By Beth Lipton
When we say potassium, you probably think bananas. And yes, bananas are a great source of potassium — but they’re not the only one. And, there are only so many bananas a person can eat. So here are some other high potassium foods you might not know about.
But, first: Why should you care about potassium? This essential mineral and electrolyte is critical for muscle function, and it also helps maintain fluid balance and a stable blood pressure. Most people don’t get enough potassium, in which case you might experience muscle cramps or an irregular heartbeat. On the other hand, it’s possible (though uncommon) for your potassium levels to be too high. This is known as hyperkalemia and can damage your heart, or even cause a heart attack.
For reference, the Adequate Intake (AI) is 2600 mg for adult females and 3400 for adult males — and one medium banana contains about 422 mg.
1. Beet greens
If you buy beets with their leaves, don’t toss those greens! Not only is that a waste of food (and your precious grocery dollars), you’d also be losing out on a really delicious way to get a whole lot of potassium — along with fiber, vitamins A, C and K, iron and calcium. The easiest way to cook these greens? Saute them.
Turns out that elementary-school lunchbox staple is also a high-potassium food. A little goes a long way; a half cup delivers 618 mg, not to mention magnesium, iron and fiber. What better reason to add a few handfuls to your next batch of homemade granola?
3. Sweet potatoes (with skin)
Do you need an excuse to eat a sweet potato? We don’t. But here it is, just in case: A large baked sweet potato with skin has nearly double the potassium of a banana. Try one of these sweet potato breakfast ideas — one sweet, one savory.
Dried apricots are readily available year-round and they have, wait for it, nearly 1/4 of your daily potassium needs in just a half cup. Looking for a healthy afternoon snack? Problem solved.
OK, avocados, now you’re just showing off. These incredibly healthy and delicious fruits are loaded with so much good nutrition, including 708 mg of potassium per cup. As if you needed another excuse to make yourself avocado toast.
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