10 Potassium Rich Foods You Should be Eating Now

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Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte required for muscle contraction, nerve response, fluid and mineral regulation in and out of the body’s cell, as well as blood pressure maintenance. [1][2] Potassium moves nutrient in to and waster products out of cells as well as plays a critical role in normal digestive function and carbohydrate metabolism. [3][4][5]

Potassium and sodium work together in the body to maintain homeostasis; too much or too little of either mineral can lead to serious health implications. Unfortunately the Standard American Diet has regressed over the past few decades and many Americans are over-ingesting sodium and under-ingesting potassium. The daily recommended potassium intake for adults 19 years and older is 4,700mg. [4] Sadly the majority of Americans are consuming only about half of the recommended intake. [1]

Related: 10 Zinc-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating Now

Adequate potassium intake appears to improve blood pressure control, reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones, slow bone loss due to aging, and maintain bone mineral density. [1][5] A study of over 43,000 males found that those with an average potassium intake of 4,300mg had a 62% lower likelihood of having a stroke compared to males consuming 2,400mg per day. [5]

Those worried about potassium intake should not freak out nor should they immediately consume a potassium supplement. Significant quantities of potassium are found in most fruit and vegetables as well some animal protein and starchy foods. A number of medications and conditions can lead to excessively high (>7.0mmol/L; hyperkalemia) and low (<2.5mmol/L hypokalemia) potassium blood levels. [6][7]

If you have any concerns before dramatically changing your potassium intake then discuss with your health care professional. This article provides a list and brief write-up of 10 potassium-rich food sources. You may already be eating some of these foods but if you’re looking to diversify your diet and increase your magnesium intake, then hopefully this article provides some new food items to add to your shopping list.

10 Potassium-Rich Foods

#1 – Daikon Radishes– 2027mg per ½ cup (58g)

Daikon RadishDried daikon radishes, commonly referred to as Oriental radishes, are a potassium powerhouse. Just ½ cup (58g) of this vegetable provides 2,027mg of potassium, 160 calories, 4.5 grams of protein, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber, and 0.5 grams of fat. [8] With nearly half of the daily recommended potassium and over half of daily recommended fiber for very few calories, your muscles, nerves, digestive tract, and waist line will thank you.

Daikon radishes are also great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folate. [9] Most Westerners consume nearly 10 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 fatty acids, which can cause numerous health issues.

While daikon radishes aren’t packed with Omega fatty acids they do have a more ideal 2:1 ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. [9] You can use daikon radishes like carrots in stews, soups, stir fries, or enjoy them as a standalone raw-food snack.

#2 – Sun Dried Tomatoes – 1851mg per ½ cup (54g)

Tomatoes are a juicy fruit packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals like lycopene. The sun-dried form of tomatoes contain hefty amounts of potassium – over 1,850mg per ½ (54g). This serving size also supplied 140 calories, 8 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of belly-filling fiber. [10]

Sun-dried tomatoes are a very good source of iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese as well as contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and phosphorus. [11] Those with high blood pressure or on a sodium-restricted diet should use sun-dried tomatoes in extreme moderation as ½ cup may contain up to 1,131mg of sodium. [11]

Sun-dried tomatoes are extremely versatile – toss them in to your salad, incorporate in to a homemade salad dressing, add them to a lunch wrap, or mix in to your omelet.

Russet Potato

#3 – Baked Russet Potato – 1644mg per 1 large (299g) potato

Fruits and non-starchy vegetables receive most of the recognition for being high in potassium but baked russet potatoes deserve serious credit. This starchy nightshade is an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and glycogen-replenishing carbohydrates; be sure to eat the whole potato, skin included. One large (300g) baked russet potato contains 1,644mg of potassium, 290 calories, 8 grams of protein, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, and less than one gram of fat. [12]

Potatoes also provide a solid hit of vitamin C, B6, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. [13] Potato preparation is key– it’s far too easy to polish off a large order of French fries from our favorite fast food chain. French fries contain a significant amount of excessive sodium and empty calories from the added salt and deep-fat fryer oil.

