Potassium Rich Foods

Potassium is important for proper function of nerve and muscle cells. It is particularly important because it is involved in the function of one of your body's most important muscles, your heart.

Potassium is crucial to a number of other bodily functions, as well. It plays a role in blood pressure, bone mass, and heart, kidney, and adrenal functions in addition to playing a vital role in proper nerve and muscle function.

The recommended daily allowance of potassium for healthy adults is 4,700 mg. The body appears to benefit more from potassium in a balanced diet than taking supplements.

Low potassium, also known as hypokalemia, is rarely the result of a potassium poor diet. Most often it is the result of losing too much potassium in your urine or digestive tract. Low levels of potassium are usually the result of diuretic use, diarrhea, eating disorders, excessive use of laxatives, kidney failure, vomiting, and adrenal gland disorder.

Low potassium can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, muscle cramps and weakness, fatigue, and constipation.

Potassium Rich Foods

Many people feel the best remedy for low potassium is to eat a banana. While bananas are high in potassium there are an abundance of potassium rich foods from which to choose, several offer more potassium per serving than a banana.

The following foods are particularly high in potassium: apricots, bananas, beets, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, milk, orange juice, tomatoes, spinach, winter squash, yogurt, and prune juice. Lima beans, white potatoes, prunes and raisins are among the foods highest in potassium.

Maintaining the right amount of potassium also depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood. The best way to maintain adequate amounts of these minerals is to eat a balanced diet every day.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain an array of important vitamins and minerals, including potassium. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) suggests regular consumption of fruits and vegetables as a prime means of meeting daily potassium requirements. Fruits and vegetables particularly high in potassium include bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, plums, prunes, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, artichokes, acorn squash, potatoes (with skin) and spinach. Numerous fruit and vegetable juices, such as tomato, orange and prune juices, are also potassium-rich. The LPI suggests skin-on baked potatoes as a top food source of potassium, as one medium-size potato provides roughly 926 mg of potassium---more than twice the amount found in a typical banana.

Milk and Yogurt

In addition to valuable amounts of calcium and protein, dairy products can add lush amounts of potassium to a person's diet. The ADA suggests low-fat milk and yogurt as sources of potassium, as they tend to provide 360 to 490 mg per eight-ounce serving. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, potassium consumption has been positively linked to bone health. This may be due to the fact that people who consume potassium-rich foods regularly also reap ample amounts of calcium. Though whole milk and other high-fat dairy products contain potassium, they are generally high in saturated fat. For this reason, low-fat options are recommended most often. People unable or disinterested in consuming lactose (milk sugar) or animal products can attain potassium from nutrient-fortified soy, rice or almond beverages and yogurt.


Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are low-fat, cholesterol-free and high-fiber sources of nutrition. In addition, numerous legume varieties provide rich amounts of potassium. Cooked Lima beans are particularly valuable potassium sources, as 1/2 cup provides roughly 485 mg. Additional potassium-rich legumes include cooked navy beans, soybeans (cooked or raw), pinto beans, kidney beans, mung beans, split peas and lentils. Examples of legume-based, potassium-rich dishes include vegetarian chili, three-bean salad, bean burritos, dal (Indian-style lentils) and split pea soup.

Post a Comment