10 Foods Higher in Potassium Than a Banana
Potassium is an important mineral for your body.
It helps in the distribution of nutrients to your cells, maintains balanced blood pressure, and enhances proper muscle as well as nerve functioning.
What’s fascinating is that potassium plays a key role in every single heartbeat.
One hundred thousand times every day, it assists in triggering your heart to squeeze blood throughout your entire body. Asides from this it also helps your kidneys in the filtering of blood.
In order to keep your body in its healthy state the recommended intake of potassium is 4700 mg, however, a lot of people do not get enough of it due to their diets.
Hence, most people (including you and I) have had to turn to bananas which typically contain 422 mg of potassium, just to get the necessary amount of potassium our body needs.
However, even though bananas are high in potassium there are other sources of high potassium that we often neglect.
Let’s be real though, your default mindset is to grab a banana whenever you feel you’re down on your required potassium intake.
As a matter of fact, right now you could be having a hard time trying to think of other potassium sources in your kitchen cabinet.
After going through this article, you’ll be able to find a potassium alternative to bananas at the snap of your fingers, as there are numerous veggies and fruits that provide your body with more than the 9% bananas offer your system.
Before we have a look at 10 of them let’s see what benefits potassium provides your body with in the first place.
BENEFITS OF POTASSIUM
Potassium is among the seven vital macro minerals and your body requires 100 milligrams of potassium daily in order for it to keep certain key processes functioning.
However, a recent health survey reported that less than 2% of people in the United States measure up to the daily required potassium at 4700 mg.
What’s more, women were even found to consume less intake of potassium than men.
Now it’s important to state that there are numerous potassium supplements available but it is best practice to get your mineral or vitamins through natural foods.
Why? Well, natural foods contain a combined working effort of a variety of nutrients and not just one. Even though potassium is great, your body can’t survive on that alone.
So before we dive into the various foods that will give your body a higher percentage of potassium more than bananas let’s see some of the benefits of potassium and why your body needs it.
Potassium offers immense health benefits to your body system.
Potassium is an electrolyte that resists and reverses the effects of sodium, which will help your body to maintain constant blood pressure; this is why low potassium levels are dangerous to your health.
Furthermore, potassium is vital to maintaining a base and acid balance in your body. A base is an in-dissolved alkali.
Prevents high-blood pressure and maintains cardiovascular health.
Low potassium intake has been linked repeatedly with cardiovascular challenges and high-blood pressure.
This is why maintenance of low sodium intake, as well as the required daily intake of potassium, is vital for your health.
To reduce the risk of cardiovascular health challenges, all you need is an increase in your daily intake of potassium alongside a decrease in your sodium intake.
In a particular study carried out, it was found that people who had a 4,069 mg intake of potassium daily had a 49% less chance of dying from ischemic heart diseases in comparison to those whose daily intake was just 1000 mg daily.
Potassium keeps your body’s alkaline environment balanced.
Foods rich in potassium maintain your body’s alkaline environment, as opposed to foods which trigger metabolic acidosis.
Foods which trigger metabolic acidosis include processed cereal grains, meat, and dairy products.
This is necessary because acidosis causes a reduction of bone mineral density as well as muscle wasting. A potassium-rich diet can assist preserve your muscle mass, especially if you’re a senior.
A survey done showed how participants with a 5266 mg intake of potassium daily had 3.6 pounds more of lean tissue mass in comparison with people who had a potassium intake which was 50% lower.
Now let’s have a look at:
THE 10 ALTERNATIVE FOODS FOR POTASSIUM
Avocados have become very popular. According to recent studies carried out by the United Nations FAO, there was a global production of 5.46 million tons of avocado in 2016, which was a 28% rise from five years before that.
What’s more, global production is predicted to hit 6.42 million tons at the end of 2019.
The United States hasn’t been excused from the avocado hype as the nation experienced a double increase in per-capita consumption from 2006 to 2015.
This trend is for a good reason. Stuffed with nutritious fats, avocados provide a great source of folate and vitamin K.
When you cut an avocado in half, one half of it contains 10% of your adequate or 487 mg of potassium.
Furthermore, when you eat a whole avocado you satisfy 20% of the recommended potassium daily requirement at a go.
Asides from this, if you have high blood pressure, and have been advised to reduce sodium intake and increase your potassium, avocado is an excellent choice.
Its sodium content is very low providing only 0.5% of your required sodium intake.
2. Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and have become quite popular as avocados and are a great alternative to potatoes.
As seen in the chart below they surpass rice and even whole grains in fulfilling the required quota of potassium needed by your body.
One average sized sweet potato provides you with 541 mg and which is over 11% of your required potassium intake.
Additionally, these root vegetables are low in fat and have a sizable quantity of protein alongside fiber and complex carbohydrates.
