This article will provide a list of 10 low-carb foods that are high in potassium, along with some ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet.
Before we go into the list of potassium-rich foods, though, let’s take a look at why potassium is so important for our health.
Why is Potassium Important?
Potassium is an essential mineral for maintaining a healthy body.
As an electrolyte, potassium plays a significant role in cellular and electrical function, as well as in the maintenance of an optimal water balance in the body.
The Link Between Potassium and Sodium
Many people demonize salt for raising blood pressure and causing all sorts of health problems. However, the relationship and balance between sodium and potassium in the diet is likely more important than salt intake alone.
Mainstream nutrition advice tends to focus on cutting salt out to ensure sodium and potassium are balanced, which kind of makes sense.
That is until you consider that sodium is also an essential nutrient and that salt restriction can do more harm than good.
The real solution is to cut out packaged junk food, eat nutritious whole foods, and increase the amount of potassium in our diet.
Here are ten foods that are high in this essential mineral. Note: the values for meat are all based on the meat being cooked.
1Bacon (539mg, 15.4% DV per 100g)
You probably expected to see some green vegetable here rather than bacon.
But actually, bacon is one of the most low-carb potassium-rich foods in existence. It has 539mg potassium per 100g (6).
It is loaded with B vitamins and a decent range of minerals.
Bacon, probably unfairly, gets a bad reputation due to the large amount of dietary fat and nitrates it contains.
The truth is: bacon is a reasonably nutritious food.
The classic way to eat bacon is still the best – as part of a hearty breakfast, joined by eggs and mushrooms.
Per 1 slice
Potassium: 44mg Carbohydrate: 0.11g Sugar: 0g
2Oysters (242mg, 6.9% DV per 100g)
Oysters are an incredibly nutrient-dense food.
The potassium content is 242mg potassium per 100g (7).
Aside from potassium, they supply impressive amounts of selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Unfortunately, shellfish is not so popular in modern times, and few of us are eating oysters – instead preferring foods such as chicken breast and varieties of lean white fish.
This situation is a shame because oysters are in plentiful supply, sustainable, ethically raised, and extremely nutritious. So if you aren’t currently eating them, perhaps you should look into it.
Per medium oyster
Potassium: 143mg Carbohydrate: 2.5g Sugar: 0.57g
3Cacao (1524mg, 44% DV per 100g)
Cacao contains an array of health-supportive nutrients in large amounts.
It is one of the biggest sources of potassium in the world, containing an impressive 1524mg potassium per 100g (8).
Cacao exerts an impressive range of health-protective effects in the body, having positive effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance, protecting LDL-cholesterol from oxidation, and even protecting the skin against UV light (11, 12, 13, 14).
Cacao can be consumed as a drink; a simple hot chocolate made with a serving of cacao powder, a touch of heavy cream, and a little natural sweetener to taste (erythritol or stevia).
Or you can have dark chocolate – but make sure you select a bar that has a cacao content of 85% or over. One ounce of 85% dark chocolate will contain about 3g sugar, which isn’t anything to worry about.
Be careful when buying, though. Many so-called dark chocolate bars only contain about 40% cacao or even less – meaning that over half of the bar by weight is sugar.
Two bars I recommend are Vivani and Green & Blacks; both of these dark chocolate bars come in at 85% cacao, have wholesome ingredients, and they are also organic.
Per tbsp cacao
Potassium: 82mg Carbohydrate: 3.1g Sugar: 0.1g
4Spinach (558mg, 16% DV per 100g)
Spinach is probably the vegetable I include most in my diet; it’s extremely nutrient-dense, cheap, and tasty.
This green leafy vegetable contains an impressive 558mg potassium per 100g (15).
The way you cook spinach is also important. Many people boil spinach, but the beneficial nutrients can leach into the water during cooking. Steaming is a gentler cooking technique, and it better preserves the nutrients.
Spinach is becoming popular in raw food groups and is often used in green smoothies.
However, you should be careful about excessively eating raw spinach as it contains a relatively large amount of oxalic acid, which can hinder mineral absorption and has links to the formation of kidney stones (16).
Cooking spinach, however, reduces oxalate concentration by 5-87%, depending on the method and, presumably, cooking time (17).
