This Surprising Vegetable Has More Potassium Than a Banana

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October 4, 2022
bowl of roasted potatoes
Courtesy of Clark Douglas on Unsplash

The banana may get all of the credit when it comes to being a potassium-rich food, but truthfully, there is an underdog that is generally unrecognized for its potassium benefits — even though it takes up a majority of the produce aisle at your grocery store. The underdog? It’s the humble potato!

That’s right — potatoes offer over double the amount of potassium compared to a banana. According to the USDA, a medium-sized potato provides 897 milligrams of potassium, which is over double the 422 milligrams that come from a medium-sized banana. With 897 milligrams, the potato provides 19% of your daily value (DV) in potassium, working as an electrolyte in your body to keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly, and keeping your heart healthy.

“Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable, providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber while fueling our brain and muscles,” says Chef RJ Harvey, RD and Director of Culinary at Potatoes USA. “Potatoes are also naturally fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free, plus they are a delicious way to work towards the recommended two-to-three servings of vegetables a day.”

Along with potassium, a medium-sized potato provides 70% DV of vitamin C, and 30% DV of vitamin B6 — both still exceeding the banana. The potato even provides almost 5 grams of dietary fiber and just over 4 grams of protein.

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Why we need more potassium in our diets

Along with being a mineral that helps your body to properly function, Chef Harvey points out that eating a diet rich in potassium and low in sodium can actually reduce your risk of hypertension and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states hypertension puts you at high risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

“The good news for potato fans is that a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adding 1,600 milligrams of potassium a day can lower stroke risk by 21%,” he says. “Research also suggests potassium can counteract some of the poor health effects of sodium on blood pressure. Reducing sodium along with increasing potassium provides greater heart disease protection than intervention alone.”

Eating potatoes can easily help you reach your potassium intake goals. “In fact, skin-on potatoes rank highest for potassium content among the top 20 top-selling fruits and vegetables.”

What about sweet potatoes? While sweet potatoes don’t have as much potassium as the hearty potato, the USDA says one cup of cubed sweet potato does provide you with 448 milligrams of potassium (still more than a banana!) while also packing in a ton of vitamin A.

Clever ways to cook up potatoes

While you can easily roast potatoes for a tasty side with any meal, Chef Harvey points out a few of his favorite ways to enjoy potatoes during the fall season that are packed with flavor.

  • Turkey & Tater Trot Salad: “Vibrant spinach, roasted potatoes, grilled turkey, almonds, cranberries, and oranges make this salad a fall treat. Enjoy the flavors of harvest while they last.”
  • Fall Harvest Mashed Potatoes: “Creamy yellow mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and butternut squash, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with chives.”
  • Thanksgiving Potato Chowder: “Tender potatoes, juicy turkey breast, corn, fall herbs, and aromatic vegetables, slowly simmered in a fragrant broth made from turkey stock and cream.”

For even more inspiring and tasty potato goodness, follow Potatoes USA over on Instagram!

Read next: 3 Ways Make Potatoes Delicious (Without Adding a Ton of Cream)

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