To have a balanced diet with the recommended potassium intake, just pair sweet potatoes with dark greens, meat or beans.
Now concerning potatoes, they are one of the best, if not the best dietary sources of potassium. A recent study stated how a small baked potato gives the body 738 mg of potassium which is about 16% of the adequate intake.
However, keep in mind that there are so many varieties of potatoes in existence, so the potassium content largely depends on the soil they grow in.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you how nutritious spinach was and forced you to eat it when you just wanted that candy bar for dinner?
I certainly do.
It was for a good cause.
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-packed vegetables you can get. A single 156 grams cup of spinach possesses 12% of your required potassium intake or 540 mg.
What’s more, this same serving size provides your body with 725% of the required daily intake of vitamin K, 29% of magnesium, 57% of folate and 366% of vitamin A.
You might want to go for raw spinach instead of frozen spinach, as just 100 grams of raw spinach provides the expected 12% RDI.
It’s important to note that it may look a bit bigger than frozen spinach but it’s actually less in grams, so do not increase it thinking it’s little.
This is important because of the health challenges excess potassium intake can cause. When you take more than the recommended 4700 mg, if your kidneys are completely functional, it can get rid of your body’s excess potassium amount by passing it out through urine.
However, excess potassium consumption could be harmful to you if your kidney isn’t fully functional as it is responsible for hyperkalemia.
This is a condition where your kidneys won’t be able to get rid of the necessary amount of potassium needed to be removed from the body.
Hyperkalemia can be very dangerous if it isn’t tackled on time.
Even though most times it is a symptomless condition, when symptoms are present they range from heart palpitations, chest pain to shortness of breath.
To prevent this ensure you gauge your raw spinach daily intake, by monitoring your potassium level to make sure it isn’t high.
So what’s a high potassium level? Anything from 5.1 to 6.0 mmol/L is high and needs immediate control and monitoring.
If your potassium level gets above 6.0mmol/L there’s cause for alarm and it must be reduced urgently.
Besides the risk associated with excess intake in comparison to bananas, spinach offers your body more potassium per serving, so it’s a great alternative to bananas.
Just ensure you stick to your body’s required daily intake.
Recent findings have shown that the recommended intake of potassium lowers the risk of total mortality by 20%. It also lowers blood pressure, prevents muscle mass loss, restricts kidney stone formation and reduces the risk of stroke.
This is why getting the best sources for potassium is necessary, and one of such sources is watermelons.
When you consume just two wedges of watermelon your body receives 640 mg of potassium which is over 13% of your adequate intake.
What’s more, the nutritious contents of the same serving size of a watermelon include 44 grams of carbs, 0.8 grams of fat, and 3.4 grams of protein as well as 2.2 grams of fiber.
It also provides a great source of magnesium as well as vitamin C and A.
5. Coconut Water
Coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating drink. Not just does it make you feel like you’re relaxing on a beach in Hawaii, it’s a powerful alternative to energy drinks.
Due to its natural sugars, when you exercise it provides your body with energy during the exercise process and restores lost glycogen stores as well after you’re done exercising.
Why is this important? Well, potassium is used up when you engage in rigorous physical activity as it is excreted through sweat and this requires it to be replaced when you are done.
When you rigorously workout for two hours or more you lose between 300 to 800 mg of potassium, according to research carried out by USA Today. This can easily be replaced by one and a half cup of coconut water.
A single 240 ml cup of coconut water gives your body 13% of the adequate intake which is 600 mg. Additionally, it’s a great source of sodium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.
6. White and Black Beans
Let’s start with white beans. White beans refer to lima beans, navy beans or cannellini.
Even though bananas are known for their great potassium content, a single cup of white beans contains double the potassium quantity of one banana.
With one cup of white beans providing your body with 828 mg of potassium, this totals to 18% of your adequate intake.
Surprisingly, the best potassium source you can get is white beans, as a single cup fulfills 1/4 of your daily recommended intake.
Additionally, the same serving size gives your body between 28-61% of your required daily intake for the various vitamins B.
What’s more, they are an excellent source for plant-based protein and iron.
White beans can also be very satisfying as 1 cup contains 19g of fiber.
Black beans, on the other hand, have less potassium than white beans, but they are still a powerful source of potassium for your body. 172 grams of black beans provides your body with 611 mg which is 13% of your adequate intake.
Also known as turtle beans, they contain phytates which lower your body’s capacity to absorb minerals, hence, it restricts the amount of potassium that can be put to use, despite the intake.
Its best practice in use is to soak black beans overnight in order to reduce its phytates content.
You can use them to make burritos or soups.
Black beans are also a great source of dietary fiber and vegetarian protein, alongside a huge list of various other health boosters, such as iron prosperous, magnesium, calcium, copper, antioxidants, zinc, and manganese.
