Swiss chard, white beans, and edamame contain the most potassium.

By Kelly Vaughan
December 04, 2020
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Credit: Christopher Testani

Boost your heart and overall health with potassium. It is an essential nutrient for maintaining a regular heartbeat and aiding with muscle contractions and nerve signals. Ahead, a nutritionist explains how much potassium adults need each day, as well as the most delicious ways to consume it.

How Much Potassium Do You Need?

Your kidneys are the main organ that controls the correct level of potassium in the blood, says Wintana Kiros of Reset Lifestyle. Healthy male adults over the age of 19 should aim for 3,400 mg of potassium per day; healthy women over the age of 19 should try to achieve 2,600 mg of potassium per day, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Should You Take Potassium Supplements?

In short, no. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits over-the-counter potassium chloride supplements to less than 100 mg per serving—just two percent of the US daily recommendation. "You would get more potassium from eating real food; for example, drinking just one cup of coconut water will provide you with 600mg of potassium," says Kiros.

So, where should you get your potassium? While many people automatically associate bananas with having high levels of potassium, there are so many other delicious, potassium-rich foods that you can incorporate into your diet, especially at dinnertime.

Swiss Chard

This dark, leafy green contains 20 percent of the recommended daily value of potassium in one cup (178 grams) of cooked chard. See how it shines in this Swiss-Chard and Almond Pasta for dinner, Swiss Chard Farinata, or this creative Bacon, Potato, and Swiss Chard Scramble as breakfast for dinner. Raw Swiss Chard, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Salad also makes a fantastic side dish and allows you to appreciate the full flavor of this hearty green.

White Beans

Navy, cannellini, great northern, or lima beans are all white beans that are a fantastic source of potassium; they also contain high levels of fiber. One cup of cooked white beans offers 829mg of potassium, or approximately 18 percent of the recommended daily nutrient intake level. Try Drunken Mussels with Chorizo and White Beans for a potassium-packed dinner, and our Lima-Bean Salad with Roasted Poblanos and Queso Fresco makes a delicious starter or side dish alongside grill meat or fish. One dinner recipe that brings white beans to center stage is Pasta-e-Fagioli—try our traditional soup recipe or our innovative pasta dish.

Edamame

These soy beans are popular for snacking, but that's a good thing—edamame are packed with nutrients such as vitamin K, magnesium, and manganese, in addition to potassium. In fact, one cup of edamame provides 676mg—or just over 14 percent—of the recommended daily intake value. Get a boost of potassium from this Wild Salmon with Edamame-Cauliflower Rice or our Creamy Edamame Dip as a tasty starter.

Butternut Squash

There are so many delicious ways to prepare this sweet winter squash. And the best part is one cup of cooked butternut squash contains 582mg of potassium, which is more than 12 percent of the recommended daily intake. Try our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger or this hearty Baked Rigatoni with Sausage. For dessert, finish a meal with Brown-Sugar Butternut-Squash Pie.

Spinach

From blending it into smoothies to using it as the base for a large, green salad, spinach is a versatile green that is packed with protein. One cup of frozen spinach—or three cups of raw spinach—contain around 12 percent of the daily recommended value of potassium. Go beyond the basics and use spinach in our recipe for Prosciutto Carbonara with Spinach, this comforting Salmon-and-Spinach Potpie, or our Creamy Broccoli-and-Spinach Soup.

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