When we talk about nutrition, we immediately think of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, and carbohydrates. As far as minerals are concerned, each one of them, when taken in the right dose, has a positive influence on our health. Potassium is one such mineral that can be obtained from a low sodium diet. It is a vital nutrient for maintaining electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. Besides, it enables muscle contraction and helps in maintaining normal blood pressure by neutralizing the effect of sodium. This mineral protects the blood vessels from oxidative damage and prevents them from thickening. Apart from this, it also lowers the risk of recurrent kidney stones and bone loss caused with the progression of age.
Potassium deficiency is known as hypokalemia. Symptoms of this deficiency include fatigue, irritability, weakness, heart irregularities such as quickened or slower heart beat, hypertension and even loss of muscle coordination. Boosting your potassium intake not only prevents these conditions but also curbs salt and sodium, reducing the risk of stroke and the chances of developing heart disease.
Potassium Rich Fruits and Vegetables:
The Institute of Medicine and National Academics of Science recommends the daily intake of at least 4700 milligrams of potassium for adults to prevent hypokalemia. But unfortunately most of us are unaware of the importance of this mineral and the foods that we should consume in order to boost its intake. Deficiency of potassium can be prevented or rather cured by following a low sodium diet, which incorporates loads of fruits and vegetables. Given below are some of these high potassium fruits and vegetables, which can effectively fulfill your daily requirement of potassium.
Bananas are undoubtedly one of the best sources of potassium. One medium sized banana contains about 422 milligrams of potassium, contributing 9% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of this mineral. So eating a banana is a great way of reaching your recommended daily potassium intake. Apart from being rich in potassium, it contains healthy carbs that fill you up and boost your metabolism. So why not have a banana with your cereal or low fat yogurt for a healthy and nutritious breakfast!
2. Sweet Potatoes:
We often think of bananas when we talk about potassium rich foods. But few of us know that sweet potatoes rank highest among the list of foods that are high in potassium. One sweet potato contains a whopping 694 milligrams of potassium along with just 131 calories. It also provides an added bonus of other nutrients like beta-carotene, fiber and carbohydrates. These healthy and delicious veggies are quite versatile too. You can have them baked, mashed, fried or stuffed to fulfill your potassium requirement.
3. Baked Potato:
Potato is another starchy vegetable that is a great source of potassium. One baked potato packs a whopping 1081 milligrams of potassium. So you can have this delicious vegetable along with your roasted chicken or other similar dishes for lunch or dinner.
4. Beet Greens:
Most of us consume beets but as far as the beet greens are concerned, they are often considered waste products and are ignored. But these slightly bitter greens are worth being included in your diet as they contain a whopping 644 milligrams of potassium in a half cup serving. Besides, both raw and cooked beet greens are a great source of folate and antioxidants. You can include raw beet greens in your salads or cook them with beets or add them to soups for a boost in potassium levels.
Carrots are also a good source of potassium with a cup of raw carrots or a glass of carrot juice providing 689 milligrams of potassium. Juicing the carrots is an effective way to get more potassium. Besides, carrots also contain beta-carotene, which makes them great for your eyes and vision. You can add some chopped carrots to your lunchtime salads or have a glass of carrot juice as an afternoon snack.
Fresh tomatoes are a great source of potassium with one small raw tomato or a cup of tomato juice providing 909 milligrams of this mineral. Tomato paste and tomato puree are even better sources of potassium. A quarter cup of tomato paste contains 664 milligrams while a half cup of tomato puree packs 549 milligrams of potassium. So tomatoes can be taken in several forms to boost your potassium intake. You can cook in tomato puree, add some tomato sauce to your pasta or simply incorporate tomato juice in your diet.
We all know that spinach is a super food in terms of its nutritional value. Cooked spinach has comparatively higher potassium content with just one cup serving providing 839 milligrams of it. You can incorporate cooked spinach as a side dish to your evening meals.
8. Winter Squash:
Winter squash is a great food for dieters as it contains less than 50 calories but abundant amounts of vitamin A and filling fiber. It is also a great source of potassium, providing 448 milligrams in a half cup serving. Just like cooked spinach, this vegetable can be consumed as a side dish to any dinner.
Commonly known as sapota and chickoo, sapodilla is another best fruit high in potassium, providing 193 milligrams or 6% of RDA in a 100 gram serving. A cup of sapodilla pulp provides 465 milligrams and contributes 13% of the DV of potassium. So gorge on this delicious sweet fruit for more potassium!
Dried beans and peas are other potassium rich plant sources. White beans are the richest sources with half a cup serving providing nearly 600 milligrams of potassium. Other good sources include mature soybeans (443 milligrams), kidney beans (358 milligrams), lima beans (484 milligrams), green soybeans (485 milligrams), lentils (365 milligrams) and split peas (355 milligrams). Unprocessed soy products like edamame are good sources of protein and help fight inflammation in the body. Beans are also good for your heart and should be included in your diet.
