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High Potassium Foods - What They Are & Why You Should Eat Them

Updated on March 8, 2011

Why Eat Potassium-Rich Foods?

Potassium is a mineral key to the efficient working of the human body. It is vital to neuron function in your brain and nerves, aiding in your body's communication with itself. It is also necessary for muscle contraction, and in balancing electrolytes and avoiding dehydration. For these reasons, it's especially important for athletes and those with active lifestyles, but even the average couch potato can benefit from a diet high in potassium.

In 2004, the Institute of Medicine recommended an intake of 4000 milligrams of potassium per day, but the average American eats less than half of that on a daily basis. A low-protein diet can result in muscle weakness, slowed digestion, and weaker reflexes. While severe protein deficiency is rare, it is very serious when it happens, manifesting in labored breathing and irregular heartbeat.

Most people would benefit from an increased intake of potassium, but there are exceptions. Since the kidneys control the excretion of potassium, people suffering from kidney diseases must observe a low-postassium diet for health reasons. For these individuals, potassium buildup in the blood of these individuals can prove fatal.

Canteloupe
Canteloupe
Bananas
Bananas

Foods High in Potassium

While meat and fish and most fruits and vegetables contain potassium, some sources are better than others. A list of high potassium foods is as follows:

Fruit

  • Papaya
  • Prune
  • Honeydew melon
  • Canteloupe
  • Banana
  • Apricot
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Raisins
  • All dried fruit

 

Tomatoes
Tomatoes
Peanuts
Peanuts

Vegetables

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Winter squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Mushroom
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Artichoke
  • Beets
  • Carrots

Proteins

  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lentils
  • Soy
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Dark-meat poultry
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds

Note that different forms of these foods can be good sources of potassium as well: for example, orange juice, soy milk, and peanut butter. Of course, you want to eat the leanest, least-processed version of each high-potassium food that you can.

In the end, however, it's more important that you get your potassium than how you get it. And it's important that you get it from food, rather than supplements, which do not absorb as well as potassium from food sources does. For the sake of your heart health, for the sake of your muscles and cells and neurons, up your potassium. Your body will thank you.

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    • profile image

      Vu Le 

      6 years ago

      Woweekaboodles dude!

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 

      8 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      These ares some of my favorite foods! Peanut butter bananas are pretty good and you get two foods that are high in potassium at one time! :)

    • profile image

      JING 

      8 years ago

      HI MADDIE THANKS A LOT. YOU'RE SUCH A GREAT HELP! MORE POWER!

    • profile image

      Mamacita 

      9 years ago

      thanx dawg

    • profile image

      cvcvcvc 

      9 years ago

      thanks maddie

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 

      10 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I did not realize how important potassium was to my diet. Thank you.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      10 years ago from The Ozarks

      Does potassium have a bitter aftertaste? My chimpanzee Bow will not take antibiotics that are mixed with potassium. When he had strep throat, I had to tell the pharmacy to make sure that they used a sugary flavoring and no potassium, otherwise he wouldn't swallow it.

       

    • profile image

      Dr. R. 

      10 years ago

      Bananas are the obvious choice, but you give such a great example of so many other foods. Great hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Anyone who takes medication for high blood pressure should be aware that you can become dangerously low on potassium. Several years ago my postassium level wasn't being checked and I ended up having a heart attack. Now I make sure I get plenty of potassium in my diet. Very worthwhile hub!

    • ABCA profile image

      ABCA 

      10 years ago from Mansfield

      Thanks Maddie, I also was under the impression bananas were mainly it.

    • profile image

      Rick49 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for all the information on the list Maddie. I should have thought of Spinach. I love it.

    • Jean's Corner profile image

      Jean's Corner 

      10 years ago from Harrisburg North Carolina

      Thank you for this hub Maddie. My mother has had kidney surgery and will be coming to visit me next week. Whenever I ask her what foods she can eat, she basically says "nothing". She is on a very restricted diet and I am having a hard time trying to figure out what foods to get for her while she visits. Not much to choose from since the doctors have also told her to keep her protein to a minium as well. At least I know what not to buy. Thanks again Maddie, as always an excellent hub.

    • efeglo profile image

      efeglo 

      10 years ago from Nigeria

      I like fruit a lot, but the poor thing is that, its very cosly here in Nigeria. Nice one u have here baby. Please do get some for this beautiful baby ok.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      Endeavour to eat 5 vege ande three fruits per day.

      Most days i works well.

      according to your chart I am doing well. Must confess to about 7 mugs of coffee before four.

      I guess we can't not all be perfect.

      Tahnk you

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 

      10 years ago from Fremont CA

      I like potatoes and sweet potatoes, but I prefer light-colored meats (e.g. chicken) over dark meats.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      10 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Maddie: Thanks for the great hub! Most people know only about banannas. It was great to see the list of such a variety of foods high in potassium. I thank you...my mother thanks you.

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