When you think potassium, do you think of a banana first? Somewhere along the line, bananas became known as the go-to for potassium, when they’re not even the highest potassium provider in the fruit category, let alone vegetable. If you’re looking for vegetables high in potassium, look no further! This article will give you information about how much potassium is needed in our diet, facts about the effect of fluctuating potassium levels, and a list of healthy vegetables high in potassium that you can add to your shopping list.
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium is one of the 16 essential minerals we get from our diets. Also an electrolyte, potassium helps conduct electrical impulses in our bodies and plays a key role in blood pressure regulation and metabolism. Potassium’s health benefits also include aiding in relief from stress, anxiety, heart and kidney disorders, and stroke.
If your potassium gets too low, you may develop hypokalemia. A low potassium level can be caused by issues with your adrenal glands, excessive diarrhea, vomiting, or use of diuretics. Low potassium can cause muscle weakness, twitching, cramping, and in more extreme cases, muscle paralysis and abnormal heart rhythms.
Too much potassium is the condition called hyperkalemia. Again, because potassium is so important in regulating your heartbeat, too much potassium can cause possibly deadly changes in your heart rhythm. A proper, balanced amount of potassium is essential to your health.
Vegetables High in Potassium
A great way to get the right amount of potassium is to obtain it through a balanced diet. If you’re looking to replenish your potassium levels for any reason, here is a list of vegetables that can provide natural sources of the mineral.
- 1309 mg of potassium per cooked cup (144 g)
Highest on the list, beet greens are not only in the quadruple digits for potassium, they’re also a good source of iron, fiber, copper, magnesium, zinc, and protein. With antioxidants as well, beet greens may aid athletic performance, improve digestion, and help fight inflammation.
- 974 mg of potassium per medium avocado (200 g)
A wellspring of healthy fats, avocados are a rich source of potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Good for help with lowering high blood pressure, avocados are a versatile food that can be amply used in recipes and smoothies to gain their nutrients.
- 969 mg of potassium per cooked cup (170 g)
Also known as butter beans for their butter-like taste and texture, lima beans have the phytochemicals coumestrol and saponin, which may have anti-cancer properties. With magnesium, manganese, and calcium, lima beans also help promote bone development.
- 961 mg of potassium per cooked cup (175 g)
With about double the potassium content of a banana, as a leafy green vegetable Swiss chard also has an extremely high amount of dietary fiber, and vitamins A and K. Great for digestion and an easy addition to any healthful salad.
- 926 mg of potassium per medium potato (173 g)
With no fat, sodium, or cholesterol, potatoes bring you a good dose of potassium, plus nearly half the daily recommended value of vitamin C. With fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamin B6, suddenly a bowl of mashed potatoes is more than a comfort food. It’s a health food.
- 896 mg of potassium per cooked cup (205 g)
Acorn squash brings you vitamin B6, vitamin A, folate, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin C. Including acorn squash in your diet helps to maintain your eyesight, beautify your skin, and up your body’s natural defenses against infectious diseases.
- 839 mg of potassium per cooked cup (180 g)
Spinach contains several vitamins and minerals other than potassium, such as magnesium, folic acid, and vitamins B6, B9, and vitamin E. With ample amounts of carotenoids, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and andiron, this leafy green is a favorite smoothie ingredient to blend up for its nutrients.
- 631 mg of potassium per cooked cup (170 g)
With fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, calcium, and vitamin B6, this leafy green cruciferous vegetable is a valuable food. From promoting eye health, to skin enhancement, to its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, bok choy is another potassium provider, and with that it does its part in helping to maintain stable blood pressure, as well as guard against anemia.
White Button Mushrooms
- 555 mg of potassium per cooked cup (156 g)
Besides the potassium content of these fungi, white button mushrooms provide immune system benefits, anti-cancer properties, and can offer you vitamin D, especially when they’ve been exposed to sun. With fiber, protein, B vitamins, selenium, and copper, these mushrooms put the fun in fungi for sure.
