Image Credit: NatalieMaynor / Flickr

Which foods have the most potassium?

can you provide a link to the data on potassium levels of various foods?

Charlene / Originally Posted in Potassium and Autoimmune Disease

Answer:

The new USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference is now out! Our tax dollars hard at work to analyze the nutrient content of more than 8,000 foods. I’m so glad you asked this question, Charlene, because I’m surprised more don’t know about this incredible resource.

If you’re looking for the most concentrated sources of any particular nutrient in the new 2012 database, click here. Then scroll down to potassium and click on Potassium-Sorted By Nutrient Content and poof! A list of about a thousand foods ranked from the most concentrated source (2,675mg in each cup of concentrated tomato paste) down to zero in “foods” like lard and hard candies. You can also download the list alphabetically to make it easier to look up your favorite foods. And that’s just the beginning!

WARNING: browsing the Nutrient Database can be addictive for nutrition geeks–like me! (though if you were a true nutrition geek you’d already be sleeping with the entire database under your pillow :).

So the next time you see me do a video on fiber, for example, (like Relieving Yourself of Excess Estrogen) you can look up to see which foods have the most.

See Fat Burning Via Flavonoids and wonder where the heck you can find them? They’ve got the answer.

Amazed by Egg Industry Blind Spot or intrigued by Prevent Glaucoma and See 27 Miles Farther and want to know where to find those critical eyesight saving nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin? Look no further.

What foods have the most sugar? The most cholesterol or the most vitamin C? It has it all!

A consumer friendly version available in PDF form of some of the most common nutrients in some of the most common foods can be downloaded here. And for more depth you can browse through individual reports on each of the 36 food groups.

image credit: NatalieMaynor / Flickr

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


30 responses to “Which foods have the most potassium?

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    1. Beets, Beets they’re good for your heart? And so many other body parts. Should you eat them raw, cooked, juiced, or pickled?

      In a side by side comparison of pickled beets/boiled/raw the nutrients all remained just about equal however, for pickled beets the sodium content almost quadruples and the sugar content more than doubles.

  1. Some things that I have been told are very high in potassium are: coconut water, panela or natural cane sugar and molasses, however, I can’t find these on the chart. Any idea where they actually fall? Thank you very much.

  2. Thank you for all the work that you do. My husband and I became Vegans two months ago. Your videos are invaluable to us. Because my husband is a scientist he relies on facts. Whenever he quizzes me I refer him to your website. Thanks again Dr. Greger!!!

  3. I get a yeast smell and don’t eat hardly any processed food. Just fruits and veggies. Should I lay off the fruit or what else would you recommend as I’m vegan and eat lots of veggies? I also have dandruff. Any advice?

    Also this is random, but is there any nutritional value difference in the different types of whole wheats like red, white, and etc?

  4. Please help me understand the 4,700 mg per day standard for Potassium. I eat a
    whole-food plant-based diet, and log everything on a smartphone app.
    Potassium is one of the nutrients I have been tracking. I don’t think I
    have ever hit 4,700 mg of Potassium! It seems like an almost impossible
    target. It would take two pounds of baked potatoes – or a dozen bananas!

    Of course I could eat that many potatoes or bananas, but that would dominate my diet.

    I read up on the Institute of Medicine about the standard, and it
    seemed like they picked it because there seemed to be benefits to more
    Potassium and no ill effects to going that high. All well and good, but
    are we all supposed to actually strive to hit that number? We are told
    that we should not supplement Potassium, by Dr. Greger, Dr. Weil, and
    others. Canada has a standard of as I recall 1600mg.

    How much should I really be trying to get every day?

    Thanks for you help. I absolutely love the site!

    1. Hi wkever, Thanks for reposting your question. Hmmm a dozen bananas? I guess you’re right (I calculated about 11.3) if that is all you ate! What about beans? They are pretty high, 1 cup of black beans = 740mg. I feel like a balanced diet with plenty of plant-foods will give you 4700mg. Check out more of Dr. Greger’s links in the Answer section there is a way to find foods high in potassium if that is what you’re shooting for.

      Best,
      Joseph

      1. I eat a whole can of beans nearly every day – that gives me about 1200mg for the 1.625 cups in the can. I would have to eat 4 whole cans of beans a day to get to the target.

