Foods That Are High in Potassium

Potassium is one of the most important nutrients for your body. It is often referred to as an electrolyte because it carries an electrical charge that helps activate different functions in your cells and nerves. Your body does not produce potassium on its own, so it is important to eat potassium-rich foods to get its nutrients.

foods high in potassium oranges apricots squash bananas prunes avocado salmon almonds

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Potassium Benefits 

Eating foods that are high in potassium has several health benefits. Potassium can:

  • Keep your blood pressure at a healthy level to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke 
  • Get rid of excess sodium (or salt) in the body 
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Reduce the likelihood of developing kidney stones

Foods with Potassium

The National Institutes of Health suggests a potassium intake of 3,400 milligrams for adult males and 2,600 milligrams per day for adult females. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may consider increasing your potassium intake to 2,800 milligrams daily.  

While many whole foods contain potassium, dietary surveys suggest that very few people in the United States are eating enough potassium each day, which can put their heart health at risk. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has listed the lack of potassium as a public health concern because people are not consuming enough potassium-rich foods. The good news is that potassium is found in a wide variety of foods that you can choose from to incorporate into your own diet. 

Dried Apricots

A half-cup serving of apricots contains 755 milligrams of potassium. This is about 25% of the recommended daily potassium intake for adults. Apricots are also a good source of a pigment called beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body and can support immune and vision health.

You may try eating dried apricots as a snack or slice fresh apricots to eat as is or to add in yogurt or salads. Keep in mind that dried apricots are more concentrated in calories and sugars than fresh apricots, so it is best to limit yourself to a half-cup serving daily.

Soy Nuts

By definition, soy nuts are not your typical nuts like almonds or walnuts. Instead, these are crunchy and mature soybeans that have been soaked in water, drained, and baked or roasted. A one-fourth cup of soy nuts has about 315 milligrams of potassium or 10% of the recommended daily intake for adults.

Soy nuts also contain other micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. They are also less dense in fat and have fewer calories than other nuts. 

You may eat dry roasted soy nuts as is, use them as an alternative to croutons in salads, or add them to trail mix. Look for unsalted options if possible to optimize potassium benefits.

Black Beans

With plant-based eating gaining in popularity, it's good to know foods like beans can help people's daily potassium needs. Each cup of cooked black beans will give you about 600 milligrams of potassium, or 20% of the recommended daily intake. One cup of canned black beans can also help lower cholesterol.

Black beans can be used in chili, soups, salads, dips, and even brownies. If you prefer canned black beans, try to look for low-sodium options. 

Spinach

A two-cup serving of spinach contains more than 300 milligrams of potassium, or about 10% of the daily recommended intake. The leafy green is also packed with vitamin K, another nutrient that can also improve heart health.

Aside from salads, other fun ways to incorporate more spinach in your diet are smoothies, scrambled eggs, tacos, burgers, and even savory muffins.

Yogurt

Dairy products like yogurt and milk are high in potassium, and the lower the fat content, the higher the potassium level. Low-fat plain yogurt contains 625 milligrams of potassium per cup, while full-fat yogurt has 380 milligrams. Yogurt is also a great source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help you digest food and improve your immune system.

Yogurt can be blended into smoothies and used as a baking ingredient for muffins. You may also use it as a creamy dressing or top it with nuts and berries for a quick and healthy breakfast. Flavored versions of yogurt may contain a surprisingly high amount of added sugar, so opt for plain yogurt options when you can.

Potatoes

One medium baked potato with skin has more than 900 milligrams of potassium, equivalent to about 30% of the recommended daily intake. Potatoes are also packed with vitamin C and vitamin B6, which can reduce your risk of chronic illness and boost immunity. 

You may consider preparing your potatoes steamed, roasted, or baked. Potatoes cut into cubes can also be incorporated into curries, stews, and casseroles. But keep in mind that boiling potatoes may reduce their potassium level.

Halibut

Seafood is the most reliable source of potassium among meat options. Halibut is the most nutrient-rich fish and contains about 292 milligrams of potassium per recommended serving (about 85 grams or 3 ounces). Halibut is also a great source of protein and other essential nutrients such as selenium and vitamin B12, which can help boost immunity and form healthy red blood cells in the body.

You may want to braise halibut in a tomato broth, grill it, and top it with a sauce before baking it in the oven. You can also slice halibut into cubes and cook it kebab-style. 

Banana

You may have guessed that bananas contain a high amount of potassium. A medium-sized banana contains more than 400 milligrams of potassium. Bananas are also a good source of fiber and vitamin B6, which is needed to maintain a good metabolism.

Most often bananas are eaten on their own. However, you can also add them to various baked goods, mix them with oatmeal or yogurt, and use them as a base for your smoothie. Bananas are usually an easy and inexpensive way to ensure you are maintaining your potassium levels. 

Prunes

Prunes, which are dried plums, are another dried fruit with notable levels of potassium. A quarter cup of prunes contains more than 300 milligrams of potassium. One study found that eating up to 100 grams of prunes daily, or roughly 10 prunes, can strengthen bone health in postmenopausal women. Prunes are also a good source of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the body and protect against conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Look for unsweetened pitted prunes and use them as a potassium-rich snack on their own or blend them with granola to create homemade energy bars. You can also make puree from prunes to use as a sugar alternative in baking and use them as compotes for cooked meats like pork.

Butternut Squash

Most vegetables have a certain degree of potassium content, but winter squash are a particularly rich source of potassium. Orange-colored varieties of winter squash, like butternut squash, also contain contain the pigment beta-carotene, which may help boost your immune system. One cup of cooked butternut squash contains nearly 600 milligrams of potassium, or 20% of the average recommended daily intake. One study also found that the beta-carotene in butternut squash can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

You can now find peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce department or puree in the frozen food section. Pureed butternut squash is a naturally sweetened ingredient that can be used in muffins or pancakes. You can also cut butternut squash into cubes to use in curries, soups, salads, chili, pasta dishes, and roasted vegetable medleys. 

A Quick Review

Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps maintain the health of the heart, kidneys, and bones. The best way to take in potassium is through a healthy diet. Healthy potassium-rich foods include dried fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seafood. 

If you are concerned about getting enough potassium in your diet, talk to your healthcare provider about foods or supplements that can help you.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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