- 536 mg of potassium per mashed cup (255 g)
Sweet potatoes can help stabilize blood sugar, boost your immunity, benefit your eyesight, and fight cancer. With anti-inflammatory effects due to their high levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and magnesium, sweet potatoes should take center stage in your diet to ensure you get both potassium and a fair helping of antioxidants out of it.
- 523 mg of potassium per cooked cup (240 g)
Tomatoes are our main source of the antioxidant lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. With folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C, both a fresh tomato (chopped or sliced) and tomato paste provide potassium. Just 3 tablespoons of tomato paste has up to 486 mg of potassium, so as long as you buy one without added sugars or preservatives, the sauce on your fries can actually benefit you.
- 495 mg of potassium per cooked cup (156 g)
With an abundance of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, Brussels sprouts bring the potential benefit of inflammation regulation and blood sugar control along with a helping of potassium. Delicious to eat on their own with a little olive oil and seasoning, you can bake up a whole tray of Brussels sprout halves and eat quite healthy tonight.
- 493 mg of potassium per cubed cup (140 g)
Heart healthy due to its content of the minerals iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, butternut squash brings potassium for bone health and vitamin B6 for proper immune and nervous system functioning. Full of fiber, this classic autumnal gourd brings tons of value to the table.
- 475 mg of potassium per cooked cup (180 g)
Beneficial for weight loss, zucchini’s vitamins and nutrients help improve digestion, lower blood sugar levels, benefit eyesight, and slow down aging. With added aid for thyroid and adrenal functioning, zucchini is another potassium-rich food that can open up a world of other enhancements.
- 457 mg of potassium per cooked cup (156 g)
This cruciferous veg is a powerful source of vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and fiber, in addition to potassium. It helps build collagen, heal wounds, and gives you added protection against free radicals. Not just the broccoli head, but the leaves too are edible, with all the nutrients of any green, leafy vegetable. Buy this veggie and get two for the price of one with broccoli!
- 444 mg of potassium per cooked cup (168 g)
With more fiber in one artichoke than a full cup of prunes, artichokes also contain a considerable amount of protein for a vegetable. Along with antioxidants, the prebiotic inulin (which your gut bacteria converts into short-chain fatty acids that nourish your colon) is also in this tasty veggie.
- 434 mg of potassium per cooked cup (160 g)
Low in calories, rich in fiber, full of vitamins A and K, plus another unlikely supplier of protein, green peas whether fresh or frozen will contribute potassium to your body, and a delightful texture to your plate.
- 403 mg of potassium per cooked cup (180 g)
Loaded with fiber, folate, and vitamins A, K, C, and E, asparagus also has the trace mineral chromium. Chromium helps insulin transport glucose into cells from the bloodstream, which is helpful to those watching their blood sugar levels.
- 394 mg of potassium per cubed cup (116 g)
Stuffed with vitamin A and high in antioxidants that guard against chronic diseases, pumpkin has vitamins that are associated with immunity protection, eyesight improvement, and heart health. Not just for carving up on Halloween and making into pie for Thanksgiving, pumpkin is worth looking into for regular inclusion in your diet.
- 392 mg of potassium per cooked cup (145 g)
With the phytochemicals zeaxanthin and lutein, sweet corn helps protect your vision and eyesight, and the fiber in corn helps feed the good gut bacteria in your digestive system, which in turn keeps you comfortably regular. With less sugar than an apple, corn on or off the cob is a golden food opportunity.
- 367 mg of potassium per cooked cup (170 g)
A cross between turnips and wild cabbage, the rutabaga brings a wealth of nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and, of course, potassium too. It comes with the ability to help fight cancer and improve digestive function.
- 360 mg of potassium per cup (87 g)
Celery-like, fennel is a winter vegetable with a flavor similar to licorice, and provides a multitude of health benefits including the flavonoids rutin and quercitin, phytonutrients, and vitamin C-based immune support. A powerful food with potassium in it too.