Prunes or dried plums are an excellent source of potassium, providing 1.1 grams in a 100 grams serving, which is equivalent to 30% DV of this mineral. A half cup serving of stewed prunes contains nearly 400 milligrams of potassium. Besides, they are great for keeping your bones strong and maintaining bone density. They are also loaded with vitamins and can boost your digestive health.
Avocadoes are considered to be one of the healthiest fruits around. Among other nutrients, they are an excellent source of potassium with a 100 gram serving providing 485 milligrams or 14% DV of this mineral. An avocado contains 975 milligrams of potassium, which is equivalent to 28% of its DV.
Melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew also contain high levels of potassium, providing 368 milligrams and 365 milligrams of potassium per serving respectively. They are best fruits rich in potassium.
14. Dried Figs:
Figs have been known for their health promoting qualities since ancient times. They are also a rich source of potassium providing 680 milligrams or 19% DV of this mineral in a 100 gram serving. A single fig contains 54 milligrams or 2% of the DV of potassium. Apart from being a good source of potassium, these nutrient dense fruits help in lowering cholesterol levels, treating diabetes, constipation, and skin problems like psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema. So incorporate this fruit in your diet to reap its multiple benefits.
15. Dried Apple:
We all know apple as a fruit that keeps the doctor away. This age old saying demonstrates the health benefits of this delicious fruit. Potassium forms an important part of its nutritional value. Few of us are aware of the fact that dried apple is a great source of potassium, providing 450 milligrams or 13% DV of this mineral in a 100 gram serving. Even a small slice of apple contributes 27 milligrams or 1% DV of potassium. In addition to potassium, apples are a great source of phyto-nutrients that act as antioxidants to eliminate cancer causing free radicals from your body.
These starchy vegetables have abundant levels of potassium with a 100 gram serving providing 465 milligrams or 13% of the DV of this mineral. Half a cup of cooked plantain contains 358 milligrams of potassium. So, why not have it as a side dish for your lunch or dinner to boost your potassium intake!
These citrus fruits are extremely popular for their delicious tangy taste and their high levels of vitamin C content. But they are also a good source of potassium! A 100 gram serving of oranges provides 181 milligrams or 5% DV of potassium while a single orange packs nearly 237 milligrams or 7% DV of potassium. So you can consider adding oranges to your fruit salads or simply have a glass of orange juice for a nutrition boost.
These attractive fruits are a powerhouse of nutrients comprising of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are another wonderful fruits that are rich in potassium, contributing 194 milligrams or 6% of DV in a 100 gram serving. A great way of boosting your potassium intake is to munch on a handful of mulberries as your evening snack. This fruit is an amazing combination of nutrition and taste that can provide you with numerous health benefits.
19. Grapes and Raisins:
Grapes are probably one of the most delicious and easiest fruits to munch on. Grapes are renowned for their high resveratrol content, a substance that contributes to beautiful skin. They are also a good source of potassium, providing 191 milligrams or 5% DV in a 100 gram serving. Raisins or dried grapes contain significantly higher amounts of potassium. A 100 grams serving of raisins provides a whopping 892 milligrams, which is equivalent to 25% of the DV of potassium. A single dried fruit is sufficient for curing your potassium deficiency. All you need to do is have a handful of raisins as a mid-morning snack or add them to your salad and yogurt for a twist in flavor.
20. Dried Apricots:
Dried apricots are extremely nutritious fruits. They are excellent sources of potassium, providing 1.2 grams or 33% of the DV of this mineral in a 100 gram serving. If you are highly deficient in potassium, it is advisable to consume this fruit on a regular basis for a boost in potassium levels as well as added bonus of vitamins A and C, fiber, and iron.
Just like raisins, dates, particularly the mejdool variety, are a great source of potassium. A 100 gram serving of dates contributes 696 milligrams or 20% DV of potassium to your body. A single date packs about 167 milligrams or 5% DV of this mineral. You can easily boost your potassium intake by snacking on these fruits. Apart from potassium, dates are also a rich source of vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3 and B5 as well as protein and dietary fiber. Being rich in natural sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose, they are also great energy boosters.
This edible pod like fruit is used extensively in a variety of cuisines all over the world to impart its characteristic tart flavor. In fact, we all just love to nibble tamarind. It is renowned for its medicinal value since ancient times. Besides being a good source of antioxidants, carotenes, flavonoid, vitamin C and B vitamins, tamarind contains significant amounts of potassium. A 100 grams serving of tamarind provides 628 milligrams or 18% DV of potassium. A single tamarind contains 13 milligrams of this mineral. Being a versatile ingredient, it can form part of your diet in various ways.
Now you know why fruits and vegetables are important! If potassium deficiency is your concern, you have all the more reason to incorporate these potassium rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
However, high doses of potassium can be harmful, especially if it is taken from supplements. As far as possible, try to fulfill your requirement of potassium from healthy eating unless your physician advises you to take supplements.
Do you or some you know someone you know suffer from potassium deficiency? Have you tried including these high potassium fruits and vegetable in your diet? Do let us know in the comments section below!