5 Fruits and Vegetables High in Potassium.

by Joe Stout on September 22, 2010

Fruits and vegetables are one of the best sources for getting heart-healthy potassium. Because potassium is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it is highly absorbable and can be used by the body in a variety of ways. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that regulates blood pressure as well as muscle function. Symptoms of a potassium deficiency are muscle weakness, aches, cramps, nausea, anxiousness, drowsiness, weakness, and an irregular heart beat. However consuming an adequate amount of potassium is not too difficult if a few easy foods are consumed with regularity. I have put together a compilation in no particular order of 5 (okay maybe 6) fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium. Enjoy.

bananas1. Bananas – 422 mg

Let’s just get the most obvious one out of the way, bananas are famous for their potassium content but are also high in the vitally important mineral, manganese, as well as both vitamin C and fiber. Here’s a tip for peeling a banana;  pinch the tip on the end opposite to the “handle” (stem) and peel from that end and you won’t have any more bruised bananas. I got this tip by watching monkey’s eat bananas on the Discovery Channel.

prunes

2. Prunes – 637 mg

Although commonly used in cases of ‘plumbing problems,’ prunes are high in potassium as well as free-radical-busting antioxidants. Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered why prunes have an almost magical power to relieve constipation, it’s because they are high in a natural laxative known as dihydrophenylistatin. Remember that factoid, and later you can really impress your friends!

potatoes

3. Potatoes – 763 mg

Before you justify those frequent trips to McDonalds for a side (meal) of fries let me preface by saying that the heart-healthy attributes of potassium in potatoes can be quickly negated if you add enough hot grease and salt. With that said, potatoes pack some pretty potent potassium (say that 5 times). The starchy tubers are a great source of other nutrients such as Vitamin B6 and manganese. It also has more Vitamin C than most citrus fruits but most is denatured (destroyed) when the spud is cooked. Just in case you are tempted to try and eat the potato raw, don’t, you’ll end up with a belly ache because the starch in potatoes is only digestible when broken down by heat (cooked).

tomatoes4. Tomatoes – 292 mg

People love to know ‘em, grow ‘em and throw ‘em.  For over a hundred years, this fruit (that’s right, they actually are a fruit) has been unfortunately included in the lineup of such notorious vegetables as brussel sprouts and broccoli (just kidding, I love both). It actually was an act of congress that led us all down the wrong nomenclature path into calling tomatoes veggies. Way back in 1887, a U.S. tariff law imposed taxes on vegetables but not on fruits. Since our lawmakers weren’t really any more honest back then, they reclassified all sorts of fruits as vegetables in order to increase veggie revenue. I wonder if it was called “The Tomato Scandal of 1887” Regardless, to this day, such fruits as tomatoes, cucumbers, and even pumpkins, while technically fruits are considered vegetables. I say leave that debate in the past and focus on what’s important; tomatoes are a delicious source of potassium!

spinach5.   Spinach – 420 mg

Die hard fans may be interested to know that the spinach industry was nearly bankrupt before the cartoon hero “Popeye” came to the rescue. In just a few short years, he had kids happily munching on “me spinach” again and had made spinach farmers rolling in green (money that is, not spinach). While spinach was originally chosen as Popeye’s “magic food” for its high iron content, that wasn’t the only thing transforming his strength from a wimpy weakling to a hulking hero. The high amounts of potassium in spinach caused his muscle filaments to tighten and relax at proper intervals giving the burley sailor the ability to lift houses, bend steel, wallop Pluto in the kisser, and most importantly, save Olive Oyl from certain doom.

Another Option

Now an often overlooked aspect of potassium in the diet is that we should be consuming at least 4,700 mg of this mineral per day. This means eating a lot of bananas, a lot of potatoes, and probably more prunes than those around us would prefer. As a clinical nutrition scientist, I would be hard-pressed to ever suggest alternatives to fruits and vegetables but I will offer a suggestion for upping the potassium intake of those struggling to get enough. Goat milk is an excellent source of natural food-based minerals, such as potassium. When these minerals are gently extracted from the milk, the final product is a concentrated food called Capra Mineral Whey. Just 2 tablespoons of Capra Mineral Whey has over 1,000 mg of potassium, which trumps all of the foods listed above. As a mineral supplement, Capra Mineral Whey not only has high levels of potassium but also calcium, yamsmagnesium, and phosphorus. Here’s my parting shot; always remember the wise words of Popeye the Sailor Man:  “I yam what I yam…” which coincidentally is also a vegetable high in potassium. (820 mg)

Joe Stout, M.S. – Clinical Nutrition Scientist

Joe Stout received his Bachelors of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science from Washington State University. He recently finished a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Human Nutrition. He has written for various magazines and is the editor of The High Road to Health.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony Hunter September 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

thanks for the great info.

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Sue September 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hi Joe, quick question for you, I have high blood pressure and take a Potassium pill as well as my blood pressure medicine. Any chance of getting to much potassium? I eat a lot of potatoes, tomatoes and spinach. I’m also taking the Capra Mineral Whey and Solar Synergy. Thanks!

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Mt. Capra September 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hey sue. I wouldn’t worry about getting too much potassium but that would certainly be something to talk with your doctor about. The funny thing about over-the-counter potassium pills is that by law they can have no more than 99mg potassium per pill which is a laughably small amount compared to the fruits, veggies, and mineral whey listed in the above article.

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Bobbie November 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Thats because they dont know how much potassium you are already taking in..

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Nuesha Moore September 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm

thank you for the sharing this article. god bless all. :)

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Kent September 25, 2010 at 9:44 am

I love eating bananas. I heard they were also good for people that want to lose weight. I never knew potassium was important for the heart.

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Nuesha Moore October 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Tomatoes are colorful and not only come in the bright red variety, but also decorate dishes with orange, green, pink, purple, yellow, and even white selections. Some are multi-colored, while others display funky stripes. All in all, the tomato makes a rather attractive addition to a recipe that actually helps uplift a gloomy disposition.

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Martin Berdida October 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm

When I started to go to the gym everyday I bring with me a banana and it is a good food to eat when you are on the go like exercising or other activities. Yes it is also great to people who wanted to loss weight… Thanks for sharing this post!

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Amy Asato April 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Dear Sir,
My husband’s kidney is functioning at a very low level. I am wondering if there are differences in the red tomatoes and the yellow ones. I know tomatoes are high in potassium but am hoping the yellow ones will be listed as low potassium food.

Thank you and God bless,
Amy

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Mt. Capra April 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hi Amy!

I am sorry to say that yellow tomatoes are still quite high in potassium. A cup of chopped yellow tomatoes depending on the variety are going to have somewhere between 350 – 550 mg of potassium. I hope that helps and sorry I don’t have better news. Tell your husband that Mt. Capra wishes him a speedy health recovery! Blessings.

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Eucharia chukwu January 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

This is realy an eye opener:your advice is very good.I discover that I was hypertensive last november: and I read that potassium was good for high blood pressure: that was why I was anxious to know the fuits n vegetables. I need more advice.God bless.

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patty E February 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I m taking lisinopril for high blood pressure. One of the sideeffects of this medication is overproducing potassium. Should I be cautious of cosumming any fruit or vegetables that are high in potassium?

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Mt. Capra May 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Hi Patty,

I would ask your doctor about that one.

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Kathy May 23, 2012 at 4:27 am

I have been having terrible leg cramps that wake me up at night. This is always in the upper thigh, not the calf.

To combat this I am afraid to go to bed until I have made sure I’ve gotten at least 1,400 mg of potassium and 400 mg. of magnesium. I’m on a 100% raw food vegan diet, and feel that Brian Clements may be right about fruit not being what it used to be, therefore that would cut out bananas and figs. I understand kelp is high in potassium, but not high enough. The only other non-fruit food high in potassium seems to be coconut water.

Do you have any suggestions about how to get these high amounts of potassium and magnesium from the type of die Brian Clements recommends – high in sprouts, wheatgrass juice, only 15% fruit (maybe the 15% could be bananas?).

