11 Foods With More Potassium Than A Banana
Potassium is a crucial nutrient in your diet, playing key roles in muscle strength, nerve function, and heart health. And if you don’t get enough — 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day, according to the USDA (or 5,100 mg if you’re breastfeeding) — it could lead to a deficiency, complete with fatigue, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, and dizzy spells. Yikes.
You’ve probably heard that bananas are packed with potassium, which is true. This tasty staple is a great option for an ample dose of the nutrient, with 422 mg in each medium-sized serving, according to the USDA. But it’s certainly not the only way (or even the best way) to load up on this important mineral.
While it might be tempting to just pop a potassium pill, Desiree Nielsen, a dietician and author of Un-Junk Your Diet: How to Shop, Cook, and Eat to Fight Inflammation and Feel Better Forever, says that unless your health-care practitioner thinks you need one, food is the way to go. She adds that foods high in potassium come equipped with other awesome benefits, like fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
But is it possible to O.D. on potassium? Unless you’re at risk for kidney disease (which may interfere with the kidneys’ ability to balance your sodium and potassium levels) “it’s unlikely that eating a lot of high-potassium foods will have negative effects,” says Nielsen. It’s generally absorbed quite well, she adds.
Consuming your daily requirement is a great start, but certain lifestyle factors can deplete your stores, like excessive sweating or vigorous activity in hot weather, alcoholism, severe vomiting, diarrhoea or laxative abuse, and the use of potassium-depleting diuretics, according to Nielsen.
Here, we’ve rounded up eleven foods high in potassium — all of which have more of the nutrient than a banana. Nosh away.
These foods are good sources of potassium:
Eat a sweet potato as your go-to side dish all year long. This delicious, vitamin-packed super-food has 542 mg of potassium (for one medium-sized, baked sweet potato, according to the USDA). “I am obsessed with my spiralizer, so my favourite new way to serve sweet potato is as a substitute for pasta,” says Nielsen. “Give it a quick sauté with plenty of olive oil, and serve with a cashew cream sauce.”
Yes, your extra guac packs a nutritional punch. So you don’t need an excuse to indulge in some avocado, especially given the 487 mg of potassium contained in half the fruit, according to the USDA. “[It’s] practically a condiment in my house. I serve it alongside salads, grain bowls, and breakfast scrambles for a high-fibre boost of healthy fats,” she says.
Long live the energy-boosting and satiating trail mix staple. Six dried apricots pack 430 mg of potassium, per the USDA, but you don’t need to wait to lace up your hiking boots to enjoy them. Try Nielsen’s protein-packed breakfast cookies and swap the raisins for a quarter-cup dry apricots.
Whether you cook them up in chilli, drop them in a soup, or serve them on the side, white beans are another of our favourite foods high in potassium. One cup will get you 541 mg of the mineral, according to the USDA. “White beans are my secret weapon for creamy dips, soups, and sauces. Simply puree with roasted garlic, salt, sage, and chilli flakes for a departure from the usual hummus,” says Nielsen.
If you want to reach for a healthy snack, you couldn’t do much better than simple plain yoghurt. In a standard eight-ounce serving of low-fat plain yoghurt, expect to take in roughly 579 mg of potassium according to the USDA.
Pizza isn’t all that bad for you after all. A quarter cup of tomato paste packs 669 mg of potassium, according to the USDA. Nielsen says it’s the best way to boost flavour in vegan queso recipes or a great base for making your own low-sugar ketchup.
In your salad, on your burger, or in a delicious smoothie, there are a million ways to get spinach into your diet — and take advantage of its whopping 839 mg of potassium per cooked cup, according to the USDA. “I always have spinach on hand for a quick greens boost. I add a big handful to smoothies, scrambles, and pasta. My favourite quick meal is a can of white beans sautéed with garlic, spinach, and lots of olive oil,” says Nielsen.
Although sweet potatoes have quite the health halo (and for good reason), their white potato counterparts actually have more potassium per serving. Per the USDA, one medium baked potato has 941 mg of potassium — about 20 percent of your daily value.
We love black beans for their protein and fibre (and the way they make a burrito even more delicious), but they’re also a great source of potassium. One cup of canned black beans has 739 mg of potassium, according to the USDA.
The winter squash has an impressive potassium count, with 896 mg of potassium per one cup of cooked, cubed pieces, according to the USDA. Roast a batch of it and eat it as a side, top it on your salads or grain bowls, or puree it into a soup or sauce.
One cup of cooked Swiss chard has 961 mg of potassium, according to the USDA. Use it as a substitute for kale or spinach and sauté it with garlic for a delicious side dish. Just don’t go overboard on the veggie — while it has lots of nutritional benefits, it’s also a high-oxalate food, meaning it can cause kidney stones in people who are prone to them.
Did you know that a lack of potassium can cause muscle cramps? Now you do.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com