- 346 mg of potassium per cooked cup (180 g)
Yellow varieties of squash include manganese, folate, magnesium, fiber, vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and riboflavin along with potassium. Its nutrients lead to its association with cancer prevention, a lowered risk of heart disease, and asthma improvement.
Here are more plant-based options for potassium after you’ve sampled each of the vegetables above. Fruits can be big in potassium too!
- 1,511 mg of potassium per cup of dried halves (130 g)
Dried apricots are a great food for long-term storage and for including with other dried fruits in a trail mix, or eating as an independent snack. Along with their extremely high potassium content, these fruits also contain a good helping of vitamin A, vitamin E, and fiber.
- 1,474 mg of potassium per medium melon (552 g)
Another heavy-hitter in the potassium department, cantaloupes also offer phytonutrients, antioxidants, and electrolytes to their list of health benefits, along with folate, vitamin K, niacin, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
- 640 mg of potassium per large wedge (572 g)
A big, beautifully colored, hydrating fruit, watermelon also contains amounts of protein, fat, and fiber, as well as magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Its seeds are edible too, and contain small amounts of the semi-essential amino acid arginine. If you use the rind as a bowl or drum, the entire melon is useful to you!
- 600 mg of potassium per cup (240 ml)
Coconut water comes from pressing the liquid out of coconut flesh, and it contains electrolytes that help hydrate your body. With natural sugars, coconut water makes a wonderful natural alternative to commercially produced sports drinks, and provides a good source for calcium, sodium, magnesium, and manganese.
- 666 mg of potassium per fruit (282 g)
This visually striking multi-seed fruit is a deep reddish-purple color inside and out. Above and beyond its potassium content, the pomegranate also provides vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, folate, and protein (over 4 grams per fruit).
- 537 mg of potassium per sliced cup (150 g)
So close to the bottom of this list, this usurper of the potassium crown still belongs among potassium-rich foods you can eat to gain that essential mineral. Though modified through human endeavor to no longer contain large seeds, the banana is still an excellent source of nutritional content.
- 237 mg of potassium per fruit (131 g)
Famous for their vitamin C content, oranges are also a fair source of potassium. One cup of orange juice for instance has 11% of the recommended daily intake for potassium, as well as helpings of thiamine, folate, vitamin A, and important antioxidants. Regularly consuming orange juice correlates in studies to those less likely to be obese or have dangerous metabolic disorders. In fact, drinking orange juice that’s been fortified with vitamin D and calcium for bone health is an extra bonus, so long as you’re choosing products that guarantee 100% juice with no additives. Then you’ve got the best benefits of an orange in an easily drinkable form.
Other Potassium Foods
Neither fruits nor vegetables, here are some interesting outliers when it comes to providers of potassium. Check out just how many places this valuable mineral can be found!
- 240 mg of potassium per container (170 g) of nonfat Greek yogurt
With calcium and riboflavin too, nonfat Greek yogurt also contains a decent amount of potassium with every bite, and as a fermented food, it helps with maintaining beneficial gut bacteria as well. Buy plain and add your own fresh fruit additions or sweeteners later to ensure you’re not consuming unnecessary added sugars.
- 713 mg of potassium per cup of raw clams (227 g)
Who knew? These mollusks are a valuable source of selenium, iron, B12, and potassium, and as a seafood they’re also rich with protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Have a clambake, invite the family, and get some nutrients in everyone.
- 683 mg of potassium per small filet (187 g)
For any pescatarians out there, you probably already know that salmon is a high-quality protein, full of good omega-3 fats and many minerals, but did you know that potassium was among them? Not only is a diet of fatty fish associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, the potassium content adds an extra layer of heart-healthy protection.
Potassium on Your Plate
Choose from these high-potassium foods to make sure you’re getting enough potassium intake from your diet. Mix and match, blend together in smoothies, and please persuade anyone you meet who still thinks the banana is the big banana around here when it comes to potassium—it just isn’t so! Take that knowledge, and then take your pick of these potassium-rich choices.