Foods to Eat to Increase Blood Potassium Levels

Posted by Tara on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Although I take a whole food mulit-vitamin every day and try to eat healthy, I was surprised to recently learn my blood potassium was a bit too low.  The fancy scientific term for this condition is called HYPOKALEMIA.  Potassium is an electrolyte and a mineral essential to maintaining proper fluid levels in the body as well as keeping both our voluntary and involuntary muscles in check.  After a two day ski trip I experienced an episode of AFIB – a condition where the top part of the heart (atrium) gets out of rhythm with the lower part of the heart (ventricle).  Although there can be other reasons for AFIB, low potassium is one of the causes. After a checkup with my Doc, he ordered some blood tests which confirmed I’m not getting enough potassium.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is 4-5 GRAMS.  Most people assume we need to eat more bananas to get enough potassium in our diet.  Although there is some potassium in a medium sized banana, one would need to consume nearly 10 bananas a day to get 4-5 grams of potassium.  Most servings of potassium rich foods contain less than 1000 milligrams of the mineral and are high in carbohydrates.  A cup of raisins contains approximately 1200 milligrams of potassium, but packs a lot of natural sugar. Servings of prunes, Lima beans, and baked potatoes with skins contain impressive amounts of potassium too – more than a medium sized banana. Following are some more foods containing potassium, although not nearly as much as the ones already mentioned ones. I got this list from http://www.vitamins-minerals-in-food.com:

  • Dry roasted peanuts
  • Pears
  • Tomato products
  • Melons
  • Yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Papaya
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Dried beans
  • Winter Squash
  • Molasses
  • Milk
  • Kiwi
  • Parsley
  • Dried figs
  • Dried dates
  • Avocados
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Orange
  • Nectarines
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Buttermilk

I will certainly try to incorporate more of these foods in my diet, but for now I will also follow Doc’s recommendation to take a prescription strength dose of this precious nutrient every day. And if your family does not regularly eat any of the foods on this list, you may want to consider adding a few of them to the menu rotation.  Your muscles and your heart with thank you!

Filed in Miscellaneous | 4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Foods to Eat to Increase Blood Potassium Levels”

  1. Shawnon 11 Jan 2012 at 7:24 am 1

    Hope you are feeling better. And I thought bananas was the best of foods when it came to potassium. Thanks for the info

  2. carolinaheartstringson 11 Jan 2012 at 9:08 am 2

    Take care of yourself and get to feeling better. That is a huge list and I do eat many of those foods! Who knew they were good for potassium too!. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Jill Worltonon 13 Aug 2013 at 7:08 pm 3

    Tara I have been looking at your website for a few weeks, but today I found this post about your A-fib. I have a 17 year old boy who has been struggling with this since January. He is in excellent shape. He is a wrestler and is very conscientious about fitness in every way. Just last night at 2 am we were headed to the ER because he was experiencing some pretty uncomfortable symptoms. His Cardiologist has determined that it is genetic and has put him on medication to control it. We have no family history of A-fib. His 3 other siblings have not had a problem. I have had a problem with the doctor just handing out medication with a lifelong sentence. Is your A-fib under control? Have you had any more problems since you discovered a mineral deficiency? How did you get your doctor to look outside the box. I would be open to any suggestion you have. I am looking for a new doctor. For a kid who never had a problem before January, I am unwilling to accept this as a permanent condition. Hope you can share. Thanks Jill

  4. Taraon 20 Aug 2013 at 9:30 pm 4

    Jill please look for a personal email from me to you regarding your questions. I think I sent it last week. Thanks.

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