potassium symbol

Potassium helps maintain the balance of the fluid system in the body, assists nerve function, and is related to heart muscle contraction. Symptoms of deficiency include cramping, muscle weakness, mood changes, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure (for information on supplements for high blood pressure, see my post here).

While the RDA of Potassium is 4,700mg, according to the 2015 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the average daily Potassium intake for the past 2 decades has hovered around 2,500 mg per day for Americans. Note that RDAs are recommended minimums to avoid serious illness. The optimal amount for Potassium is estimated to be 10,000-15,000mg per day (4). For example, pre-agricultural humans are calculated to have consumed an average of 10,500 mg of Potassium each day (3). Fewer than 2% of people nowadays even meet the recommended minimum of 4,700mg, let alone the optimal amount, with women consuming less Potassium than men on average.

For supplementing with Potassium, I recommend Potassium Gluconate, as it is affordable, absorbable, and effective. For getting Potassium from food, the best dietary sources of Potassium are beet greens and spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, seafood, winter squashes and root vegetables, peaches, plantains, avocadoes, bamboo shoots, bok choy and dark chocolate.

[Note: While bananas and potatoes are frequently recommended as good sources of dietary Potassium, I recommend against eating bananas and white potatoes as they are sugar-bombs (31g carbs per banana and 37g per potato!), and Potassium can easily be obtained from more healthful, lower sugar foods, as you’ll see in the chart below.]

You’ll also see that the serving sizes I’ve listed in my chart are not necessarily the classic amounts you’ll see in the USDA charts, which is where most of my Potassium data came from. I mean, who is going to eat 1 cup of tomato paste at once? Well, somebody is, I’m sure 😉 but not most folks. And the serving sizes for starchy foods like plantains, winter squashes and sweet potatoes should only be 1/2 cup, IMO, as too many carbs just ain’t good for most people. So I’ve changed the serving sizes to more sensible amounts, and adjusted the relative Potassium quantities accordingly.

Potassium-Rich Foods and Their Potassium Content per Serving

Food Amount Potassium (mg)
Beet greens, cooked, chopped 1/2 cup 654
Artichoke hearts 1 cup 595
Tomato juice, homemade 8 oz 556
Globe artichoke 1 medium 474
Yam, cooked 1/2 cup 456
Halibut 3 oz 449
Snapper 3 oz 444
Sweet potato, cooked 1 medium 438
Salmon, Chinook 3 oz 429
Tomato, chopped 1 cup 427
Swordfish 3 oz 424
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup 420
Mackerel 1 piece (80g) 416
Bamboo shoots 1/2 cup 405
Trout 3 oz 394
Bass, freshwater 3 oz 391
Sablefish 3 oz 390
Sardines, canned 1 can (3.75 oz) 365
Carp 3 oz 363
Plantain, cooked, sliced 1/2 cup 354
Avocado, sliced 1/2 cup 354
Mahi mahi 3 oz 354
Cod, Atlantic 3 oz 351
Salmon, Atlantic 3 oz 326
Tilapia 3 oz 323
Jerusalem Artichoke 1/2 cup 322
Bluefish 3 oz 319
Bok Choy, cooked 1/2 cup 316
Haddock 3 oz 298
Perch 3 oz 292
Peach 1 medium 285
Herring 3 oz 278
Tuna 3 oz 275
Pumpkin, cooked 1/2 cup 275
Kabocha squash, cooked 1/2 cup 272
Scallops 3 oz 267
Parsnips, cooked 1/2 cup 250
Butternut squash, cooked 1/2 cup 247
Acorn squash, cooked 1/2 cup 243
Celeriac root, cooked, chopped 1/2 cup 234
Mussels 3 oz 228
Zucchini, cooked 1/2 cup 227
Beets, cooked 1/2 cup 221
Crabmeat 3 oz 220
Shrimp, cooked 3 oz 220
Green pepper 1 medium 215
Rutabaga, cooked, chopped 1/2 cup 214
Carrot, chopped 1/2 cup 205
Lobster 3 oz 196
Fennel bulb 1/2 cup 180
Brussels sprouts, cooked 1/2 cup 171
Cauliflower, chopped 1/2 cup 160
Dark chocolate 1 oz 158
Tomato paste 1 Tblspn 153
Garden cress 1/2 cup 152
Kale, cooked, chopped 1/2 cup 148
Broccoli, cooked 1/2 cup 139
Strawberries 1/2 cup 138
Flounder 3 oz 136
Celery, chopped 1/2 cup 132
Mache (aka cornsalad) 1/2 cup 129
Collards, cooked 1/2 cup 111
Mushrooms, cooked 1/2 cup 111
Anchovy 1 oz 110