Swap those French fries with a steamed or baked potato; they’re much more difficult to overeat you’ll be consuming all of the beneficial vitamins and minerals without the added fat and calories.

#4 – Steamed Beet Greens– 1309mg per 1 cup (144g)

Beets are appearing in more grocery aisles and on more restaurant menus. While these red-purple or golden vegetables offer numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant we often avoid and discard the beet greens. One cup (144g) of steamed beet greens cut in to one-inch pieces have has less than 40 calories but a hefty 1,309mg of potassium, 3.5 grams of protein, 4 grams of net carbohydrates, and less than one gram of fat. [14]

These dark leafy greens offer good amounts of vitamins A, K, and C as well as riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. [15] Beet greens are delicious whether you consume them raw or cooked. Raw beet greens make a great standalone salad base or compliment a mixture of your other favorite leafy green vegetables.

If you want to try cooked beet greens then sauté them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion for potassium-packed and flavorful side dish.

#5 – Pickled Cabbage – 1280mg per 1 cup (150g)

CabbageThe pickling of foods is an excellent way to preserve freshness and enhance natural flavor. These foods are commonly placed in brine or vinegar and are not necessarily fermented. Some of the most popular pickled foods include pickles, beets, capers, garlic, green beans, relish, and cabbage. One cup (150g) of fresh pickled cabbage contains only 45 calories, 2.5 grams of protein, 4 grams of net carbohydrates, and zero grams of fat, but offers a heart-healthy 1,280mg of potassium. [16]

While pickled cabbage is also a great source of vitamin K, folate, and manganese and can contain around 420mg of sodium per one cup serving. [17] While this quantity of sodium isn’t significant and in many cases is beneficial for athletes engaging in high-intensity exercise, those on sodium restricted diets should moderate their pickled cabbage intake.

Pickled cabbage offers a 3:1 ratio of potassium to sodium, making it an excellent electrolyte-replenishing side dish.

#6 – Dehydrated Apricots – 1100mg per ½ cup (60g)

Apricots are a golden-orange fruit packed with flavor, vitamins, and minerals. Fresh apricots are excellent summer treat but those looking for this stone fruit year-round should look for the dehydrated variety in the supermarket. ½ cup (60g) of dehydrated apricots have 1,100mg of potassium, 190 calories, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and less than one gram of fat. [18]

They’re also high in vitamin A, C, B6, iron, copper, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. [19] Dehydrated apricots are a concentrated source of calories and carbohydrates; those eat a low-calorie or carbohydrate restricted diet should could less calorie-dense sources of potassium.

Those with dietary flexibility can incorporate dried apricots in to trail mix, salads, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothie, rice pilaf, or as a standalone raw-food snack.

#7 – White Beans (Cooked & Drained) – 1004mg per 1 cup (179g)

Beans are a cost-effective food for those looking to increase protein, fiber, complex carbohydrate, vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intake. While black and red beans receive most of the attention in popular dishes and cuisines, the white bean has the most potassium of any bean variety. One cup (170g) of cooked and drained white beans offer 1,004mg of potassium, 250 calories, 17.5 grams of muscle-building protein, 45 grams of complex carbohydrates, 11 grams of belly-filling fiber, and less than one gram of fat. [20]

White beans also contain good quantities of folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. [21] Beans complement rice to create a dish with a complete and balanced amino acid profile. White beans taste great when incorporated in to bean burgers, three-bean salads, soups, stews, chili, and hummus.

#8 – Spinach – 839mg per 1 cup (180g) cooked and drained

Spinach is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet per calorie. One cup (180g) of cooked and drained spinach contains only 41 calories but a whopping 839mg potassium, 5.5 grams of protein, 3 grams of net carbohydrates, and less than one gram of fat. [22] This leafy green superfood is also a great source of vitamin A, K, folate, manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and C. [23]

Cooked spinach is exceptionally easy to prepare – toss a few handfuls in a microwave safe dish and heat for 4 to 5 minutes, pan fry in one tablespoon of olive oil until it is sufficiently wilted, or heat up water on the stove and place it in a steaming basket. Add olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar to spinach after it’s cooked and drained; you’ll not only be enhancing the flavor but you’ll also increase the bioavailability and absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A and K in the spinach leaves.

