Only about 2 percent of adults in the United States follow the American Heart Association’s advice to keep their daily sodium intake under 1,500 milligrams. Everyone else routinely consumes more than twice the recommended amount each day, which is why high blood pressure is a common health problem. While it won’t necessarily save you from the perils of a high-sodium diet, getting enough potassium can help rid your body of excess sodium.
Dried fruit is generally rich in potassium, and you don’t have to eat much to give your daily intake a big boost. For about 190 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of dried apricots delivers 1,100 milligrams of potassium, or 31 percent of the recommended daily value. You’ll get about 225 calories and 20 percent of the daily value for potassium from 1/2 cup of prunes, while a 1/2-cup serving of raisins provides less than 220 calories and 16 percent of the daily value for potassium. Don’t be tempted to eat an entire cup of dried apricots for the 2,200 milligrams of potassium it contains – it also has 380 calories and nearly 100 grams of carbohydrates.
With a relatively low water content and high carbohydrate count, fresh dates are – like dried fruit – a concentrated source of nutrients. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a single Deglet Noor date has about 50 milligrams of potassium, while the much larger Medjool variety supplies almost 170 milligrams per date. A serving of 12 Deglet Noor dates, or slightly more than 1/2 cup, provides 240 calories and 16 percent of the daily value for potassium. You’ll get about 260 calories and 19 percent of the daily value for potassium from four Medjool dates.
As one of the most popular fruits in the United States, bananas are an important source of potassium in the American diet. An average-sized fruit – one that’s about 7 inches long – provides just over 100 calories and 420 milligrams of potassium, or 12 percent of the recommended daily value. You’ll get about 135 calories and 16 percent of the daily value for potassium from an extra-large banana or 1 cup of sliced fruit. Ounce for ounce, dehydrated bananas are about 75 percent higher in potassium – and calories – than the fresh variety. For just under 175 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of dried bananas delivers 21 percent of the daily value for potassium.
Kiwi is another potassium-rich fruit. One cup of sliced green kiwi – or approximately two and a half average-sized fruits – supplies 110 calories and 560 milligrams of potassium, or 16 percent of the recommended daily value. Although dried apricots, prunes, raisins, dates and bananas all pack more potassium into a single ounce, kiwis generally deliver more potassium per calorie. A 220-calorie serving of kiwifruit contains about 1,110 milligrams of potassium, or twice as much as 220 calories worth of raisins. However, you’d have to eat five average-sized fruits to get that amount.
Citrus fruits, cantaloupe, fresh apricots, papaya, plums, peaches and pears are also good sources of potassium. To balance out the effects of sodium and help prevent high blood pressure, healthy adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. It would be challenging to meet this intake level – and maintain a balanced diet – through fruit alone. Spinach and other dark leafy greens, dried beans, peas and lentils, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash are high in potassium as well.
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Potassium
- American Heart Association: Striking a Balance: Less Sodium (Salt), More Potassium
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Raisins, Seedless
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Prunes, Dehydrated (Low-Moisture), Uncooked
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Apricots, Dehydrated (Low-Moisture), Sulfured, Uncooked
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Dates, Medjool
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Dates, Deglet Noor
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Bananas, Raw
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Bananas, Dehydrated, or Banana Powder
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Kiwifruit, Green, Raw
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