        Could you provide an example food list for a day that reaches 4700mg of Potassium?

        I eat beans, greens, broccoli, and bananas every day and rarely come even close to the target.

        3 cups of raw spinach is 500mg. Sounds good, but it would take 28 cups of spinach to reach the target.

        It is discouraging when even the very best sources really are not all the dense.

        1. I don’t really have a menu, but I’ll try a food list if that is helpful? Did you see the database that shows food with potassium? That is really all I am calculating so I am just throwing out random foods. I think we forgot to mention potatoes. Bananas eat your heart out! The potato is IN :-)

          one large baked potato with skins = 1650mg
          1/4 cup salsa = 200mg (a guess) but a cup of tomatoes is 550mg
          one cup black beans = 740mg

          one banana = 500mg
          whole grain pita = 150mg
          1/4 cup hummus = 100mg
          2 celery stocks = 300mg
          1 orange = 250mg
          1 cup wild rice = 200mg

          1. Thanks, Joseph.

            You actually only got to 4050mg, and you used a monster potato (2/3 of a pound!), but we can throw another couple of bananas in there or 5 or 6 cups of greens. Dr. Greger is not big on white potatoes, and his preferred sweet potatoes are somewhat lower in potassium. It would take just over a pound of sweet potatoes to get the 1650mg – about 3 medium sweet potatoes.

            I discovered that the nutrient databases in MyFitnessPal and Cronometer seem to be missing potassium on quite a few foods. Very disappointing. I eat a whole can of beans, which should be well over 1000mg of Potassium, and the app scores it as zero because its database is poor!

            I dunno, man – it is still very difficult to get to 4700mg even with good data. You really have to work at it, and it is hard to measure as well because the most convenient tools seem to be lacking. This, combined with the fact that no food is extremely potassium-dense, makes it a chore to get to the target.

            I guess I will go back to not worrying about it. I eat beans, greens, and bananas every day so I know I am getting a fair amount, but knowing if I am hitting the target seems impractical.

            Thanks again!

            1. I have the same problem with potassium on my WFPB diet, but I also discovered using cron-0-meter that I am sometimes low on a few B vitamins even though I eat lots of grains and beans every day (including tofu and soymilk). It seems to me very hard to hit some of these targets on a 2000 calorie per day diet. I also find that if I eat the amount of nuts that seem recommended, my % of fat is typically ~ 30%.

              1. Checking cron-0-meter for foods I often eat, here is a list that results in 4266 mg of potassium (93%):

                1 cp chard 961 mg 20%
                1 cp spinach 574 mg 12%
                1 serv tofu (85 g) 480mg 10%
                1/2 cp broccoli 457 mg 10%
                1 med banana 423mg 9%
                1/2 cp tomato sauce 406 mg 9%
                1 cp soymilk 299 mg 6%
                1 cp kale 296 mg 6%
                1/3 cp steel cut oats 197 mg 7%
                1/2 med grapefruit 173 mg 4%

                So it is quite possible. I find it easier to use cron-0-meter and put in foods I typically eat. If you focus on potassium, e.g., a list pops up in order of contribution. (Of course it is only as good as cron-0-meter is accurate.)

  5. It looks as though lima beans are pretty darned good as far as potassium goes. Although not a whole plant food, I have been adding coconut water to my smoothies to boost potassium content. Yesterday’s potassium total was 4680.9 mgs., according to cronometer.

    1. OK, so this is outdated, as the USDA Agricultural Research Service (aka USDA ARS) does updates!
      (Well, at least as long as there is funding….)

      The link to data in various formats can be found here:
      https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md/beltsville-human-nutrition-research-center/nutrient-data-laboratory/docs/usda-national-nutrient-database-for-standard-reference/

      The strange webpage location (Northeast Area, Beltsville, Maryland) is because that’s the location of the USDA ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory.

      That page gives the online searchable database url:
      https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/

  6. I can reliably eat a low-sodium, high potassium plant-based diet, and have been doing so for quite awhile. Cronometer has informed me that my potassium-sodium ratio is now unacceptable. Instead of the usual problem with too much sodium and low potassium intake, I now seem to have the opposite situation. Is this a problem, and if it is, what should I do about it?

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