When you’re looking for a potassium-rich food, you probably reach for a banana, but there are a lot of plant-based foods with more potassium than a banana.
WHY WE NEED POTASSIUM
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps us stay properly hydrated. It also controls blood pressure and protects heart, nerve and brain health.
One study found that postmenopausal women who eat a potassium-rich diet are less likely to suffer a stroke. Potassium is also one of the building blocks of strong bones, because it helps our bodies hold onto calcium.
TOO MUCH POTASSIUM
There is such a thing as too much potassium, though it’s very difficult to eat too much potassium in foods. Instead you should be wary of potassium supplements that make it easy to overdo it. There are also some drugs, like blood pressure medication, that cause potassium to accumulate in your body, because they make it harder for your kidneys to filter it out.
If your body accumulates too much potassium, you put yourself at risk for a condition called hyperkalemia, where you’ll experience weakness and an irregular or slow heart rate. If you have symptoms of hyperkalemia, talk to a doctor, because they can be life-threatening.
For most people, though, too much potassium isn’t an issue. If you want to make sure you’re getting enough of this mineral, try these foods with more potassium than a banana!
FOODS WITH MORE POTASSIUM THAN A BANANA
To find foods that have more potassium than a banana, I looked at average serving sizes. Comparing cup-to-cup doesn’t make sense here, because some foods, like nuts and seeds, may have more potassium per cup than a banana, but a cup is an overblown serving size. Peanuts, for example, have 27 percent of your daily potassium in a cup, but you wouldn’t eat a cup of peanuts in one sitting or even in one typical day.
One medium banana gives you 12 percent of your daily potassium. Each of the foods below have more potassium per serving than that medium banana:
1. Baked Potato – 26%
A medium skin-on baked potato gives you 26 percent of your daily potassium requirements. That’s more than twice what you get from a medium banana.
2. Sweet Potato – 15%
One medium baked sweet potato with the skin on has 25 percent more potassium than a medium banana.
3. Beet Greens – 19%
Have you ever had beet greens? They taste a lot like Swiss chard, and they’re rich in calcium. Just one half cup of cooked beet greens gives you 19 percent of your potassium for the day.
4. Swiss Chard – 14%
Speaking of Swiss chard—its potassium content is nothing to sneeze at. A half cup of this leafy green gives you more potassium than a banana, and has only 18 calories.
5. White Beans – 34%
A cup of white beans has a whopping 34 percent of your daily potassium—that’s almost three times as much as a banana!
6. Black Beans – 17%
Other beans are high in potassium, too. A cup of black beans gives you five percent more potassium per serving than a banana does.
7. Pinto Beans – 17%
Pinto beans have exactly as much potassium as black beans at 17 percent per cup.
8. Coconut Water – 17%
Its potassium content is one of the reasons that some people drink coconut water after an intense workout. A cup of coconut water gives you a nice potassium boost.
9. Cantaloupe – 14%
You might think of cantaloupe as the filler in an otherwise good fruit salad, but if you’re looking for potassium-rich foods, this melon should be on your list, with 14 percent of your daily potassium in a cup!
10. Lima Beans – 28%
A cup of cooked lima beans gives you over one fourth of your potassium for the day. Pass the succotash!
11. Corn – 14%
The corn in that bowl of succotash is no slouch when it comes to potassium, either. It gives you 14 percent of your daily needs per cup.
12. Kidney Beans – 20%
Kidney beans are packed with potassium, clocking in at one fifth of your daily requirement in a one-cup serving.