Potassium is a crucial mineral for the human body. It performs countless functions, including muscle regulation, fluid balance, and even nerve health. But sadly, around 98% of people in the US do not eat as much potassium as is recommended, which is between 3,500 and 4,700 mg daily.
Known also as hypokalemia, potassium deficiency occurs when the level of blood potassium sinks down to a tiny 3.5mmol/liter. This, thankfully, is rarely caused by too little potassium consumption.
Still, we’re not referring to hypokalemia today, as that is a serious medical emergency. Instead, we’re talking about low potassium consumption and how you can negate the symptoms you get from it. Here are some foods to eat if you have a potassium deficiency.
1. Potatoes (of all types)
Potatoes are versatile and can be made into any type of dish. The average medium one will hold 515 mg of potassium, and white potatoes are so nutritionally dense that they’re well worth eating. Do keep in mind, though, that a lot of potassium lies in their skin, not the flesh, so try to eat unpeeled potatoes or have potato skins now and then.
If you like them, sweet potatoes are even better! The average-sized one has 541 mg of potassium, and they’re full of protein, fiber, complex carbs, and enough vitamin A for four days. Some even have up to 900 mg of potassium!
Everyone immediately makes the link between potassium and bananas, and for good reason. The average banana holds an impressive 422 mg of potassium. Being a fruit, it’s full of great vitamins, too, and it’s filling thanks to its healthy carbohydrate content.
If you can stomach them, green bananas have the most benefits, as riper bananas will have more sugar content. Green bananas have lots of starch and are known for properties that boost gut health as well as maintain glucose levels in the blood.
Yogurt is one of the best dairy products to eat if you have a potassium deficiency. One standard cup of the stuff holds 579 mg of the mineral you need, and they’re great for overall gut health and weight management.
- There are other dairy products that work wonders, too.
- Whole milk has 300 mg per cup while nonfat milk has 400 mg per cup.
- If you do buy yogurt to help your lack of potassium, opt for plain varieties, not fruit-flavored ones, as those often have tons of sugar in them.
4. Dried Fruit
If you’re a fan of sweet but healthy snacks, dried fruit is a great way to get your potassium boost. Six dried apricots provide 488 mg of potassium, and a whole cup will get you 1,500 mg! They also have lots of vitamins and taste fantastic in a trail mix or with a milky breakfast.
- Prunes and raisins are also great. Half of cup of prunes, when stewed, nets you 400 mg of the mineral.
- Both these fruits – dried plums and dried grapes respectively – are also good for bone density and strength.
Not a fan of apricots, raisins, or prunes? Other dried fruits will have similar good results. You can try dried peaches or figs, but keep them unsweetened!
5. Anything and everything tomato
Tomatoes can be consumed as is or made into a juice, sauce, or paste and still be stuffed with potassium. In fact, tomato pastes and sauces have more potassium than tomatoes alone! Just three tablespoons of a tomato paste will have 486 mg.
Best of them all are sun-dried tomatoes, which have an impressive 1,800 mg of potassium in a single cup. They’re packed with protein, fiber, and vitamin C, and they’re great for the immune system and digestive system. Tomatoes in general also have compounds that have positive effects on inflammation and insulin resistance, and may even lower cancer risk!
Clams aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If they’re yours, great news – just 100 grams of the seafood contains 534 mg of potassium. They can fight inflammatory conditions and help overall health, and they taste delicious in chowder.
Plus, they have more vitamin B12 than any other food. They offer tons of nutrients, are packed with good fats and omega-3, and are an incredible protein source. So if you didn’t like clams before, it may be time to try again now – especially if you have a potassium deficiency.
Most lentils and beans are packed with potassium.
- The absolute best source is a hefty serving of white beans.
- Just one cup holds approximately 829 mg of the mineral.
- They’re full of fiber, iron, manganese, and other things that help keep the heart healthy.
- They’re a great way to get plant proteins, too, if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Don’t leave kidney beans out, though! They hold over 600 mg of potassium in a single cup, and they’re packed with fiber. Other beans you can consider are pinto beans and lima beans, which have impressive potassium content themselves.
