Most people’s knowledge of potassium doesn’t extend further than the fact that it’s found in bananas. And that’s kind of a problem, considering being deficient in potassium puts you at risk for a number of health issues, including heart disease.
Potassium regulates our blood pressure, heart beat, muscle contractions, and neurological function, in addition to strengthening our bones, working with sodium to regulate the balance of fluids in our cells, and dilating our blood vessels to lower blood pressure. We’re supposed to log 4,700 milligrams a day, but most Americans aren’t getting nearly enough.
Suddenly motivated to add more of this mineral to your diet? Know this: Bananas are hardly your only option. Here are nine (yes, nine!) foods that pack more potassium than a banana’s 450 milligrams.
1,600 milligrams per half a cup
In addition to being a great source of protein, fiber and antioxidants, these green legumes are also jam-packed with potassium. Snack on steamed edamame or sprinkle soybeans onto your next salad.
Related: Almost No One Gets Enough Potassium—And That’s A Big Problem
2. Kidney Beans
1,300 milligrams per half a cup
Kidney beans are another legume loaded with potassium. Plus, “aside from potassium, kidney beans are a powerhouse of nutrients like fiber, folate, iron, and manganese,” says Jeanette Kimszal, R.D.N. Beans are so versatile, so you can do anything from blend them into hummus, make a three-bean salad, or just add them into a veggie side dish.
3. Dried Apricots
1,101 milligrams per half a cup
In addition to their significant potassium punch (31 percent of your daily needs), a serving of dried apricots also provides 19 percent of your daily fiber needs, almost 50 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, and 14 percent of your daily vitamin E needs, says dietitian Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., author of The Easy 5 Ingredient Healthy Cookbook and The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. Did we mention you’ll also score almost 10 grams of iron?
Amidor likes to add dried apricots to trail mix or chop them up and add them to muffin batters or energy bites.
926 milligrams per medium potato
This versatile root vegetable is chock-full of potassium, along with a host of other vital nutrients, such as vitamin C (half your daily needs!), vitamin B6, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. Whether it’s morning hash browns or a baked potato with dinner, there are so many ways to enjoy spuds and up your potassium intake.
699 milligrams per half a cup
The thought of prunes might instantly transport you back to being forced to drink prune juice as a kid. And it’s true, prunes are famous for helping to ease constipation—but the fruit is good for far more than that. “Prunes are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral associated with a decreased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis,” says Amidor. Research published in the journal Nutrients even suggests that eating prunes supports bone health, especially in postmenopausal women. So go ahead, snack on a few prunes—or add them to your next batch of trail mix.
6. Beet Greens
654 milligrams per half a cup of cooked greens
Beet greens are a nutritional all-star. “In half a cup, you get a nice dose of potassium, as well as protein, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, zinc, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese,” says dietitian Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. Sauté up some greens for a side dish or use as a salad base.
558 milligrams per half a cup
Popeye taught you the importance of this iron-rich, muscle-loving nutrient, but spinach boasts many other benefits, too, including healthy skin, eyes, and blood pressure. In addition to potassium, spinach also contains fiber, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, says Kimszal. “It’s quite versatile and can be added to a variety of dishes, from morning eggs to dinnertime meatballs.”
512 milligrams per medium squash
Potassium aside, “this tasty squash provides an abundance of beneficial nutrients like fiber, B6, and more than half of your daily vitamin C needs,” says Kimszal. Try spiralizing zucchini into noodles for a healthy pasta substitute, baking it into breads, or tossing it in oil and spices and roasting it.
9. Acorn Squash
500 milligrams per half a cup of baked squash
Unlike some types of squash, you can eat the entire acorn squash, making it the perfect zero-waste food! Not only does acorn squash provide about 10 percent of your daily potassium needs, but it also offers other nutrients, like vitamin A. “You can roast acorn squash and eat the skin—and if you have the time, roast the seeds as well,” says Feller. Or, stuff a squash with legumes and non-starchy veggies and roast for an easy plant-based meal.
Pin this infographic and load up your cart with potassium-rich foods:
Diggin’ What’s Good? For more essential health facts, tips, and inspiration, join our Facebook communities, Eating Healthy and Staying Fit, today!