You Probably Need More Potassium. Here Are 20 Good Sources

You Probably Need More Potassium. Here Are 20 Good Sources

Potassium is the nutritional equivalent of HIIT: everyone knows it’s important, but not many people know why. Similar to consuming dietary fiber and healthy fat, eating foods high in potassium is crucial to maintaining good health. Without enough potassium, you might experience muscle crampsfatigue, or increased blood pressure.

Read on to learn what potassium is, why your body needs it, and how to ensure you’re getting enough.

 

What Is Potassium?

Potassium is a key mineral for our bodies. “It’s found inside cells, and is vital in regulating fluid and electrolyte balance in the body,” says Jennifer Glockner, R.D.N. and creator of Smartee Plate. Because potassium is an electrolyte, she explains, it helps conduct electrical charges in the body, which in turn helps contraction of the heart and muscles.

How much potassium do I need?

According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily intake of potassium for the average healthy adult is 4,700 milligrams. “Most of us don’t consume enough fresh fruits and veggies,” says Glockner, “and therefore, we don’t consume enough potassium in our diet.”

Of course, it’s unlikely (and probably inadvisable) that you’ll get 4,700 milligrams of potassium from just one food source. But you can get enough potassium by taking a varied approach to your diet, and prioritizing foods high in potassium, like fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Can you overdose on potassium?

Most people have a hard enough time eating the recommended amount of potassium per day, so it’s difficult to overdo it. “However, those with impaired kidney function should consult their healthcare provider and most likely will be instructed to limit potassium intake,” says Krista Maguire, R.D., C.S.S.D., and Openfit nutrition manager.

That’s because the kidney is responsible for flushing out excess potassium in your urine. If you have kidney disease, though, “the kidney can’t remove the excess potassium, which then accumulates in the blood, and may cause harm,” says Glockner. This can result in a condition called hyperkalemia, which Glockner says may contribute to heart problems.

If you have a history of kidney disease or heart issues, talk to your doctor to ensure you’re getting the right amount of potassium.

 

What Are the Benefits of Potassium?

Eating foods high in potassium is important for regular cell function, Maguire says. “Potassium is also important for heart health in that it can help maintain normal blood pressure,” she explains. “Especially when sodium intake is high.”

That’s why upping your potassium intake while simultaneously reducing your sodium intake may help lower your blood pressure, Glockner says, potentially leading to better overall heart health. Increased potassium consumption has also been linked to better bone mineral density, she adds.

 

20 Best Sources of Potassium

Bananas aren’t the only — or even best — source of potassium. “There are foods that provide even more,” says Maguire, like certain dried fruits and legumes. Try to get your daily potassium from a variety of foods so you can score other nutrients at the same time. Think: fiber, unsaturated fat, protein, and a slew of different essential vitamins.

Here’s a list of healthy foods ordered from highest in potassium to lowest.

1. White Beans

white beans | foods high in potassium

One cup, canned, contains 1,189 milligrams of potassium

 

2. Dried Apricots

dried apricots | foods high in potassium

One half cup contains 1,101 milligrams of potassium

 

3. Swiss Chard

swiss chard mangold | foods high in potassium

One cup, cooked and chopped, contains 961 milligrams of potassium

 

4. Lentils

lentils | vegan protein sources

One cup, cooked, contains 731 milligrams of potassium

 

5. Acorn squash

acorn squash | foods high in potassium

One cup, cooked and mashed, contains 644 milligrams of potassium

 

6. Potato

high protein vegetables | russet potatoes

One medium potato, baked with flesh, contains 610 milligrams of potassium

 

7. Kidney beans

kidney beans | foods high in potassium

One cup, canned, contains 607 milligrams of potassium

 

8. Raisins

raisins | foods high in potassium

One half cup contains 598 milligrams of potassium

 

9. Yogurt

yogurt blackberries | foods high in potassium

One cup, plain and low-fat, contains 573 milligrams of potassium

 

10. Lima beans

lima beans | foods high in potassium

One cup, canned, contains 530 milligrams of potassium

 

11. Tomato juice

tomato juice | foods high in potassium

One cup, canned, contains 527 milligrams of potassium

 

12. Soybeans

high protein vegetables | edamame soybeans

One half cup, boiled, contains 485 milligrams of potassium

 

13. Banana

bananas | foods high in potassium

One medium fruit contains 422 milligrams of potassium

 

14. Peas

green peas | vegan protein sources

One cup, boiled, contains 384 milligrams of potassium

 

15. Sweet potato

sweet potatoes | foods high in potassium

One medium potato, boiled, contains 347 milligrams of potassium

 

16. Avocado

How to Make All Your Leftovers Taste Great

One half of a medium avocado contains 345 milligrams of potassium

 

17. Spinach

high protein vegetables | cooked spinach

2 cups, raw, contain 335 milligrams of potassium

 

18. Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon with Maple Glaze

3-oz. fillet, Atlantic, farmed, contains 326 milligrams of potassium

 

19. Beets

beets | foods high in potassium

One half cup, boiled and sliced, contains 259 milligrams of potassium

 

20. Brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts | foods high in potassium

One half cup, cooked, contains 247 milligrams of potassium

Paige Smith

About

Paige Smith is a content marketing writer specializing in health, fitness, and nutrition. Her work has appeared in Men's Health, My Fitness Pal, Furthermore by Equinox, and the Huffington Post. Learn more at paigeashleysmith.com.