8. Orange juice
You don’t need to drink a whole cup of orange juice to enjoy its benefits. Just take three-quarters of a glass and enjoy 355 mg of potassium. This juice is rich in B vitamins and provides good amounts of folate and calcium, too – so it’s a keeper!
There’s one downside, though – orange juice has lots of sugar in it. You can opt for the citrus fruit itself instead, of course, but they don’t contain nearly as much potassium. They’re good for vitamin C, of course!
9. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are rich in all sorts of vital components for health. The fact that most of them have tons of potassium makes it even better. A cup of boiled bok choy has 600 mg, a cup of cooked spinach has over 800 mg, and the most impressive Swiss chard provides a whopping 1,000 mg of potassium in just one cup of cooked veggie.
Leafy greens are known for their low-calorie content and high levels of nutrients, including minerals and vitamins of all sorts. They have fiber and antioxidants, too, which all make for a strong and healthy body.
Beets are sweet and delicious, and packed with potassium – 518 mg per cup of the boiled purple veggie, to be precise. They can balance blood pressure and boost heart health, too, and they are known to be great for better exercise performance. They’re a favorite food to eat if you have a potassium deficiency!
Plus, you shouldn’t toss out the green leaves from beets. They may be a little bitter, but even half a cup has loads of potassium: 644 mg of it!
11. Coconut Water
This drink is sweet and packed with electrolytes for energy, and it has very low sugar content. One cup of it has 600 mg of potassium, and it’s extra good for rehydration.
If you’re the kind of person who exercises a lot and needs a drink after, this is a great option for helping your potassium deficiency. Plus, it’s packed with minerals, including calcium and manganese!
These odd green fruits are pretty trendy now, and that’s all the better for those with potassium deficiency. Just half of one of these healthy fat-filled treats have 487 mg of this mineral in them, so eat a whole one and your consumption goes to over 900 mg! That’s pretty impressive.
- Avocados are rich in fiber, good fats, and antioxidants, which make them wonderful for keeping the heart healthy.
- They’re so good for you that regular consumption of the fruit is linked to healthier weight, BMI, and even bodily measurements.
- So if you’re looking for a great, filling food to add to your meal plan for better potassium without ruining your diet and your positive thinking, go for these.
No, we’re not talking about soy powder. We’re talking about unprocessed foods made from soy. From soybeans, you can garner almost 500 mg of potassium from a mere half cup. One cup of edamame, the delicious soy snack from Japan, has more potassium than a banana – 676 mg of it.
Plus, edamame is stuffed with folate; soy foods, in general, have lots of protein in them. They’re good for immunity and help the body rid itself of bad inflammation. Lightly steamed beans taste good, retain all their nutrients, and are very healthy!
Fatty fish are incredible for supplying potassium. Halibut has around 500 mg per serving, and so does tuna. Meanwhile, just half of a salmon fillet can provide you with 683 mg of the mineral you’re looking for.
Evidence shows that fatty fish is good for loads of things. They can lengthen how long you live, too, and they bring down the risk of developing and passing away from heart disease by a whopping 35%. That’s plenty of positive reasons to load up on fish!
Lots of squash is high in potassium. Winter squash has 448 mg of the mineral in just half a cup. Making spaghetti squash out of it will give you fewer than 50 calories in a single serving, alongside lots of fiber and vitamin A.
Butternut squash is sweet and delicious, and one cup provides around 583 mg of potassium, which is great for those with a deficiency in that mineral. It has loads of vitamins and other minerals, and it’s versatile enough to be cooked in countless ways.
Lastly, there’s acorn squash, which has 650 mg of potassium in a single cup. It’s so packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that it’s a shame not to incorporate it into your diet. Its fiber content is no joke, either, and it tastes delicious roasted.
Final Thoughts On Foods To Eat If You Have A Potassium Deficiency
A potassium deficiency can manifest in many ways. It can cause muscle pain, exhaustion, heart and digestive issues, loss of focus and positive thinking, and respiratory trouble in extreme conditions. That is why it is important that you meet the recommended potassium intake every day!
By opting for these 15 foods to eat if you have a potassium deficiency, you’ll be able to replenish the depleted potassium supply in your body quickly. Best of all, they taste so good that you won’t even notice how much potassium you’re consuming!