As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every 1 in 3 Americans has high blood pressure or hypertension. One contributing factor is the high amount of sodium in the American diet alongside the low potassium levels, thanks to our shift from fresh produce to packaged food. Patients of hypertension are advised to not just cut down on their sodium intake but also increase their potassium intake. Since potassium is present in every cell of the body and is essential for many functions, from keeping the heart muscles pumping to transmitting nerve signals, low potassium intake doesn’t just cause hypertension, it also makes you more vulnerable to strokes, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. So if you are looking for ways to notch up your potassium levels, take the diet route.
[pullquote]Recommended Daily Allowance Of Potassium
- Age 1–6 months: 400 mg
- Age 7–12 months: 700 mg
- Age 1–3 years: 3000 mg
- Age 4–8 years: 3800 mg
- Age 9–13 years: 4500 mg
- Age 14 and above (including pregnant women): 4700 mg
- Lactating women: 5100 mg1 2
The daily value or DV of potassium is 3500 mg. The DV suggest how much of a nutrient a serving of the food or supplement provides in the context of a total daily diet. Here are some potassium reserves you can tap into to reach the recommended intake every day.
Do note that while this table gives you an idea about the potassium content in an 8 oz cup of these 13 foods, for a lot of these, 8 oz is too large a quantity to not have side effects. For instance, 1 cup of dried apricots will meet 74% of your potassium need for the day, but it might give you stomach ache.
|Food||Potassium Content In 1 Cup (8 oz)||Percentage Of DV|
|Apricot, dried||2,600 mg||74.2|
|Prunes, dry, raw||2,368 mg||67.6|
|Tuna, cooked||1,272 mg||36.3|
|Soybean, green, boiled||1,222 mg||34.9|
|Avocado, raw, cubed||1,099 mg||31.4|
|Sweet potato, baked with skin||1,064 mg||30.4|
|Spinach, cooked||1,040 mg||29.7|
|Kidney beans, cooked||904 mg||25.8|
|White mushroom, stir fried||888 mg||25.3|
|White potato, peeled and baked||872 mg||24.9|
|Banana, raw||800 mg||22.8|
|Carrot, raw||717 mg||20.4|
|Yogurt, plain, non-fat||579 mg||16.5|
[pullquote]1/2 cup dried apricots: 1,300 mg of potassium (37.1% DV)[/pullquote]
Apricot is popular for its antioxidant ammunition – vitamins A and C. It not only protects your eyesight but contributes to your overall well-being, too, by enriching you with good ol’ potassium. One fresh apricot (35 gm) contains 90.65 mg potassium, while 1/2 cup dried apricots contains a whopping 1,300 mg potassium (37.1% of what you need). Eat the fruit fresh, dried, or stewed. Use dried apricot to top your porridge, add fresh apricot to flavor and sweeten a milkshake, or glaze your meat dishes with apricot sauce.
[pullquote]1/2 cup of dry prunes: 1,168 mg of potassium (33% DV)[/pullquote]
Prunes are an acquired taste. They have been bad-mouthed for their laxative effects, which are apparently true. However, if you appreciate their sweetness and chewy texture, a mere 1/2 cup of dry prunes can give you 1,168 mg potassium, which is almost 33% of your dietary requirement. Even if you can’t have it raw, 1/2 cup of stewed prunes can give you 395.2 mg potassium. You could also make the prunes into a compote or add them to your cakes and breads.
Like prunes, raisins are a good source of potassium too, with 1.5 oz containing 322 mg potassium (9.2%).3
[pullquote]1 cup stir-fried white button mushroom: 888 mg of potassium (25.3% DV)[/pullquote]
The button mushroom serves as a healthy potassium reserve. One cup stir fried white mushrooms contains 888 mg potassium (25.3% DV). Being low in calories, this mushroom variety provides hope to calorie counters. It also lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. Plus, mushrooms are indeed a versatile food. Saute them lightly and serve them up for breakfast, add them to your omelette, try a soup, or bake them into a quiche. Get experimenting!
4. Sweet Potatoes
[pullquote]1 baked medium-sized sweet potato: 694 mg of potassium (19.8% DV)[/pullquote]
It’s time you pay some serious attention to this superfood that rules the healthy foods list and is easy to prepare. One medium-sized baked sweet potato (146 gm), with the skin, contains 694 mg potassium (19.8% of your daily potassium requirement). Since about half the potassium content comes from the skin, a peeled, cooked preparation of this starchy root vegetable has a lower value of 230 mg potassium.4 Roast them, mash them, bake them, or add them to curries, stews, pasta, or risotto – you really can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes.
- 1/2 cup boiled green soybeans (edamame): 611 mg of potassium (17.4% DV)
- 1/2 cup boiled matured soybeans: 576 mg of potassium (16.4%)
Half a cup of this vegetarian meat substitute can contribute about 17% of your daily potassium requirements, as 1/2 cup boiled green soybeans or edamame contains 611 mg potassium, while the same quantity of the mature bean, boiled, contains 576 mg potassium. Try a wholesome soy bean stew or roasted edamame, but skip the soy if you suffer from hypothyroidism.
[pullquote]8 oz yogurt: 579 mg of potassium (16.5% DV)[/pullquote]
Being low in calories, yogurt is a viable potassium source for the diet conscious. Every 8 oz plain non-fat yogurt has 579 mg potassium, while the same amount of whole-milk yogurt has 352 mg. With an added perk of probiotics, there’s no reason you should hold yourself back from a little sour indulgence. Have it with your oats, top it up with fresh or dry fruits, or use a yogurt sauce for your fishes and meats.
