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10 Foods High in Potassium

Potassium is the 3rd most abundant mineral in the human body. It is naturally founds in many foods and can also be supplemented. Potassium helps to maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells, support movement and help maintain a healthy blood pressure (National Institutes of Health, 2023). Potassium is classified as an electrolyte because it is highly reactive in water. It can conduct electricity when dissolved in water due to the production of positively charged ions (Weaver, 2013). This is important for so many functions in the body, including nerve transmission and muscle contractions (Kes, 2001).

Approximately 98% of potassium is found within our cells. 20% in our bones, liver and red blood cells and 80% in our muscles (Cheng et al. 2013). Increasing intake of potassium has been shown to reduce blood pressure (Aburto et al. 2013), protect against stroke (D'Elia et al. 2011), prevent osteoporosis (Macdonald 2005), prevent kidney stone formation (Curhan et al. 1997) and reduce water retention (Smith et al. 1992).

According to the National Institutes of Health (2023), male adults aged 19-50+ need 3,400mg of potassium per day and female adults aged 19-50+ need 2,600mg per day. Potassium deficiencies are pretty rare. They usually occur when the body suddenly looses too much potassium e.g after extreme sweating, diarrhoea, vomiting, enemas or due to certain medications (Veltri & Mason, 2015). If you are someone who is prone to these things, eating enough potassium rich foods is vital. However, even if you are not deficient, eating enough potassium is crucial for the reasons stated above. With that being said, lets take a look at some of the foods highest in potassium:

1. Coconut Water

Coconut water is extremely potassium rich. In fact, just 1 glass of coconut water provides 600mg of potassium! Coconut water is also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin b9 and choline. Coconut water is a great post-workout drink as it is rich in electrolytes (Kalman et al. 2012) and antioxidants that help replenish/hydrate the body and repair damage (Bhagya et al. 2012)

Recent studies have suggested that coconut water may help lower blood sugar in those with diabetes (Preetha et al. 2015), prevent kidney stone formation (Gandhi et al. 2013) and support cardiovascular health (Sandhya & Rajamohan, 2008).

2. White Potatoes

White potatoes are another great source of potassium. 1 medium raw potato contains 867mg of potassium and 1 large raw potato contains 1500mg! White potatoes also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, betaine, vitamin E, vitamin K and vitamin A. Thus, potatoes are an extremely nutritious food when cooked correctly.

Furthermore, white potatoes are rich in antioxidants which help prevent damage caused by free radicals and cancer cell growth (Wang et al. 2011). White potatoes have also been shown to improve digestive health due to their beneficial effect on the gut microbiome (Venkataraman et al. 2016) and help improve blood sugar control in those with diabetes (Lin et al. 2015).

3. Bananas

Bananas are probably the most well-known potassium rich food, and there is a reason for that! 1 medium sized banana contains approximately 451mg of potassium, which is 10% of the daily recommended value (DRV)! Bananas also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b6, b9, vitamin A, choline, vitamin E and vitamin K!

Bananas are also rich in soluble fibre and resistant starch (Phillips et al. 2021) which feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut (Guan et al. 2021) and helps regulate blood glucose post food consumption (Lin et al. 2015). Furthermore, bananas have been shown to support heart health (Cornago et al. 2021), improve insulin sensitivity (Patterson et al. 2020), improve kidney health (Mun et al. 2019) and support recovery from exercise (Baker & Wolfe, 2020).

4. Spinach

Spinach is best known for being rich in folate, however, it is also a great source of potassium! In fact, an 100g serving of raw spinach contains 558mg of potassium. Spinach also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, betaine, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Spinach is high in insoluble fibre which helps move the bowel and prevent constipation (Otles & Ozgoz, 2014). Spinach is also rich in plant compounds such as lutein which supports eye health (Krinsky et al. 2003), quercetin which helps reduce inflammation (Boots et al. 2008) and nitrates which promote heart health (Tang et al. 2011).

5. Avocado

Alongside being a great source of monounsaturated fat, avocados are rich in certain nutrients such as potassium. 1 medium sized avocado contains 975mg of potassium, which is almost half of the DRV! Avocados also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, betaine, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Avocados are also high in fibre which helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut (Thompson et al. 2021) and protect against bowel inflammation (Vital et al. 2017). Furthermore, regular consumption of avocados has been shown to protect against heart disease (Wang et al. 2020), promote a healthy body weight (Khan et al. 2019) and improve cognitive function (Cannavale et al. 2019).

6. Sweet Potatoes

Another great source of potassium is sweet potatoes. They contain approximately 337mg of potassium per 100g serving! Sweet potatoes also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.

Sweet potatoes are a slow release carb known as complex carbohydrates (Santos et al. 2022). They are healthy carbohydrates that are absorbed slower than simple carbohydrates. The glucose contained in the carbohydrates is absorbed slower and thus, doesn't cause insulin spikes (O'Byrne, 2023). Furthermore, energy can be sustained for longer when an individual consumes complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes over simple carbohydrates such as bread (Wilson et al. 1998).

7. White and Black Beans

1 cup of canned white beans contains a whopping 1190mg of potassium and 1 cup of cooked black beans contains 611mg of potassium! These beans also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, vitamin E and vitamin K. You sould always soak beans overnight before consumption as they contain phytates. Soaking beans helps reduce phytate content and thus, prevent mineral malabsorption (Nakitto et al. 2015).

White beans are loaded with fibre and resistant starch which helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut (Besten et al. 2013) and support heart health (Threapleton et al. 2013). White beans are also a perfect protein source for vegans that promotes healthy body weight due to their high nutrient count and low calories (Polak et al. 2015). Furthermore, black beans are rich in antioxidants which help to neutralise free radicals and minimise oxidative damage (Mendoza & Sanchez, 2017).

8. Lentils

Another great source of potassium is lentils. In fact, 1 cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 731mg of potassium! Lentils are also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. You must always soak lentils before consuming them to reduce their phytate and tannin content (Nakitto et al. 2015).

Lentils are also rich in polyphenols such as procyanidin and flavanols. These polyphenols have been shown to have potent antioxidant (Zhang et al. 2017), anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects (Lopez et al. 2017).

9. Chickpeas

Another potassium rich legume is chickpeas. Just 1 cup of cooked chickpeas contains 477mg of potassium! Chickpeas also contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b9, choline and vitamin K. Always remember to soak chickpeas overnight before consuming them to reduce their tannin and phytate content (Alsalman & Ramaswamy, 2020).

Chickpeas are a great vegetarian protein source that will leave you feeling full for hours (Leidy, 2014). Due to their high fibre and protein content, chickpeas help promote healthy weight (Moon & Koh, 2020), bone health (Dolan & Sale, 2019) and muscle strength (Wu, 2016). Chickpeas also have a low glycemic index, which means they help to promote blood glucose regulation (Wallace et al. 2016) and reduce the risk of low blood sugar in those with diabetes (Faridy et al. 2020).

10. Salmon

Aside from being a great source of omega-3, salmon is also rich in potassium. In fact, an 100g portion of cooked salmon contains 384mg of potassium! Salmon is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins b3, b5, b6, b9, b12, choline, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin D. Always make sure to buy wild caught salmon to reduce the amount of heavy metal and toxin consumption (Foran et al. 2005). It is advised to eat salmon 1-3x per week to receive all the health benefits.

Due to its high omega-3 content, salmon helps reduce inflammation (Calder, 2017), stabilise blood pressure (Hoshi et al. 2013), improve arterial function (Zehr & Walker, 2018) and support heart health (Feuchtner et al. 2021). Salmon has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and support mental wellbeing (Yang et al. 2018).


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