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Foods Rich in Potassium (Even more than a Banana) and Why You Want Them!

Elizabeth Renter
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October 1st, 2012
Updated 11/01/2012 at 3:05 am
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banana 235x147 Foods Rich in Potassium (Even more than a Banana) and Why You Want Them!

If you know any endurance athletes or athletic people in general, you’ve likely seen them reach for bananas again and again. But do you know why? Bananas are seen as one of the most potent and convenient forms of potassium, leading to a boost in energy. Great for preventing muscle cramping and weakness, potassium acts as an extremely useful nutrient for those engaging in moderate or intense exercise. But potassium isn’t just for athletes; it’s crucial for everyone. And while you may reach for a banana, there are actually many other foods rich in potassium that outrank bananas!

Why You Should Eat Foods with Potassium

Potassium, along with sodium and chloride, is known as an electrolyte; that means potassium actually conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Pretty cool, huh? These electrolytes play an important role in nerve transmission—the body’s method of communicating. In addition potassium is important in muscle contraction, helping with both the degree and frequency of contractions. It can also lower your risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Potassium deficiency is rare, because the mineral is present in so many foods. However, signs of deficiency include: weakness, confusion, fatigue, heart problems, and diarrhea. Generally, adults should get around 4,700 mg of potassium each day. If you are an athlete or just extremely active, you should consume even more foods rich in potassium than the average person

So, where can you find it?

Foods Rich in Potassium

Containing about 422 mg of potassium, bananas are known as a great source for the nutrient. But there are many other foods rich in potassium that you may not know about. Some have twice or as much as three times the amount of potassium as bananas. Beet greens, for example have about 1,309 mg in a single cup. Potatoes, with the skin on, have more than 1,000 per medium-sized vegetable. Spinach is an excellent source with more than 800 mg per cup. Even an avocado has more potassium than an average banana: with around 540 per 3 ounce serving. Here are some other options:

  • Raisins
  • Dried figs
  • Beans and legumes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Soybeans
  • Artichokes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chick peas
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds

It shouldn’t be too hard to get enough potassium from natural food sources in any given day. The concentration of potassium is depleted in cooking, however, so eat what you can raw, and if you have to cook it, consider blanching or steaming.

Additional Sources:

Vaughns-1-Pagers

Healthaliciousness

WHFoods

Iom.edu

The Huffington Post

From around the web:

Comments (12)

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  1. Amy says:

    Chloride is NOT an electrolyte. The four electrolytes are calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Check your facts.

  2. Colleen says:

    Coconut water is an excellent source of potassium. We use it to make a morning smooth, along with a banana or two (old bananas are perfect for this) and pineapple (with the core included). Older bananas and pineapple core are both helpful in preventing cancer.

  3. Anne says:

    Kale is also high in potassium…orange juice, which is often recommended by doctors to supplement potassium, is very high glycemic, which fuels obesity, and anything but natural as the very essence of the oranges used to flavor it is stored in huge silo like containers for up to a year before it's put in the orange "juice". Most likely all GMO oranges in the big companies like Tropicana and Minute Maid.

    • april says:

      apples are the first Genetically Engineered fruit on the market, and they were just approved. Gross, though, right? And who knows what sprays are on those conventional oranges.

  4. Noah Sweat says:

    Beet greens, soybeans, and artichokes are most likely GMO and I am surprised that this website would consider recommending them. They are full of glyphosate from the Roundup.

  5. Noah Sweat says:

    Molasses has almost 2 to 1 of potassium in one tablespoon and these football players are on the sidelines eating a gut full of bananas to prevent leg cramps, go figure.

  6. Bill DeBurg says:

    Don't forget Kiwi. More K than banana and it also has iron.

  7. Steve says:

    Be careful with anything soy though, they're high in sugar and potentially dangerous to humans.

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