Paddle Healthy | Potassium-Rich Whole Foods

banana
Photo courtesy of Chiquita Banana Facebook

Paddle Healthy | Potassium-Rich Whole Foods

Potassium is a mineral essential to many bodily functions. Unfortunately, it is depleted each time we sweat and if not replenished, can result in serious side effects. Experts suggest adults take in 4700 milligrams of potassium each day as part of a balanced diet. But don’t be intimidated by that number, potassium can be fulfilled from a variety of natural whole food sources. While bananas are the standard go-to for athletes and active folk, they aren't your only option. While a medium-sized banana does offer around 422mg of potassium, there are even better sources of this essential nutrient. In this edition of Paddle Healthy, we're going beyond the banana and taking a look at other everyday foods that naturally contain enough potassium to keep you paddling strong. —Shari Coble

Sweet Potato (600-700mg)
When baked with the skin, a medium sweet potato is one of the best whole food sources for the mineral, containing a whopping 600 to 700 mg of potassium. But these tasty treats don’t only pump up your potassium intake, they also contain significant amounts of vitamin A, C and other essential nutrients. Eat sweet potatoes on their own or enhance their flavor with cinnamon or curry powder.

Potato (600-900mg)
Baked potatoes get a bad wrap because they get loaded with fatty toppings and are thought of as a starchy food. However, a medium baked potato is actually very rich in potassium and other nutrients including complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber. Just make sure to bake the potato (experts say it’s healthiest) and eat the skin which is packed with nutrients.

White beans (595mg)
White beans (or white navy beans) reign supreme over all other beans when it comes to potassium content. Just half a cup of white beans pack nearly 600 mg of potassium. In addition, these tiny nutrition-packed foods pack protein as well as manganese, zinc, and copper. Not to mention, they make great additions to several meals including soups, salads, tacos, or stews.

Lentils (731mg)
The mild-flavored legume packs over 700 mg of potassium per cup when boiled and is a sufficient source of plant-based protein and fiber. They're easy to prepare and are delicious served over rice with veggies. Lentils also offer other essential nutrients including folate, magnesium, and manganese.

Beet Greens (400-500mg)
We'll be honest, beet greens don't sound the most appealing and typically get tossed when fresh beets are brought home. Nevertheless, a boiled cup of these mildly-bitter leaves are awesome sources of potassium, offering more than 400mg of it. They also provide significant amounts of vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. You'll also be exceeding your suggested daily intake of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron (around 15 percent of the suggested daily intake).