Potassium is an electrolyte that helps regulate fluid and blood levels in the body. Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium. Meat, milk, yogurt, and nuts are also good sources.
Potassium is an important nutrient for many body processes. Bananas are a well-known source of potassium, but many other foods contain just as much — if not more — of this nutrient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a diet high in potassium and low in sodium — an electrolyte in table salt and processed foods — can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The adequate intake (AI) of potassium for adults is currently 3,400 milligrams (mg) per day for men and 2,600 mg for women.
Bananas contain 422 mg of potassium per medium fruit. In this article, we take a look at other good sources of potassium;
Tomato puree or juice
Fresh tomatoes offer several health benefits. To get more potassium, though, it is best to use concentrated tomato products, such as tomato puree or tomato juice.
Half a cup of tomato puree contains 549 mg of potassium, and a cup of tomato juice contains 527 mg.
Fresh tomatoes also contain potassium, with one medium raw tomato containing 292 mg.
People often use tomato puree in cooking, for example, adding it to pasta sauces. Canned or bottled tomato juice is also suitable to use in many recipes, or people can drink it.
Leafy greens are some of the most nutritious foods available. One study found that eating a serving per day of leafy green vegetables may help slow age-related cognitive decline.
Leafy green vegetables are low in calories and contain many vitamins and minerals. Most also provide a good amount of potassium. For instance:
- A cup of cooked Swiss chard contains 962 mg of potassium.
- A cup of cooked amaranth leaves contains 846 mg.
- A cup of cooked spinach contains up to 838 mg.
Beans come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. Most contain a high amount of fiber, some protein, and a good dose of potassium.
Kidney beans are red, kidney-shaped legumes that people often use in soups, chili, or as a side dish of baked beans.
A cup of canned kidney beans contains 607 mg of potassium.
Many other beans are also high in potassium. The amounts per half cup serving are as follows:
- adzuki beans: 612 mg
- white (cannellini) beans: 595 mg
- lima beans: 478 mg
- great northern beans: 460 mg
- black beans: 401 mg
- canned refried beans: 380 mg
- navy beans: 354 mg
Milk and yogurt
People typically think of dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, as being rich sources of calcium. However, some dairy products are also a good way to add more potassium to the diet.
Studies suggest that in the United States, milk is the top source of potassium among adults. A cup of 1% milk contains 366 mg.
Many people also get their potassium from tea and coffee. An 8-ounce (oz) cup of brewed black coffee contains 116 mg of potassium, which would classify it as a low potassium food, but adding creamers and milk raises the potassium content considerably.
Other dairy products also contain potassium. For instance, one cup of plain nonfat yogurt contains up to 579 mg.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium.
Sweet potatoes have orange flesh and a sweeter flavor than white potatoes. Their orange color means that they provide more beta carotene than other potatoes, but they also contain potassium.
A baked sweet potato with the skin still on contains 542 mg of potassium.
For the most healthful option, a person should eat baked or microwaved sweet potatoes without added sugar. It is also best to avoid canned sweet potatoes that the manufacturers have packaged in syrup.
Avocado is a buttery fruit that contains a variety of nutrients, including heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamins C, E, and K. Avocados also contain nearly 5 grams of fiber in half a cup.
Avocados are a good source of potassium, providing 364 mg in a half-cup serving.
People can eat avocados raw in salads, as dips, or on toast. They also work well in cooked meals, such as pasta dishes.
The bottom line is that if a person eats a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and legumes, they should get enough potassium in their diet. It is beneficial to balance this by eating low amounts of high sodium foods, such as processed foods and fast food.
This dietary approach can not only help keep potassium at a healthy level, but it may help people obtain a variety of other vitamins and nutrients that occur in whole foods and contribute to better health.