Potassium is an essential mineral that the body requires for a variety of processes. Since the body can’t produce potassium, it has to come from food.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t get enough potassium from their diets.
A national survey found that only 3% of Americans meet the recommendation for potassium intake. This is largely due to a lack of fruits and vegetables in the typical Western diet ().
In the US, the recommended daily intake (RDI) for potassium is 4,700 mg. This level is higher than those set by most other countries but has proven to be beneficial ().
Getting enough potassium is essential for bone and heart health. It is especially important for people with high blood pressure and may decrease heart disease and stroke risk ().
This article lists 14 of the foods highest in potassium.
Beans and lentils are both good sources of potassium.
White beans are one of the best, containing 829 mg of potassium in one cup (179 grams), or 18% of the RDI ().
White beans contain good amounts of thiamine, folate, iron, magnesium and manganese, too.
Additionally, one cup (179 grams) of white beans provides 18.6 grams of fiber, which is almost 75% of the RDI. They are also an excellent source of plant-based protein ().
The high fiber and antioxidant content of beans may help decrease inflammation, improve colon health and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes (, ).
What's more, a large review including nearly 250,000 people found that increasing potassium intake by 1,640 mg (about 35% of the RDI) per day decreased the risk of stroke by 21% ().
SummaryBeans and lentils are good sources of potassium, with one cup (179 grams) of white beans providing 18% of the RDI. They are also packed with fiber, protein and other vitamins and minerals.
White potatoes are not always considered the most nutrient-dense vegetables. However, they are one of the best food sources of potassium available.
A large baked potato (10.6 ounces or 299 grams) provides you with 34% of the RDI ().
Most of a potato’s potassium is found in the flesh, but about one-third of the potassium content is concentrated in the skin. For this reason, consuming unpeeled potatoes gets you the most of this important mineral ().
Sweet potatoes, another starchy tuber, are also a respectable source of potassium. A large sweet potato (6.3 ounces or 180 grams) provides 18% of the RDI ().
Yet potatoes and sweet potatoes are not just good sources of potassium. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese.
Not to mention, sweet potatoes provide nearly four times the RDI for vitamin A in just 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
Summary Potatoes and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of potassium. A large baked potato provides 34% of the RDI, while a large sweet potato provides 18%.
Beets are a deep red root vegetable with a naturally sweet flavor.
One cup (170 grams) of beets contains 518 mg of potassium, or 11% of the RDI ().
Beets are also rich in folate and manganese. Plus, the pigment that gives beets their rich color acts as an antioxidant, which may help fight oxidative damage and inflammation (, ).
Beets are also high in nitrates, which may improve blood vessel function, high blood pressure and exercise performance (, , ).
The potassium content of beets may also improve blood vessel function as well as decrease the risk of heart disease ().
Summary Beets are a good source of potassium, containing 11% of the RDI per cup (170 grams). They also contain antioxidants and nitrate, which may provide further health benefits.
Parsnips are a white root vegetable similar to carrots.
One cup (156 grams) of parsnips provides 12% of the RDI, or 572 mg of potassium ().
Parsnips are also a good source of vitamin C and folate, which are essential for skin and tissue health, cell division and preventing birth defects (, ).
Moreover, the soluble fiber found in parsnips may aid in reducing cholesterol levels ().
Summary Parsnips are a good source of potassium, providing 12% of the RDI per cup (156 grams). They also contain vitamin C, folate and soluble fiber.
Spinach is a highly nutritious vegetable.
One cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach provides 18% of the RDI for potassium, making it a great choice for those wanting to increase their intake ().
It also provides nearly four times the RDI for vitamin A, ten times the RDI for vitamin K, around 30% of the RDI for calcium and almost 90% of the RDI for manganese.
These nutrients are important for metabolism, vision health, bone health and the immune system (, , ).
Leafy green vegetables like spinach are also full of antioxidants ().
In one study of seven women, consuming a drink containing 294 grams (10.4 ounces) of spinach increased total antioxidant capacity by almost 30% over the next 24 hours ().
Summary Spinach is nutritious and a great source of potassium. One cup (180 grams) provides 18% of the RDI. It also provides other essential vitamins, minerals and healthy plant compounds.
Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable with red or yellow stalks.
It is packed with nutrients. One cup (175 grams) of cooked Swiss chard contains 21% of the RDI for potassium ().
In addition, it contains 214% of the RDI for vitamin A, 716% of the RDI for vitamin K and a notable amount of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese and fiber.
Like spinach and other leafy green vegetables, Swiss chard also contains healthy plant compounds that act as antioxidants to help protect your cells (, ).
Summary Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable packed with nutrients. It contains 21% of the RDI for potassium in one cup (175 grams).
Tomatoes and tomato products, such as tomato sauce, are full of potassium. One cup (244 grams) of tomato sauce contains 17% of the RDI for potassium ().
Tomatoes are rich in other vitamins and minerals as well, including vitamins A, C, E, B6 and copper.
What’s more, tomatoes contain beneficial plant compounds like lycopene, which may help fight inflammation and reduce the risk of prostate cancer (, ).
In a small study of people with metabolic syndrome, drinking around 11 ounces (330 ml) of tomato juice four times a week for two months significantly improved inflammation, blood vessel dysfunction and insulin resistance ().
The participants also experienced a decrease in “bad” LDL and a small increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.
The beneficial effects of potassium and lycopene on risk factors for heart disease make tomatoes a great choice for heart health ().