Potassium: 167mg Carbohydrate: 1.1g Sugar: 0.1g
5Beef (350mg, 10% DV per 100g)
Wrongly vilified for years, red meat is one of the most nutritious foods we have available to us.
Beef contains an impressively high number of beneficial vitamins and minerals, and potassium is no exception.
100g of beef provides 350mg potassium (18).
Per 5oz steak
Potassium: 491mg Carbohydrate: 0g Sugar: 0g
6Swiss Chard (379mg, 11% DV per 100g)
Swiss chard is one of the most nutritious vegetables available.
Just as it is for several other essential nutrients, swiss chard is also high in potassium, providing 379mg per 100g (19).
Swiss chard has significant amounts of Vitamin A, C, K, and magnesium.
But the micronutrients in swiss chard are not the whole story.
Swiss chard has some interesting research behind it regarding the antioxidant properties it exerts. Several studies have linked it to possible decreased oxidative injury in diabetics (20).
Additionally, the active phytochemicals contained in the leaves have promise for fighting cancer (21).
Potassium: 136mg Carbohydrate: 1.35g Sugar: 0.4g
7Pork (419mg, 12% DV per 100g)
Pork is another food that supplies an ample amount of potassium.
I’m always confused when I see a “foods high in potassium” list that only contain vegetables. After all, most meat products are among the very highest sources of potassium.
Going back to pork, you can expect to find approximately 419mg potassium per 100g (22).
Potassium: 593mg Carbohydrate: 1.35g Sugar: 0.4g
8Avocado (351mg, 10% DV per 100g / 1067mg, 30% DV per fruit)
It’s unique in that, unlike most fruit, it isn’t sweet. That’s because an avocado contains a significant amount of healthy fat rather than fructose.
The nutrient profile of this fruit is nothing short of amazing:
- More fiber than most whole grains
- Large amounts of healthy monounsaturated fat
- Incredibly dense in beneficial vitamins and minerals
- A particularly good source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E
The potassium content is 351mg per 100g. When you consider that one avocado is about 300g by weight, you can understand just what a great potassium source it is (23).
Out of the 23g carbohydrate in an avocado, 17g is fiber.
Health Benefits of Avocado
Additionally, the science behind avocados shows what an outstanding food it is for our overall health.
- In a study that examined the effect of avocados on satiety, participants who included half an avocado with their lunch reported a 40% decreased desire to eat over a 3-hour period (24).
- Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome (25).
- Avocados have been shown to reduce inflammatory responses when consumed with a junk food meal (26).
- Oleic acid, the main fatty acid in avocados, has been shown to decrease inflammation (27).
Potassium: 1067mg Carbohydrate: 23.8g Sugar: 7.4g
9Wild-caught Salmon (628mg, 18% DV per 100g)
Salmon is delicious and one of the healthiest foods on earth.
With our oceans and rivers becoming more and more polluted by the day, fortunately, salmon is also one of the fish lowest in mercury contamination (30).
Overall it’s an excellent choice for any diet – and it’s a great choice for potassium too.
Salmon’s potassium content is 628mg per 100g (31).
If you’re looking for a creativity salmon recipe, then look no further.
Potassium: 890mg Carbohydrate: 0g Sugar: 0g
10Mushrooms (396mg, 11% DV per 100g)
Who doesn’t love mushrooms?
They taste great, provide a ton of health benefits, and they fit well with almost any food.
Mushrooms contain approximately 396mg potassium per 100g, although obviously there are different types of mushrooms which will slightly vary (32).
For a quick and easy potassium-rich food, try this simple recipe:
1. Blend a can of 100% coconut cream with as many mushrooms as you desire.
2. Add salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
3. Heat until cooked through.
4. Now you have a creamy, mushroom soup to accompany your meal.
Potassium: 428mg Carbohydrate: 4.36g Sugar: 0g
Potassium is an important nutrient that we should strive to include in sufficient quantities.
Thankfully, most of the foods that have a high potassium content are among the tastiest foods in the land.
Who could say no to steak and an avocado, followed by a few pieces of dark chocolate?
One thing I’d like to see is for dietary advice to stop only recommending fruit and vegetables to “get your vitamins.” Sure, they are healthful – but many animal foods are much more nutrient-dense.
So make sure you get your nutrients – eat your steak, mushrooms, and avocados!
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