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Nutrition

Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

8 Foods with More Potassium Than Bananas

Potassium play an important role in your body's functions, so why not make sure you're getting enough of it. When you think potassium, you may think the best choice is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Well, we're actually bananas for these 8 foods that contain more potassium than bananas do!

8 Foods with More Potassium Than Bananas


The Role of Potassium

Potassium is an extremely important mineral and electrolyte. Potassium works with sodium, another critical electrolyte, inside the body's cells to create nerve impulses, muscle contractions, and heart function. Fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, and intestinal and muscular paralysis (the loss of movement and feeling) can result when potassium levels are abnormal. Additionally, abnormal heart rhythms may arise and potentially be fatal.

Some research has shown maintaining or increasing potassium intake may even decrease the risk of certain chronic diseases. Research has shown stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones have been reduced as potassium intake rises. In some cases, high blood pressure (hypertension) has shown to lower with high dietary potassium compared to those with low potassium intakes.

Potassium Recommendations

In general, the adolescent and adult populations have been recommended to achieve 4,700 milligrams (mg) or 4.7 grams (g) per day, with lower amounts in childhood and infant stages. Additionally, pregnant women are suggested to keep intake at 4,700 mg yet during breastfeeding, increasing the need to 5,100 mg.

The use of potassium-wasting diuretics, alcoholism, severe vomiting or diarrhea, laxative abuse, depleted magnesium, and congestive heart failure may alter potassium needs. Consulting with a healthcare professional can further guide appropriate potassium intakes.

8 Foods with More Potassium than Bananas

One large raw banana contains about 800 mg of potassium. Compared to the general recommendation of 4,700 mg, that is almost a fifth of daily potassium needs. However, there are foods that contain exceedingly more potassium than what a banana can. Instead of achieving potassium needs by sitting down to five bananas, bite into these potassium-rich foods from highest to lowest!

1. Radishes

Radishes contain an extreme amount of potassium, if not the most. Just one cup of radishes contains over 4,000 mg, almost the general recommendation! Try radishes raw, cooked, or pickled.

2. Potatoes

These starchy crops are not only versatile, but loaded with potassium. Just one cup of potatoes roasted, mashed, or baked provides 3,700 mg. Keep the skins on for increased nutrient and fiber content. Try to stray away from fried potatoes, as they are filled with calories and oftentimes those "unhealthy" fats.

3. White Beans

One cup contains 3,600 mg of potassium. In general, beans are a generous source of potassium. To reduce the sodium content of canned beans, be sure to rinse before use.

4. Apricots

These vibrant tree fruits provide 2,200 mg of potassium per one cup of fresh apricots. If consuming dried apricots, reduce the serving size to a quarter or half cup related to their shrinkage. They are valuable sources of vitamin A and C as well as fiber.

5. Carrots

Not only can you maintain good eye sight with their intake, you'll also get ample amounts of potassium. One cup of carrots contains 1,880 mg of potassium. When paired with hummus or peanut butter, carrots are a healthy, sustaining snack.

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain almost 1,900 mg per one cup. Additionally, tomato products such as soups, sauces, and ketchups are excellent potassium sources. When choosing those products, it is important to remain aware of the sugar content and limit if possible.

7. Pistachios

Pistachios and other nuts and seeds are normally significant potassium sources. One cup of pistachios contains almost 1,300 mg while almonds contains 1,100 mg, about a quarter of the general recommendation.

8. Plantains

Despite the similar looks of plantains and bananas, they are considerably different when it comes to taste. In regards to potassium content, they are similar as one cup of plantains includes 860 mg, about 60 mg higher than a banana. Unlike bananas that are consumed raw, plantains need to be cooked before serving. The savory starch is a common staple in Caribbean countries yet has become more noticed in the American diet within the past few years.

Reference: Potassium. Linus Pauling Institute. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/potassium.

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