#9 – Roasted and Trimmed Bottom Sirloin Steak – 724mg per 8 ounce (224g)

8 ounces (224g) of roasted bottom sirloin steak trimmed to 0” fat contains 724mg of potassium, 58.5 grams of protein, 25 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbohydrates. [24] While some studies suggest a correlation between saturated fat intake from beef and cardiovascular risk, there are plenty of studies contradicting these claims. Saturated fat is necessary for normal testosterone production and overall hormonal function. Bottom sirloin steak is high in vitamin B6, B-12, niacin, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. [25]

The bottom sirloin cut of beef is an excellent meat for the grill or for searing in a frying pan. The purists may add nothing more than salt and pepper before cooking this cut of meat but those looking for a more tender protein source may decide to marinate the meat in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and a bit of honey. Regardless of how you decide to prepare the beef ensure you don’t overcook the meat as it may become overly tough and chewy.

#10 – Unsweetened Cocoa – 703mg per 1 ounce (28g)

What if I told you eating more dark chocolate is an excellent way to increase your potassium intake? If I haven’t caught your attention by now then let me explain – just 1 ounce (28g) of unsweetened cocoa contains 703mg, nearly 15% of the recommended daily potassium intake, 8 grams of net carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and just 62 calories. [26]

Unsweetened cocoa is also packed with the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.27 To maximize the antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral content of your cocoa powder ensure it is not processed with alkali. Although the ‘Dutch process’ or alkalization reduces the bitterness and increases the mixability, it significantly decreases the antioxidant, polyphenol, and flavanols content. If the thought of mixing raw cocoa powder in to your oatmeal, baked goods, or smoothies doesn’t appeal to you, then choose a dark chocolate bar that is comprised of 80+% cocoa and not processed with alkali.

Final Thoughts

If you still find yourself struggling to consume adequate quantities of this vital mineral then consider using a high quality potassium supplement sold by a reputable retailer. In the United States 99mg is the legal maximum amount of supplemental potassium per pill or capsule. [5] When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle Tiger Fitness knows “It’s Not a Game!”

References

1) “What Is Potassium?” EatRight. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 3 Feb. 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
2) “Potassium – AHA Recommendation.” American Heart Association. N.p., 4 May 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
3) “Potassium.” MedlinePlus. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health, 10 Mar. 2016. Web. Apr. 2016.
4) Ehrlich, Steven D. “Potassium.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 5 Aug. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
5) Higdon, Jane, et al. “Potassium.” Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University, Dec. 2010. Web. Apr. 2016.
6) “High Potassium (hyperkalemia).” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
7) “Low Potassium (hypokalemia).” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 July 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
8) “Basic Report: 11432, Radishes, oriental, dried.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
9) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Radishes, oriental, dried.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
10) “Basic Report: 11955, Tomatoes, sun-dried.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
11) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Tomatoes, sun-dried.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
12) “Basic Report: 11356, Potatoes, Russet, flesh and skin, baked.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
13) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Potatoes, Russet, flesh and skin, baked.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
14) “Basic Report: 11087, Beet greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
15) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Beet greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
16) “Basic Report: 43143, Cabbage, Japanese style, fresh, pickled.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
17) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Cabbage, Japanese style, fresh, pickled.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
18) “Basic Report: 09030, Apricots, dehydrated (low-moisture), sulfured, uncooked.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
19) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Apricots, dehydrated (low-moisture), sulfured, uncooked.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
20) “Basic Report: 16050, Beans, white, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
21) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Beans, white, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
22) “Basic Report: 11854, Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
23) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
24) “Basic Report: 13953, Beef, bottom sirloin, tri-tip roast, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, all grades, cooked, roasted.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
25) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Beef, bottom sirloin, tri-tip roast, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, all grades, cooked, roasted.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.
26) “Basic Report: 19165, Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2015. Web. Apr. 2016.
27) “Nutrition Facts and Analysis for cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened.” NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. Apr. 2016.

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Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.