Healthy Eating: What Foods Have More Potassium Than a Banana?

How Much Is In a Banana?

Bananas are the best known high potassium food.

This sweet, tropical treat provides a ton of potassium. And that's a good thing, because almost every body part needs it, from your heart and kidneys to your muscles and nerves. It even plays a role in basic cell function. But bananas aren't the only game in town. Lots of foods can provide your body with this essential mineral.

Lima Beans

Lima beans are great in a bean salad or as a side dish.

They're high in iron and fiber too, and low in sugar and fat. Try them warm as a side dish, or cool in a summer bean salad. Soak them overnight if you want to make them easier to digest. Or, for quicker results, boil them for just 2 minutes and then let them stand in the water for a couple of hours. Either way should make them less gassy.

Medium Potato

Potatoes are a good source of potassium and B vitamins.

They're also low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat and a good source of vitamins B1, B3, and B6. Of course, all that potassium won't matter if you heap on butter and sour cream. To keep your potatoes on the healthier side, try stuffing them with broccoli and light cheddar. Or look for low-fat sour cream or low-fat cottage cheese.

Prunes

Prunes are tasty when paired with cheese, nuts, or yogurt.

Prunes, which are dried plums, also have loads of fiber -- something your grandpa might have mentioned. They go great with nuts, cheese, or yogurt. They do have lots of sugar though -- about 30 grams per ½ cup. Makers often add extra sugar to dried fruits, so keep an eye on that if you want to limit calories. If you'd rather drink your prunes, try just 6 ounces of juice, which has almost as much potassium.

Avocado

Avocados serve up lots of potassium and fat-soluble vitamins A, C, and E.

Though they're more savory than sweet, they're actually fruits, not veggies. Even if you don't eat the whole thing, it should give you a good dose of potassium, along with vitamins A, C, and E. They're also full of healthy monounsaturated fats that might help lower cholesterol levels.

Watermelon

Hydrating watermelon serves up lots of potassium per serving.

There's nothing better in the middle of a hot summer day. This fruit is mostly water, so it helps keep you hydrated, and it's full of nutrients like lycopene that help fight inflammation when you exercise in the heat.

Sunflower Seeds

Use sunflower seeds as a potassium-rich salad topping.

You might have seen baseball players chewing them and spitting out the shells. But you can get them already shelled and avoid the mess. They're an easy snack when you're on the go. Or you can throw them on top of a salad for lunch for a boost of protein and B vitamins, too. Just make sure you get the unsalted ones.

Cooked Spinach

Spinach serves up potassium, magnesium, iron, and even vitamin C.

Popeye had it right. And not just because of the potassium. This leafy green also delivers magnesium, iron, fiber, and even vitamin C. On top of that, it's low in calories, sugar, and fat. You can sauté it with onions and garlic as a side dish or throw it in with some eggs for a colorful, healthful omelet.

Cooked Acorn Squash

Carotenoids in potassium-rich acorn squash gives it a bright orange color.

Like other winter squash, it's also rich in fiber, vitamins C and B6, and nutrients called carotenoids (they give it that yellowy-orange color). Cut it into chunks or halves, then bake it at 400 F for an hour.

Raisins

Raisins add a sweet kick to salads, desserts, and vegetables.

You can add them to salads, vegetable dishes, desserts, or just eat them as a snack. But be aware that there's a bunch of sugar in there too: about 58 grams of it per ½ cup. That's about 260 calories. You can also get about the same potassium kick from two cups of a raisin and bran flake cereal but­ with a lower sugar and calorie count. Or look for another enriched cereal that's also high in potassium.

Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes serve up potassium and lycopene.

You might see these in cans at the grocery store. You can use them to make a traditional marinara sauce for spaghetti, or a salsa for your tacos or enchiladas. You'll also get a healthy dose of lycopene to protect you from cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

Atlantic Salmon

Wild salmon has more potassium than farmed.

This is the stuff caught in the wild. Farmed fish has a bit less potassium. Grill it, broil it, or bake it for a perfect dinnertime protein, loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Take the chilled leftovers to the office and eat them cold on top of a simple lunchtime salad.

Orange Juice

Orange juice has lots of potassium, just get the sugar-free version.

Who doesn't love a glass of OJ? If you prefer to eat the fruit itself, 2 medium navel oranges should probably do the trick. That way, you get extra fiber from the pulp, which is good for your digestion. Either way, you'll get plenty of vitamin C too.

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REFERENCES:

  • USDA: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release: “Basic Report: 09038, Avocados, raw, California,” “Basic Report: 09040, Bananas, raw,” “Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, raw.” “Basic Report: 11458, Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained without salt,” “Basic Report: 11483, Squash, winter, accord, cooked, baked, without salt,” “Basic Report: 15209, Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, cooked, dry heat.”
  • NIH Office of Dietary Supplements: “Potassium: Fact Sheet for Consumers,” “Potassium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.”
  • OSU Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: “Carotenoids,” “Potassium.”
  • What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl: “Cooked Beans,” “Marinated Three-Bean Salad.”
  • Joslin Diabetes Center: “Healthy Cooking Techniques and Diabetes,” “Let them eat potatoes.”
  • Cleveland Clinic: “Recipe: Low-Fat Broccoli and Cheese Baked Potatoes.”
  • California Dried Plums: “Snack.”
  • USDA Branded Food Products Database: “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45065813, Crushed Tomatoes, UPC: 085239220894,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45085316, Pitted Prunes, Dried Plums, UPC 011213019024,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45246070, Simply Orange, 100% Pure Orange Juice, Orange, UPC: 025000055430,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45281302, Navel Oranges, UPC: 688267000881,”“Full Report (All Nutrients): 45307750, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Raisin and Bran Flake Cereal, UPC: 038000596650,” “Full Report (All Nutrients): 45342968 Raisins, UPC: 046567023946.”
  • Harvard Health Publishing: “Egg White Omelet With Vegetables and Cheese,” “Salad greens: Getting the most bang for the bite,” “Vegetable of the month: Avocado.”
  • Nutrients: “Comparison of Watermelon and Carbohydrate Beverage on Exercise-Induced Alterations in Systemic Inflammation, Immune Dysfunction, and Plasma Antioxidant Capacity.”
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem: “The 5 Seeds of a Health Diet.”
  • Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source: “Winter Squash.”
  • Diabetes Forecast: “Sauteed Spinach and Garlic.”
  • SNAP Match Cambridge: “Fall Recipes, Tricks and Treats at the Harvard University Farmers’ Market.”
  • National Foundation for Cancer Research: “Tasty Tomatoes: Anti-Cancer Attributes & A Healthy Recipe.”
  • Seafood Health Facts: “Omega-3 Content of Frequently Consumed Seafood Products.”
  • Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter: “Oranges vs. Orange Juice: Which Is Better for You?”
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