Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on December 02, 2022
How Much Is In a Banana?
This sweet, tropical treat provides a ton of potassium. And that’s a good thing, because almost every body part needs it, from your heart and kidneys to your muscles and nerves. It even plays a role in basic cell function. But bananas aren’t the only game in town. Lots of foods can provide your body with this essential mineral.
They’re high in iron and fiber too, and low in sugar and fat. Try them warm as a side dish, or cool in a summer bean salad. Soak them overnight if you want to make them easier to digest. Or, for quicker results, boil them for just 2 minutes and then let them stand in the water for a couple of hours. Either way should make them less gassy.
They’re also low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat and a good source of vitamins B1, B3, and B6. Of course, all that potassium won’t matter if you heap on butter and sour cream. To keep your potatoes on the healthier side, try stuffing them with broccoli and light cheddar. Or look for low-fat sour cream or low-fat cottage cheese.
Prunes, which are dried plums, also have loads of fiber -- something your grandpa might have mentioned. They go great with nuts, cheese, or yogurt. They do have lots of sugar, though -- about 30 grams per ½ cup. Makers often add extra sugar to dried fruits, so keep an eye on that if you want to limit calories. If you’d rather drink your prunes, try just 6 ounces of juice, which has almost as much potassium. A half-cup of prunes has 585 mg potassium.
Though they’re more savory than sweet, they’re actually fruits, not veggies. Even if you don’t eat the whole thing, it should give you a good dose of potassium, along with vitamins A, C, and E. They’re also full of healthy monounsaturated fats that might help lower cholesterol levels.
There’s nothing better in the middle of a hot summer day. This fruit is mostly water, so it helps keep you hydrated, and it’s full of nutrients like lycopene that help fight inflammation when you exercise in the heat.
You might have seen baseball players chewing them and spitting out the shells. But you can get them already shelled and avoid the mess. They’re an easy snack when you’re on the go. Or you can throw them on top of a salad for lunch for a boost of protein and B vitamins, too. Just make sure you get the unsalted ones.
Popeye had it right. And not just because of the potassium. This leafy green also delivers magnesium, iron, fiber, and even vitamin C. On top of that, it’s low in calories, sugar, and fat. You can sauté it with onions and garlic as a side dish or throw it in with some eggs for a colorful, healthful omelet.
Cooked Acorn Squash
Like other winter squash, it’s also rich in fiber, vitamins C and B6, and nutrients called carotenoids (they give it that yellowy-orange color). Cut it into chunks or halves, then bake it at 400 F for an hour.
You can add them to salads, vegetable dishes, desserts, or just eat them as a snack. But be aware that there’s a bunch of sugar in there too: about 54 grams of it per ½ cup. That’s about 250 calories. You can also get about the same potassium kick (615 mgs) from two cups of a raisin and bran flake cereal but with a lower sugar and calorie count. Or look for another enriched cereal that’s also high in potassium.
You might see these in cans at the grocery store. You can use them to make a traditional marinara sauce for spaghetti, or a salsa for your tacos or enchiladas. You’ll also get a healthy dose of lycopene to protect you from cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
This is the stuff caught in the wild. Farmed fish has a bit less potassium. Grill it, broil it, or bake it for a perfect dinnertime protein, loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Take the chilled leftovers to the office and eat them cold on top of a simple lunchtime salad.
Who doesn’t love a glass of OJ? If you prefer to eat the fruit itself, 2 medium navel oranges should probably do the trick. That way, you get extra fiber from the pulp, which is good for your digestion. Either way, you’ll get plenty of vitamin C too.