Cheap, plentiful and delicious, the banana is both a breakfast and midday snack favorite, but the fruit is especially known for being one of the best sources for one of potassium out there.
Because bananas are so popular and pretty much everyone eats them, it’s generally assumed that everyone is also getting enough potassium in their diet.
But that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth!
Believe it or not, Americans are woefully deficient in potassium.
The recommended intake for adults for potassium is 4,700 mg per day, but yet the average potassium intake for Americans is just 2,640 mg, a number that hasn’t changed since the 1990s.
Getting enough potassium is very important for bone, muscle, and heart health (high potassium intake means you have a 20% lower risk of dying from all causes especially heart disease). If you become too deficient in potassium (like its cousin, magnesium) you could actually be at risk for serious cardiac and other dangerous health-related episodes including strokes. To make matters more complicated, having too much potassium can also be a health hazard, leading to a condition called hyperkalemia.
With that in mind, it’s important to know that there are a wide range of foods that provide quality sources of potassium for the body, so your diet will become more balanced and you can make sure you’re getting a healthy amount of potassium each day.
Believe it or not, there are several foods that have more potassium than a banana to help you reach optimum health — and most of them are actually quite delicious as well.
Eight Foods That Trump Bananas
According to various measurements including college and clinical studies, a banana is not as high on the potassium scale as you might think!
A medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium, which is about 9 percent of your daily value. That’s 358 mg of potassium per 100 grams in total, which ranks 10th according to USDA data and even lower according to Italian produce rankings.
In short, you can do better!
In the spirit of diversity (and better health), here are 8 foods to add to your shopping list for more potassium.
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8. Mushrooms (white), 1 cup: 428 milligrams- With almost 40 mg more of potassium per 100 grams than bananas, you can’t go wrong with mushrooms. Just make sure you buy them organic because they soak up any toxic substances they may be grown in!
7. Sweet Potato, baked: 694 milligrams- Healthier than regular potatoes with less anti-nutrients and better for people with low potassium than a banana, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods in the world any way you look at it.
6. Spinach, cooked, 1 cup: 839 milligrams- Swiss chard actually has a little more but spinach is easier to find for most people. Lots of dark leafy greens contain a good amount of potassium but these are your best bets.
5. Potato large, baked, with skin: 926 milligrams- On this list of foods with more potassium than a banana, the humble potato stands out as one of the best (and it’s actually practical and delicious to eat), with 845 milligrams total potassium content.
Just make sure to buy organic: potatoes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops out there, and a lot of the best nutrition lies in the skin.
4. White beans, cooked, 1 cup: 1190 milligrams- Beans have even more potassium when raw but eating them that way is not smart! Cooked beans still have plenty, however. You can even try sprouting them to unlock more nutrients.
3. Avocado, 1 medium: 1,204 milligrams- Avocados are not only a good source of healthy fats but they also have considerably more potassium than a banana. Sounds like a certified superfood to me don’t you think?
2. Beet greens, cooked, 1 cup: 1300 milligrams- A lot of the most nutritious foods on the planet are overlooked parts of the veggies we eat every day, like celery, broccoli and beet greens! Even a tiny portion of these has tons of potassium.
1. Dried Apricots, 1 cup: 1510 milligrams- If you’re someone who needs to keep their potassium levels high, especially as recommended by a doctor, you can’t go wrong by having plenty of these on hand!
Just be aware that dried fruit is high in sugar, and to drink plenty of pure water to compensate for the hydration you’ll be missing out on. Enjoy!
USDA Database: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
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