able to exercise at levels similar to the nonperiod, no-pain phase of their cycles.

#4 Regulates blood sugar levels

There is evidence to suggest that failing to get enough potassium into your diet can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because potassium helps the pancreas produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. 

Those with low potassium levels will naturally produce less insulin. As a result, blood sugar levels will be higher, which, over time, can lead to diabetes, where your body is unable to produce or effectively use insulin. 

#5 Enhances muscle strength and recovery

As we know, potassium is crucial for maintaining fluid balance, which helps to keep you hydrated. Dehydration can lower blood volume, therefore stopping oxygen and important nutrients from reaching the muscles. 

Athletes who fail to consume enough potassium may, therefore, experience muscle fatigue, weakness, cramping, and a decrease in their performance. Electrolyte powders and supplements containing potassium are ideal for replenishing any essential minerals that may be lost through sweat, which can benefit both performance and muscle recovery. 

Myths vs. Facts: What Should You Know

Heard a few things about potassium that may be putting you off from trying foods that are rich in this electrolyte? We’ve unpacked 3 myths about potassium, separating fact from fiction:

Myth #1: Potassium is only important for athletes

As we’ve already highlighted, getting enough potassium is essential for everything from keeping your heart healthy to improving your mental well-being. This makes it an essential nutrient for everyone, and not just those looking to boost their strength, recovery, or performance.

Failing to get enough potassium can cause several unpleasant symptoms, including weakness and fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, and abnormal heart rhythm. Some serious tell-tale signs of low potassium levels are extreme thirst, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, and serious muscle weakness.

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Myth #2: High-potassium foods are uncommon and hard to incorporate into the diet

The majority of adults in the US fail to meet the daily recommended potassium intake, with research revealing that less than 0.015% are consuming enough of this essential mineral. One of the reasons for this is the perceived higher cost of potassium-rich diets.

However, this is not always the case. Many low-cost potassium sources are available on the market, including fruits and juices, potatoes, beans, and milk. These are all highly versatile and easy to find in your local grocery store.

Expert image border Regev Elya
Regev Elya
Founder @ PerniciousAnemia.org

“Avocado is an amazing source of potassium – it contains about 1,000 mg of it in just one fruit. Moreover, avocado is pretty much any diet-friendly (the carnivore diet, obviously, being the exception).

Also, something not many talk about is that coconut water is extremely rich in potassium. When I’m traveling in tropical regions, I drink it by the boatload. Each coconut or cup has about 600-700mg. Have a couple of those a day, and you’re golden. It’s delicious, too!” – says Regev Elya.

Myth #3: You can never have too much potassium

As well as occurring naturally in foods, potassium can also be found in dietary supplements. Although convenient for those with hypokalemia and severely low potassium levels, it can be easy to consume more than the recommended daily intake through supplements. 

This can damage your heart function, so getting this mineral through your diet is considered to be safer and more effective.

If you do choose to take a potassium supplement, consult your doctor beforehand and ensure that you stick to the dose that they advise.

Expert image border Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN
Nutrition Consultant for Consumer Health Digest (CHD)

“For those with conditions like kidney disease or taking certain medications, such as ACE inhibitors or potassium-sparing diuretics, too much potassium can be harmful and lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia.

The risk for hyperkalemia also exists for individuals with type 1 diabetes, congestive heart failure, adrenal insufficiency, or liver disease. It’s crucial for these individuals to consult with a doctor or dietitian about their potassium intake. Resources on low-potassium diets are also available from the National Kidney Foundation.

Eating more potassium-rich foods can help lower high blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. On the flip side, eating too much salt can increase blood pressure, making it essential to balance your potassium and sodium intake for optimal health.” – says Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Consumer Health Digest.

Incorporating Potassium into Your Diet

Many of the most high-potassium foods are vegetables, which are versatile and easy to incorporate into all meals. For example, although spinach can be consumed raw as a salad base, it easily wilts down in your favorite pasta dishes and stews. Like bananas, spinach also works well frozen when blended into a green smoothie.

However, you don’t need to rely solely on whole vegetables – sauces, concentrates, and pastes are highly convenient, too. For example, just a small amount of tomato paste adds a burst of tangy flavor to pasta dishes, curries, and Hungarian goulash.

Dried fruits are another convenient option. However, they are also high in sugar, so you should be mindful of portion sizes. Try using them as a topper for your morning oatmeal or tossing through salads for sweetness. 

Alternatively, blend prunes with granola for potassium-packed homemade energy bars, or even try them as a compote for meats like pork. Nuts and pumpkin seeds work well in some of these dishes, too, and can be used when baking breads and muffins for an extra crunch.

Nut butters are also ideal for creating high-protein, high-potassium dishes. For instance, peanut butter and banana on toast deliver a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, along with lots of potassium. 

A Word From Our RD

Expert image border HR_author_photo_Edibel
Edibel Quintero, RD
Medical advisor for Health Reporter

Hypokalemia is a chronic issue in the US and worldwide, with research showing a significant reduction in potassium intake across the general population.

One way of combating this deficiency is through using salt substitutes. By replacing sodium with other elements like potassium and magnesium, these salts help to reduce blood pressure without diminishing the taste of foods.

Potassium supplements, including electrolyte drinks and powders, can also be useful, particularly for athletes who become quickly dehydrated as they sweat.

However, supplements shouldn’t be solely relied on for maintaining adequate potassium levels. They should instead work alongside a balanced diet filled with potassium-rich foods such as beans, potatoes, and bananas. You should also drink plenty of water to maintain a good fluid balance.

FAQs

How much potassium is in a banana?

The amount of potassium in a banana will depend on its size. However, an average (115g) ripe medium banana contains 375 milligrams of potassium or 326 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams.

What are the main signs of low potassium?

If you have hypokalemia or low potassium, you may experience symptoms such as extreme fatigue, constipation, muscle weakness, cramps, and abnormal heart rhythm. In more serious cases, you could notice thirst, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and muscle twitching. 

What increases potassium quickly?

To rapidly boost potassium levels, especially for those with hypokalemia, supplements can be effective. However, as excessive potassium intake may harm the heart, it’s crucial to consult a doctor before starting any supplement regimen.

When to avoid potassium-rich foods?

If you have chronic kidney disease or hyperkalemia, avoid high-potassium foods to prevent harmful buildup in your body. Hyperkalemia can also result from conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, Addison’s disease, serious burns, and certain medications.

Conclusion: Embracing Potassium-Rich Foods for Wellbeing

Whether you’re an athlete, a busy college student, or a working parent, potassium-rich foods should be a significant part of every person’s diet. 

Potassium deficiency can cause dehydration, fatigue, and muscle weakness which ruins your sporting performance and makes it difficult for your body to function properly. Try including more vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts and seeds, and legumes in your diet to prevent this.

If you are concerned that you may be experiencing deficiency symptoms, speak to your doctor, who can recommend the best course of action for you.

Written by Donika Vata, MD
Dr. Donika Vata is a highly accomplished MD whose extensive experience in the healthcare industry spans over 5 years, making her a distinguished Medical Writer and Researcher for the esteemed Health Reporter. Notably, she also holds the role of a General Practice Doctor and has rendered her exceptional patient care services in various clinics worldwide.
Was this article helpful?
check
Thank you! We received Your feedback
Dr. Donika Vata
Written by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: December 27, 2023
18 min read 412 Views 0 Comments
0 Comments

Leave a comment

checked
Thank you for your comment!
We will review it as soon as possible.
HealthReporter
Your Name
Missing required field
Your Comment
Missing required field

company-logo