Seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables and fruits, such as avocado, banana, and spinach, are the richest foods in potassium. They even have higher amounts of potassium than animal-derived foods!
How much potassium do we need daily?
The recommended daily dose of potassium for men and women is 3,400 mg and 2,600 mg, respectively.
On the other hand, there hasn’t been established a maximum safe dose of potassium for healthy people. Potassium is easily excreted by the kidneys. So, the human body doesn’t store high amounts.
Although, there are many foods containing high amounts of potassium, most people who follow a standard Western diet fail to meet their daily needs. That’s why the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identifies potassium as a “nutrient of public health concern”.
Studies have shown, that only 10% of men and less than 1% of women consume the recommended daily intake of potassium.
Foods high in potassium
We should eat plenty of foods high in potassium every day. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts are the best dietary sources of potassium.
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Hemp seeds are the richest food in potassium, containing 1,200 mg of potassium per 100g!
Banana is also particularly high in potassium. Banana is the main source of potassium for people who don’t eat many fruits or vegetables.
- all nuts & seeds are high in potassium. Pistachios, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cacao seeds (chocolate) are also excellent sources of potassium. Pistachios are the richest nuts in potassium. Furthermore, pistachios have unique compounds that help you lose belly fat.
- fruits, such as prunes, apricots, bananas, papaya, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, and apples are rich in potassium. Raisins are the richest fruit in potassium, though!
- beans & legumes are nutrient-dense foods, containing high amounts of potassium.
- beverages, such as coffee (116 mg per cup) and tea (88 mg per cup) also contain potassium. Avoid drinking too many cups of coffee a day. In a case study, scientists found that drinking more than 10 cups of coffee a day may cause hypokalemia, due to the diuretic action of caffeine. Hypokalemia is a dangerous condition in which the level of potassium in the blood gets too low.
Animal-derived foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk, contain moderate amounts of potassium.
Health benefits of potassium
Eating foods high in potassium is vital for good health, as it’s present in all body tissues, and it’s required for normal cell function. Adequate amounts of potassium may help:
- decrease blood pressure
- reduce the risk of kidney stones
- make bones stronger
- reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistant, and high glucose levels
Is potassium beneficial for weight loss?
Studies have shown that high levels of potassium support weight loss. Scientists found that eating foods high in potassium has been linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), smaller waist circumference, and a lower risk of obesity.
But, why is the consumption of foods high in potassium beneficial for weight loss? It seems that potassium might:
- improve insulin sensitivity
- help reduce inflammation
- improve the metabolism of fat
Moreover, potassium is important for muscle growth. Increased muscle mass improves basal metabolism and burns belly fat.
The best way to stay lean, as we get older, is by exercising, consuming adequate amounts of protein, and other compounds, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium!