Potassium is like the mother of all minerals. It contributes to the proper functioning of nearly every bodily system. Potassium is important to bone health, heart function, and skeletal and muscular function. It's all the more reason to add potassium-rich foods to your diet. Not sure how? Here's your guide to all things potassium.
How Much Potassium Do I Need Daily?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium for adults, adolescents between 14 and 18 years old, and pregnant women is 4,700 mg, according to the Food and Nutrition Board. Children under 8 years old need 3,800 mg, and nursing moms need more, around 5,100 mg daily.
Potassium Deficiency: Causes and Symptoms
Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Journal of the American Heart Association, and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology have all shown that diets low in potassium lead to a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and higher all-cause mortality.
While all of us are at risk of being deficient, those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are less able to absorb nutrients. In such cases, you should be checked by your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure you're within healthy levels. Other causes may include taking antibiotics, diarrhea, vomiting, kidney disease, eating disorders, low magnesium levels, and excessive sweating. Are you deficient? Here's how to tell.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include:
- Feeling skipped heart beats or palpitations
- Muscle weakness, muscle tingling, and numbness.
Potassium-Rich Foods (Plus Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner!)
A well balanced diet is likely to contain ample potassium, but you should still ensure you’re emphasizing certain foods high in potassium:
- Dark leafy greens
- White beans
- Citrus juices
- Plain yogurt
- Lima beans
And while it’s great knowing which foods to emphasize, that’s only half the battle. More importantly, here are some tasty recipes that include foods with potassium.
A Super Chocolatey Workout Smoothie (Made with High Potassium Foods!)
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Combining plain yogurt with baby kale gives you a boost of potassium. One cup of plain yogurt contains 18 percent of your RDA for potassium. Plus, one cup of kale contains 8 percent of your daily RDA of this wonder mineral.
1 container plain yogurt (like Siggi)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp. raw coconut sugar
1 tsp. organic peanut butter
Large handful baby kale (wash and dried)
Combine the ingredients in a blender until smooth and serve immediately.
Avocado Toast Topped with a Fried Egg
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This super simple, yet hearty and delicious morning standby contains avocados, one of my very favorite potassium-rich foods. One cup of avocado contains 21 percent of your RDA for potassium.
1 slice fresh multi-grain bread
1/2 avocado sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add one cracked egg to the skillet and season with sea salt and pepper. Flip once carefully and remove from the heat while the yolk is still runny.
2. Top toasted bread with sliced avocado and the fried egg.
3. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Lima Bean Burgers
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In the south, lima beans are referred to as butter beans because of their deliciously rich flavor. Not to mention that you can even buy butter beans locally in the summer, which makes them even more appealing. One cup contains 27 percent of your RDA for potassium plus tons of fiber, protein, and iron.
Makes 6 patties
4 cups butter beans
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup roasted garlic
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Cover the butter beans with water. Bring to a boil and add pepper. Skim off the bubbles and turn down to a simmer. Cook the beans until tender and add salt.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, sauté onions. In a large bowl, combine the beans with everything besides the breadcrumbs. Blend in a food processor.
3. Transfer the contents of the food processor back to the bowl and stir in the bread crumbs. Let the burger mix rest for about 30 minutes before cooking.
4. Divide the bean mix into 6, roughly 5 oz. portions and flatten them out to 1/2 inch thickness. When you’re ready to cook your burger, heat a little oil in a sauté pan until nearly smoking. Add the burger and let it brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Once it’s nice and brown on that side, flip the burger and brown on the opposite side.
5. Serve on a bun with catsup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.
Recipe: A Chef's Life
Cold Avocado Cucumber Soup with Parmesan Curls
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For a light dinner, this recipe puts avocado and plain yogurt, two potassium-rich foods, to use in a simple and totally delicious summer soup. Best part: it takes about five minutes to make!
1 avocado, peeled, seeded
3 cucumbers, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, stems removed
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Garnish with parmesan curls made using a vegetable peeler.
1. Add everything to a blender and combine until smooth.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parmesan curls. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Simple Snack Foods That Are High in Potassium
- Toast with peanut butter, raw honey, and banana slices
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- Guacamole with bright yellow peppers
- Yogurt mason jars topped with granola
- Bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers
- Butter bean hummus with crudité
What are your favorite potassium-rich foods and recipes? We want to hear from you! Send us a message via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit
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Image of various toasts via Shuttershock