Potassium is one important mineral that helps maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. And being the third most abundant mineral in the body, it also is essential for the functioning of the heart, kidneys, brain, and the muscular tissues.
Insufficient levels of potassium in the blood (also called hypokalemia) can cause severe headaches, heart palpitations, and other complications – and avoiding all of those is important. Well, this begs one important question. How much of potassium do we need to take?
What Is The Recommended Daily Allowance Of Potassium?
The adequate intake of potassium is 1600 to 2000 milligrams per day. This includes the potassium you get through foods and supplements combined.
One great way to meet this requirement is by taking foods rich in potassium.
[ Read: Sources of Copper ]
What Are The Foods Rich In Potassium?
The top 15 foods rich in potassium include:
- White Beans
- Dried Apricots
- Beet Greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Acorn Squash
- Carrot Juice
- Coconut Water
- Swiss Chard
[ Read: Serotonin Rich Foods ]
1. White Beans
A cup of white beans contains 3636 mg of potassium and 673 calories (meets 104% of your daily potassium requirement).
White beans are also a great source of fiber and folate – while the former improves digestive health, the latter is good for brain health (it is crucial during pregnancy as well).
You can add white beans to your evening soup.
2. Dried Apricots
A cup of dried apricots contains 1511 mg of potassium and 313 calories (meets 43% of your daily potassium requirement).
Dried apricots are also quite rich in non-heme iron, the deficiency of which can cause anemia.
You can add them to your breakfast smoothie or evening fruit salad.
3. Beet Greens
A cup of beet greens contains 1309 mg of potassium and 39 calories (meets 43% of your daily potassium requirement).
The zinc in beet greens helps boost immunity. It also strengthens your hair.
Beet greens can be added to your evening vegetable salad.
A cup of prunes contains 1274 mg of potassium and 418 calories (meets 36% of your daily potassium requirement).
Also being a great source of vitamin A, prunes help boost vision health and prevent eye ailments like dry eyes and macular degeneration and cataracts.
You can add prunes to your fruit salad or morning smoothie. Or best, you can even eat them as they are.
A cup (30 g) of spinach contains 167 mg of potassium and 7 calories (meets 5% of your daily potassium requirement).
Spinach is also an excellent source of iron (who doesn’t remember Popeye, the Sailor?). Iron boosts hair health and prevents fatigue and anemia.
Simply add spinach to your vegetable salad. Or you can even add the leaves to your breakfast toast. Spinach smoothie can be another good addition to your diet.
An avocado contains 975 mg of potassium and 322 calories (meets 28% of your daily potassium requirement).
Apart from being rich in potassium, avocado is the only fruit offering a good amount of the healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (which are known to reduce cholesterol levels and protect the heart).
You can eat the fruit as it is or slice it and add to your breakfast toast.
[ Read: Niacin Rich Foods ]
Half a fillet of salmon (198 g) contains 970 mg of potassium and 281 calories (meets 28% of your daily potassium requirement).
Probably the greatest benefit of salmon is its omega-3 content, which is known to fight inflammation and improve the health of your heart, brain, skin, and hair.
You can include salmon fillets in your dinner.
One large banana (136 grams) contains 487 mg of potassium and 121 calories (meets 14% of your daily potassium requirement).
Bananas also offer an excellent energy boost. And the fiber in them improves digestive health.
You can simply have a banana with your morning breakfast or in the evening as a snack. Even a banana smoothie would work great.
9. Sweet Potatoes
A cup of sweet potatoes (133 g) contains 448 mg of potassium and 114 calories (meets 13% of your daily potassium requirement).
Given that sweet potatoes are low in glycemic index and high in fiber, these veggies can work great for improving diabetes conditions too.
You can prepare your favorite curry using potatoes. Or chop and add them to your evening salad.
10. Acorn Squash
An acorn squash (431 g) contains 1496 mg of potassium and 172 calories (meets 43% of your daily potassium requirement).
Apart from also being rich in fiber (that boosts digestive health), acorn squash is a great source of antioxidants – which prevent DNA and cellular damage and fight inflammation.
You can simply cut the squash into cubes and add to yogurt for dinner.
11. Carrot Juice
One cup of carrot juice (236 g) contains 689 mg of potassium and 94 calories (meets 20% of your daily potassium requirement).
Carrots are super rich in vitamin A and other powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin – all of which considerably boost eye health. The antioxidants also help fight cancer.
You can have carrot juice as a part of your everyday breakfast.
12. Coconut Water
A cup of coconut water (240 g) contains 600 mg of potassium and 46 calories (meets 17% of your daily potassium requirement).
Coconut water is also known to lower blood sugar levels, thereby benefiting diabetics. The water also lowers blood cholesterol levels, and this can promote heart health as well.
Coconuts are found in abundance – have coconut water every day.
A pomegranate (282 g) contains 666 mg of potassium and 234 calories (meets 19% of your daily potassium requirement).
Pomegranates are also a rich source of flavonols, antioxidants that help fight inflammation and related conditions like arthritis. These antioxidants in pomegranates can also improve memory.
You can have pomegranate seeds along with yogurt – that would make for a great afternoon snack.
A container of plain whole milk yogurt (227 g) contains 352 mg of potassium and 138 calories (meets 10% of your daily potassium requirement).
It contains probiotics that improve your gut health. It is high in calcium as well and can help prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis. And the protein in yogurt aids the proper development of the body.
You can have yogurt by itself or add fruits to it – it would make for a tasty treat during dinner time.
15. Swiss Chard
A cup of Swiss chard (36 g) contains 136 mg of potassium and 7 calories (meets 4% of your daily potassium requirement).
Swiss chard is also replete with antioxidants that have anti-aging effects. It also contains high levels of betalain, an important compound that boosts brain health.
You can simply include Swiss chard in your vegetable salad every evening.
So yes, why are we talking about these foods? Is potassium so important? Why?
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Enough Potassium?
The most important benefit of potassium is improved heart health. Potassium ensures your heart rhythm is healthy. It also lowers blood pressure, and this can prevent heart attacks.
Here are the benefits in a little detail.
1. Boosts Heart Health
Potassium plays an important role in maintaining heart rhythm. It also reduces the risk of stroke, as per studies. Research also shows that a diet high in potassium can help lower blood pressure, which is another major contributor to heart disease.
2. Reduces Cramps
Potassium also leads to reduced muscle cramping and increased muscle strength. The mineral also helps alleviate cramps associated with premenstrual syndrome.
3. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Increased potassium intake has also been associated with a reduced risk of osteoporosis – the mineral helps preserve bones and prevent bone-related issues (3).
4. Reduces The Appearance Of Cellulite
Cellulite is caused due to fluid retention – and potassium helps flush out the excess fluid from the cells. This can help reduce cellulite.
5. Improves The Processing Of Food
Potassium also helps your body process and utilize the carbs you consume. This invariably boosts overall health.
We don’t have to reiterate the importance of potassium. When the mineral is abundantly available in the everyday foods that you consume, we guess there is no reason for one to be deficient in it.
Do tell us how this post has helped you. Just leave a comment below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What are the dangers of potassium deficiency?
Also called hypokalemia, low levels of potassium can lead to weakness, abdominal cramping, constipation, and palpitations. Chronic hypokalemia can lead to serious problems of the heart and nerves.
What are the effects of excess potassium?
Known as hyperkalemia, high levels of potassium can lead to tiredness and palpitations. In extreme cases, hyperkalemia can lead to heart failure.
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