Summary Tomatoes and tomato sauce are rich in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium. One cup (244 grams) of tomato sauce provides 17% of the RDI for potassium.
Citrus fruits like oranges are well known for being high in vitamin C, but they are also a good source of potassium.
One cup of orange juice provides 11% of the RDI for potassium. It is also rich in folate, vitamin A, thiamine and antioxidants (, , , ).
Observational studies have found that people who regularly consume orange juice may be more likely to meet vitamin and mineral needs and follow a healthier diet. They are also less likely to be obese or have metabolic syndrome ().
Additionally, the high level of antioxidants found in oranges and orange juice may help improve the body’s ability to fight free radicals, inflammation and heart disease (, , , ).
And consuming orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D may help improve bone health — especially since a high intake of potassium may benefit bone health as well (, ).
However, orange juice is much higher in sugar and lower in fiber than whole oranges.
Thus, it’s best to focus on whole fruit rather than juice as a source of vitamins and minerals. If you do choose to drink orange juice, be sure that it is 100% juice.
Summary Oranges are rich in potassium, with one cup of juice providing 11% of the RDI. Oranges and orange juice are rich in other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well.
Bananas are famous as a good source of potassium. Indeed, one medium-sized banana contains 422 mg, or 12% of the RDI for potassium ().
This tasty fruit is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, fiber and antioxidants ().
Ripe bananas tend to be higher in sugar than other fruits. However, green bananas are low in sugar and high in resistant starch, which may help control blood sugar and improve gut health (, ).
Banana flakes or green bananas may also be an effective home remedy for diarrhea (, ).
The banana’s convenient, natural packaging makes it an easy and nutritious way to increase your potassium intake on the go.
Summary Bananas are known for being a good source of potassium. One medium banana provides 12% of the RDI.
Avocados are extremely nutritious, tasty and unique.
They are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and very rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid (, , ).
Avocados are also a good source of potassium. One medium-sized avocado provides 20% of the RDI for potassium.
The high content of antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber in avocados is most likely responsible for their effects on health. Studies have shown that avocados may be beneficial for heart health, weight management and metabolic syndrome (, ).
Eating avocados is associated with a better quality of diet, lower BMI, body weight and waist circumference and a significantly lower risk of metabolic syndrome ().
The rich potassium content of avocados, in addition to their other healthy properties, make them an easy choice for helping meet your nutrient needs.
Summary One avocado provides 20% of the RDI for potassium, as well as plenty of heart-healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants.
Yogurt is a great source of calcium, riboflavin and potassium. One cup (245 grams) of this creamy treat provides you with 11% of the RDI for potassium ().
Because yogurt is a fermented food, it also contains bacteria that may benefit gut health. Some evidence suggests yogurt may be beneficial for weight maintenance or appetite control, too ().
When buying yogurt, aim for a plain variety, as fruit-flavored yogurts tend to have lots of added sugar. If you find plain yogurt is too tart, sweeten it with fresh fruit, nuts or a bit of honey.
Summary One cup (245 grams) of yogurt provides 11% of the RDI for potassium. Yogurt also contains beneficial bacteria, though you should avoid varieties with added sugar.
Clams are an excellent source of potassium. A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of clams provides 18% of the RDI ().
Clams are also extremely rich in other nutrients, with one serving providing almost the entire RDI for selenium and at least twice the RDI for iron and vitamin B12.
They are also a great source of protein that is high in healthy omega-3 fats, which are associated with a variety of health benefits, including fighting inflammation and related diseases (, ).
Summary A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of clams provides 18% of the RDI for potassium and is packed with selenium, iron and B12.
Salmon is an extremely nutritious food. It is packed with high-quality protein, healthy omega-3 fats and many vitamins and minerals, including potassium.
Half of a filet of salmon (187 grams) provides 683 mg of potassium, or 15% of the RDI ().
A diet rich in fatty fish has also been linked with various health benefits, most notably a decreased risk of heart disease (, , ).
In fact, a review of several studies found that every 15-gram (0.5-ounce) increase in fatty fish per day corresponded with a 6% decrease in the risk of death from heart disease ().
The rich potassium content of salmon may make it beneficial for heart disease, as well.
One study including nearly 2,000 veterans found that those given potassium-enriched salt over the course of 2.5 years had a lower death rate from heart disease and spent less on heart disease-related medical care ().
Summary A half of a filet of salmon (178 grams) contains 15% of the RDI for potassium as well as plenty of high-quality protein, vitamins and omega-3 fats.
Coconut water has become a popular health drink. It is sweet and nutty but low in sugar and high in electrolytes.
The body needs electrolytes for balancing pH, proper nerve and muscle function and hydration ().
One of these electrolytes is potassium. Drinking one cup (240 grams) of coconut water will provide you with 600 mg of potassium, or 13% of the RDI ().
Coconut water’s high content of electrolytes makes it a great drink for rehydrating after heavy exercise.
Several studies have found that coconut water was more effective than water and as effective as sports drinks at rehydrating participants (, , ).
Two studies found that it caused less stomach upset or nausea. However, coconut water was associated with more bloating and stomach upset in a third study ().
Summary Coconut water is full of electrolytes, which are important for hydration and maintaining the body’s pH balance. One cup (240 grams) of coconut water contains 13% of the RDI for potassium.
Most Americans don’t meet the recommended intake of potassium, which may be associated with negative health outcomes ().
The 14 foods included in this list are some of the best sources of potassium you can eat.
Focusing on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and legumes is a healthy and delicious way to make sure you’re getting enough potassium in your diet.