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Mt. Capra May 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Hi Kathy,

Yes, try the Capra Mineral Whey. 4 tablespoons of the stuff will deliver over 2000 mg of potassium

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m.r.krishnaiah June 16, 2012 at 10:03 am

I am presently having kidney problem as serum creatinine is ar0und 4.5 mg/dl.Doctors have advised me to keep the potassium and (sodium levels )
low. If that be, what are the fruits and vegetables I should totally avoid or reduce
eating.Will be thankful for your advise or suggestion.

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Gilda Marie Granado-Melendrez July 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Very interesting and helpful. I am waiting to hear from my doctor and within a short time period I had to be tested for low potasium. Before I was placed on potasium pills. I have a feeling I am going in the hospital this time for IUV Potasium. Thank you for your help. I printed the whole article.

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Mt. Capra July 27, 2012 at 3:57 am

Hi Gilda, I think you’ll find that Capra Mineral Whey is just the ticket for you. Check it out here: http://www.mtcapra.com/capra-mineral-whey.

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Larry September 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

My wife is going through her third round of chemo. She has low to very low Potassium to the point that she has to have it given in an IV on occasion. She takes all the health products she can and eats the vestibules that are said to be high in Potassium. What can she do to raise her lever of Potassium and keep it up.
Tks in advance.

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Mt. Capra September 25, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Hi Larry,

Start taking this supplement: http://www.mtcapra.com/capra-mineral-whey

It has great potassium levels

Blessings!

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Kevin M December 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Is Capra Mineral Whey normally casein free?

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Mt. Capra December 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi Kevin,

The Capra Mineral Whey is free of alpha s1 casein (the allergen)

Thanks

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jacqui February 15, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi I’ve had low potassium levels ever since being diagnosed with chronic pancreatis,I’ve been told to eat more potassium enriched foods like bananas,but been told that baked unskinned potatoe’s have a higher level of potassium in them or I should be on some form of medication,but I take Creon for my pancreatis so I don’t no what to think or do anymore , any feed back would be gratefully appreciated thanks :)

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Mt. Capra February 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Hi Jacqui,

Yes bananas and potato skins, are both great sources of potassium. However the Capra Mineral Whey is the winner across the board. 2 tablespoons have way more potassium than bananas or potatoes.

Thanks

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diane ward June 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Could lack of potassium cause muscle soreness to the point it hurts to raise your arms.

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daring sally August 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

Yes, I am just getting over the muscle soreness. It felt like I had severe arthritis and even had me thinking I was having a heart attack. Potassium is a very important mineral. Lack of it can lead to a heart attack as well. It is very vital. I had to be admitted in the hospital several years ago for lack thereof.

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Chanel June 21, 2013 at 2:52 am

Hi,

This article is very helpful. I was wondering can you overdose on potassium like today for instance I’ve had 5 handfuls of spinach in my salad, a cantaloupe , Zico coconut water, watermelon juice and 5 dates and banana at breakfast. I’m wondering because I eat a vegan lifestyle or raw food diet and eat alot of fruits and veggies high in potassium but what’s too much? I don’t keep track of how many calories or potassium I’m taking in because I feel I eat healthy, but should I? Is too much harmful?

Thanks

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erlinda mooney July 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

where can i buy capra mineral whey and how much ? thanks !

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Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Here: http://www.mtcapra.com/capra-mineral-whey
Start with the 720g container. Thanks

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Mike Meyers September 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

My Cardiologist increased my Lasix from 20mg to 40 mg daily. For this, he put me on 10mg of Potassium daily. I was on this for 11 days and developed severe abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting that got progressively worse as the days wore on. After 11 days I stopped taking the Potassium and about 2 days later the pains lessened. During this time I lost 9 pounds as I was afraid to eat anything. For the past two days I can eat with minimal discomfort and keep things down. It sounds like the Potassium was the culprit. Now I have to call my doctor and tell him why I cancelled this drug. Your thoughts on this. Thanks, Mike

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Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

It could be any variety of things but perhaps the pharmaceutical grade of potassium was hard on your GI tract. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

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