Potassium plays an important role in the overall health of the human body. It's a mineral and an electrolyte that affects the functions of cells and organs, in particular the heart. The tissues in your body need potassium, as well. For example, potassium helps your muscles function normally. Potassium is found in many foods ranging from produce to dairy and even meats and some fish.
How much potassium do I need?
According to the Colorado State University Extension, "Most Americans do not get enough potassium in their diets. The recommended daily potassium intake is 4.7 grams." This is an average recommendation. Individuals may require more or less, depending on their activity level and overall health. Consult with your physician to determine the amount of potassium you may need daily to maintain optimum health.
When increasing the potassium in your diet, consider several foods that are high in potassium. All nutrient levels are provided via the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrient database.
Whether enjoyed dried or raw, this little fruit gem packs a punch with its high levels of potassium. One cup of dried apricots contains 1,511 milligrams of potassium. Dice the dried apricots and toss them over a salad or mix them into yogurt. They also taste great mixed into a low-fat chicken salad sandwich. One cup of sliced raw apricots has 427 milligrams of potassium.
Bananas are easy to toss into a lunch bag, purse or backpack and contain many essential nutrients. One large banana contains 487 milligrams of potassium. One cup of dehydrated bananas has significantly more-1,491 milligrams. When choosing dehydrated bananas, be sure to read the ingredient list so you know exactly how the bananas have been prepared.
One cup of cooked lima beans contains 955 milligrams of potassium. Add lima beans to soups, stews and casseroles, or serve them as a tasty side dish.
Cantaloupe is a refreshing treat on a warm summer day-sweet, juicy and packed with nutrients. One cup of cubed cantaloupe gives you 427 milligrams of potassium as well as 1.4 grams of dietary fiber and 14 milligrams of calcium. One large cantaloupe (if you eat the entire melon without sharing) has more than 2,000 milligrams of potassium!
Oranges and orange juice
Oranges and orange juice are popular sources of vitamin C, but these citrus treats also contain significant quantities of potassium. One large orange has 333 milligrams of potassium and one cup of fresh orange juice has 496 milligrams.
Delicious as a side dish with grilled meat or as an entree on its own, the baked potato is a versatile food to prepare and one that is bursting with potassium. One large baked Russet potato (with the skin on) has 1,644 milligrams of potassium.
Other foods high in potassium include: