Potassium often gets overlooked when it comes to discussions about nutrients, but potassium is a vital mineral needed for a variety of functions throughout the body related to your heart, nervous system, and muscles. Because of this, incorporating potassium-rich foods into your diet is important.
Getting enough potassium in your diet may help lower blood pressure levels and decrease the risk of stroke, and your body needs enough potassium for fluid balance and proper functioning of cells and the nervous system, as well as healthy muscle contractions.
Potassium helps your muscles contract at a healthy rate, which is directly linked to heart functioning, and 80% of the body’s potassium is found in the skeletal muscle. When you don’t get enough potassium, you may experience muscle weakness or in more severe cases, potential heart issues due to a lack of muscle contractions.
How much potassium do you need per day?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set the daily value (DV) for potassium at 4,700 milligrams for adults and children over the age of 4 years.
Recently, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans named potassium as a nutrient of concern, which means the majority of Americans consume less than the recommended amount. Data shows that the average daily potassium intake of the U.S. population in 2017-2018 was 2,496 milligrams—a whopping 53% of the recommended daily value.
Potassium-rich foods include fruits and vegetables, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and protein foods such as poultry, some fish, and beans.
The best high potassium foods—listed from highest to lowest concentration per standard serving.
Most Americans get their potassium from fruits and vegetables, which accounts for 23% of their total intake, followed by grain-based dishes (15%) and then meats (10%), but there are so many excellent sources of this mineral.
For a healthy heart, nervous system, and muscles, try incorporating some of the following potassium-rich foods into your diet.
Potassium per 1/2 cup: 925 milligrams (19.7% DV)
Toss them in your pasta dish or place them atop your homemade pizza, because sundried tomatoes are packed full of potassium with almost 20% of your daily value in 1/2 cup.
Along with providing a hefty dose of potassium, sun-dried tomatoes also contain over 13% of your daily value of iron, as well as over 3 grams of protein and fiber.
Potassium per cup: 896 milligrams (19.1% DV)
Acorn squash is a winter squash rich in potassium, with 19% of your daily value. It also has a good amount of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and fiber, making it a super healthy vegetable for your favorite cozy winter dishes.