- 3/4 cup of carrot juice: 517 mg of potassium (14.7%)
- 1/2 cup boiled carrots: 183 mg of potassium (5%)
This visually appealing, ever available root veggie should not be underestimated. A 3/4 cup of carrot juice contains 517 mg potassium (14.7%) and 1/2 cup boiled carrots contains 183 mg potassium.5 Snack on raw carrot sticks and hummus or a spinach dip or toss up a salad.
[pullquote]1/2 cup cooked spinach: 520 mg of potassium (14.8%)[/pullquote]
Leafy greens always make it to the list for nutritious foods. This time the focus is on the 520 mg potassium in every 1/2 cup cooked spinach, meeting 11% of your daily need. While catering to your potassium needs and restraining your waistline, it also fills you up with antioxidants, fiber, zinc, and vitamin B1. Try a fiery stir-fry with spinach, garlic, and chili flakes or knock up a simple creamy spinach soup.
[pullquote]1/2 an avocado: 487.5 mg of potassium (13.9% DV)[/pullquote]
With guacamole options galore and avocado no longer being considered a guest at the dinner table, here is one more reason you need to gormandize this panacea fruit. An average avocado (201 gm) contains 975 mg potassium – that’s 27% of your daily value for potassium – and a cup of cubed avocados would yield 1,099 mg potassium (31.4%). One avocado a day would, however, cost you too many calories and may cause digestion problems; so watch your portion size. You could try an avocado milkshake or smoothie, the good old guacamole, or an avocado salad.
[pullquote]1 large banana: 487 mg of potassium (13.9% DV)[/pullquote]
An average banana contains 422 mg of potassium (12%) while a large one contains 487 mg (13.9%).6 Even though dates and raisins are richer in potassium, bananas are generally the preferred choice. This is because of their more likable taste and feel in the mouth, not to mention ease on the pocket. Also, our homes are always stocked with bananas because of their versatility in the kitchen, which makes it the convenient choice. Snack on it, add it to your oatmeal porridge, or make a banana loaf with whole wheat flour and honey, you don’t need us to tell you what to do with this non-fussy fruit.
11. Tuna And Salmon
- 3 oz of cooked yellowfin tuna: 484 mg of potassium (13.8% DV)
- 3 oz of cooked salmon: 326 mg of potassium (9% DV)
Tuna is rich in potassium, with 3 oz of cooked yellowfin tuna containing 484 mg, which meets more than 13% of your RDA. That apart, it’s a wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids. Your options for cooking tuna are plenty – eat the fish in salads, casseroles, or sandwiches. You could even sear it lightly and coat it with some sesame seeds.
Salmon is also a good choice as 3 oz cooked salmon contains 326 mg potassium, which meets 9% of the daily value for potassium. Smoke your salmon or grill it with seasonal veggies, you will be checking a number of nutrient boxes.
12. Kidney Beans
[pullquote]1/2 cup kidney beans: 452 mg of potassium (12.9% DV)[/pullquote]
Unless you’re allergic to kidney beans or are exclusively carnivorous, you’re probably already stocked up with this mineral-loaded legume. You’ll be happy to know that in addition to the 452 mg potassium that 1/2 cup kidney beans provides, which makes up for 12.9% of the daily value, you are gaining protein and fiber from it.7 Try a kidney bean salad or boil and mash it up to make hummus.
13. White Potato
[pullquote]1 cup boiled potatoes with skin: 424 mg of potassium (12.1% DV)[/pullquote]
Surprised to see the most infamous vegetable on this list? While its high calorie and starch content can scare off dieters and diabetics, this popular staple does have a lot to offer – including potassium. One cup of potato boiled with skin has 424 mg potassium, serving 12% of your requirement, while the same amount of a peeled baked preparation contains 486 mg potassium. Whether you mash your potatoes with some sour cream, parsley or herbs of your choice, or you bake them with other veggies, you can’t go wrong with potatoes.
Don’t Eat All 13 Potassium-Rich Foods Together
Be rational and moderate while planning your meal. While not getting enough potassium can lead to hypokalemia, getting too much of it can cause hyperkalemia. Rather than deriving the nutrient from a single source, mix and match these 13 foods rich in potassium. You have a lot of options to choose from, so get creative right away.[pullquote]Don’t eat large amounts of a single high-potassium food to meet your daily intake requirement. Have smaller quantities of everything to get balanced nutrition.[/pullquote]
- Breakfast: Serve yourself stir-fried white mushrooms and spinach for breakfast. You could even grab a bowlful of yogurt, with a few banana slices or chopped apricot bits as topping.
- Lunch: Reserve the tuna, the kidney beans, the soybeans, and the baked potatoes for lunch but make sure you don’t choose more than one of these, or even if you do, keep the portions small. Most of the other foods you’ll eat through the day have potassium, so being deficient in this nutrient is unlikely.
- Dinner: Except the kidney beans and the potatoes for dinner, which are slightly more difficult to digest, go ahead with any option you like. A tuna salad with slivers of carrots might be a good idea.
- Snack: Munch on a handful of dry apricots or prunes as snacks. And sneak in a banana or a few avocado cubes for sneaky hunger pangs.
Most of the nutrient values have been derived from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.