These are traditionally eaten in Japan. They are immature soybeans and also have more potassium in a single cup than a whole banana just like white beans.
As a matter of fact, one cup offers 676 mg which is more than 14% of your adequate intake. Amongst numerous other nutrients, they also possess per cup 121% of the required daily intake for folate.
Edamame beans are certainly one of the proven best plant-based protein sources globally because they possess every necessary micronutrient that our bodies need for muscle growth.
You can prepare them in different ways — but they taste really good, roasted with a dash of salt.
Asides from this they are an excellent source for magnesium. Vitamin K, and manganese.
8. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is gotten from peeled and deseeded cookies tomatoes. It adds great flavor to all tomato-based dishes and sauces.
Asides from this they are also an excellent source of potassium. Just three tablespoons of tomato paste contain 10% of the adequate intake. Tomato paste also contains lycopene which is a plant compound and vitamin C.
However, when picking out tomato paste, ensure you avoid ones that have added sugars, preservatives or additives. The best ones are ones with limited ingredients, which keep it closest to its natural form.
As seen in the chart under sweet potatoes above pasta doesn’t have much potassium to offer your body compared to tomato paste, so one of the best ways to increase your potassium intake when you have a pasta craving is to dd tomato sauce on it.
If you’re a pizza lover then you should request for extra tomato sauce on your pizza as well.
These make for a great alternative to bananas for those who love tomato based dishes.
9. Butternut Squash
Technically termed a fruit, Butternut Squash is prepared like you would a root vegetable. Known for its sweet taste, one cup of this winter squash can provide your body with 582 mg of potassium.
582 mg of potassium is more than 12% of your adequate intake, which makes it a powerful source for potassium. It is also a fantastic vitamin C and A source and possesses tiny amounts of vitamins B and vitamin R as well as magnesium.
You can prepare this fruit in a number of ways; steamed, roasted, diced into soups, or boiled. Whatever method you use in preparing it, you can be assured it is a great way to achieve your potassium required daily intake.
10. Beets or Beetroot
Beets are veggies, usually deep-purple in color, and can be added to salads, picked or boiled when preparing for consumption.
If you’ve been searching for a liquid alternative to bananas to fulfill your RDI of potassium, beetroot is an excellent choice.
170 grams or a single cup of boiled beets can provide you with 518 mg of potassium which gives you 11% of your adequate intake.
Also if your purpose for seeking an increase in potassium is due to high blood pressure, beets are the best option.
This deep-purple root veggie contains certain nitrates that after their conversion to nitric oxide have been seen to improve the overall health of the heart and support blood vessel function.
What’s more, they are a great source of folate which provides 34% of the required daily intake in 170 grams serving.
WHY IS POTASSIUM NECESSARY FOR YOUR BODY?
Potassium is such an important necessity for your body and you literally can’t do without it. Every vital organ of your body works with potassium in one way or another.
Take for example your blood pressure. Potassium helps this aspect of your body function by assisting your kidneys to eliminate excess sodium by ejecting it out through urine.
This is an important thing because excess sodium is responsible for causing high blood pressure.
Secondly, potassium is responsible for your blood vessels walls tightening or loosing up.
In circumstances when they are too rigid or tensed up, it can cause your blood pressure to rise which leads to adverse health challenges such as heart-related illnesses.
Asides from blood-related functions, potassium is necessary for proper muscle health, in order for proper contraction and flexing. Additionally, your nerves require potassium equally for adequate working.
These are just some of the many reasons why you must take your potassium intake serious, as we’ve seen above that less than 2% of Americans meet up to the required daily intake, it’s necessary that you ensure you are a part of the 2% to avoid the risks associated with potassium deficiency.
Hence, it’s very clear that every aspect or part of your body has something to do with potassium so it’s dangerous to ignore proper intake of this macronutrient.
Even though bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, there are numerous other healthy foods like Edamame and coconut water that give your body more potassium with each serving.
Some other foods like a cup of white beans even offer your body double the size of potassium than a medium-sized banana does.
A good trick in ensuring your diet is potassium heavy is adding a lot of plant-based foods to your diet, especially root vegetables.
Stay away from whole grains or rice except it’s mixed with a high potassium veggie, if you’re aiming to increase your potassium level.
A good example of a mixture is pasta and tomato sauce, you can still enjoy your grains with adequate potassium presence in your meals. Plain grains are just too low to satisfy your required intake.
Regardless of which of the 10 foods you like the most ensure that you eat them in moderation, as high potassium levels as we’ve seen already are a major cause of certain health deficiencies.
To ensure this, make sure that you stick to the recommended daily intake of 4700 mg to ensure that your potassium daily consumption is kept in the safe-zone.
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