Our Educational Content is Not Meant or Intended for Medical Advice or Treatment
People think of bananas as this awesome fruit because they are supposedly such a great source of potassium. But it turns out that there is just not that much potassium in bananas. And on top of that, they really aren't the healthiest source of this important nutrient.
So what are some better choices?
Read on to discover:
- Why potassium is so important.
- How much potassium you need daily.
- Why bananas are not a great choice.
- The best foods to eat to get plenty of this important mineral.
Why do you need potassium?
Potassium is an important mineral in the body that performs several necessary functions. It works in concert with sodium to make things run smoothly.
It helps the body to:
- Maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium lowers blood pressure, whereas too much sodium increases it. These two electrolytes balance each other out to keep fluid balance and blood pressure stable.
- Make proteins. Potassium is needed to create proteins that makeup everything from your hair to your nails to your skin to your tendons.
- Stabilize blood sugar. You need potassium to store blood sugar. Without it, you will have erratic blood sugar swings and you will crave sugar and sweets like crazy.
- Keep the heart functioning properly. It is one of the main electrolytes for healthy heart function, helping you avoid things like palpitations or arrhythmia.
- Rest and recover. As a relaxing nutrient in the body, it will help you stay asleep at night and recoup when needed.
When you don't have enough of this mineral in the body, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- High insulin levels
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle cramps
To avoid these kinds of issues, you must consume enough potassium in your daily diet.
How much do you need to eat each day?
The recommended daily intake of this mineral is 4,700 mg per day. Most people don't even come close to consuming that amount, which is how much you need to stay healthy.
In fact, potassium is the mineral with the highest recommended daily intake. And it is really difficult to get enough each day.
But in order to stay healthy and keep your body functioning at its best, you've got to find a way to get those 4,700 mg per day. So what do you turn to? Are bananas your best bet, or is it a myth that they are a good source of this vital nutrient?
How much potassium is in a banana?
When you ask anyone what food is highest in potassium, most people will say "bananas." This fruit is often the only answer many of us can think of. But while it does have some potassium in it, it is far from being the best source.
In fact, bananas are not even high on the list when it comes to potassium-rich foods.
One banana has about 300-400 mg. This means that in order to get to the 4,700 mg you need daily, you would have to eat 12 bananas in a single day. That is clearly not realistic.
As you can see, eating a banana a day is definitely not the best way to keep your potassium levels in the normal range. In fact, bananas are really some of the worst foods you can eat for this purpose.
While they might be thought of as healthy foods filled with fiber and potassium, bananas are actually really high in sugar. No one should eat anything close to 12 of them per day.
Eat your veggies: the better way to get enough potassium
Instead of eating this tropical fruit with quite low potassium content, turn to vegetables instead.
Your body needs 7-10 cups of veggies or salad per day to get enough of the nutrients it needs, especially potassium.
You'll want to eat all sorts of different vegetables and salads daily. This is a great way to get your daily value of nutrients without spiking insulin levels, as can happen with sugary fruits like bananas.
5 potassium-rich vegetables that win out over the banana
Replace banana with these nutrient-dense veggies to boost your potassium intake:
1. Beet greens
If you buy beets at the grocery store, you might be used to cutting off the tops and throwing them out. But beet greens are actually super healthy. Along with having high potassium content, they are also a good source of fiber.
2. Swiss chard
This colorful food is a great addition to a healthy diet. It has plenty of vitamins (like C and A), along with other minerals like iron and magnesium.
Packed with vitamins and other nutrients, avocados have more than twice the potassium levels of a banana. They are a really great source of healthy fats, too. I don't call it the " Amazing Avocado" for nothing.
4. Winter squash
Squash is actually keto-friendly, although many people think otherwise. Winter squash, acorn squash, and butternut squash are all good options. They have a nice texture and are helpful for mixing up the keto diet.
Spinach is an excellent potassium-rich green. It is also high in iron, magnesium, and many vitamins. It makes a great base for a salad, and it is also delicious steamed with fresh lemon.
Other veggies with high potassium levels include potatoes and sweet potatoes. However, I do not recommend eating these on keto unless you aren't worried about weight. They are quite starchy and can inhibit weight loss.
The bottom line
Potassium is one of the hardest minerals to get enough of. But it is important to try to get 4,700 mg of it daily. This will help keep your body running smoothly and will help you avoid things like high blood pressure, muscle cramps, and more.
But contrary to popular belief, a banana should not be your go-to when it comes to getting potassium in your diet. This fruit is simply not the healthiest choice, and bananas are not even near the top of the list when it comes to potassium-rich foods.
Instead, include 7-10 cups of vegetables in your ketogenic diet plan every day. To get enough potassium, look to:
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
These vegetables are excellent sources of this essential nutrient.
What tips do you have for boosting your potassium intake? Share your ideas in the comments.