Many plant-based foods, including squash, sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli and bananas, are high in potassium. Some animal products, such as pork tenderloin and yogurt, are also good sources of potassium. Adults need to consume about 4,700 mg of potassium per day for optimal health, and many people do not consume enough.
Bananas are commonly touted as a high-potassium food, and in fact they do contain 425 mg of potassium per serving. However, several foods are actually better sources of potassium. Winter squash, for example, contains 896 mg of potassium per cup, and one baked sweet potato contains 694 mg of potassium. One cup of fat-free yogurt contains 579 mg of potassium, and a cup of cooked broccoli contains 457 mg.
Potassium is a mineral that the human body needs to keep fluid levels in balance. It is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, and it plays important roles in muscle contraction and nervous-system function. Although most people require about 4,700 mg of potassium per day, some people have higher needs. Those with reduced kidney function, patients taking beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors, and patients taking thiazide diuretics often have higher potassium needs than the rest of the population and should be especially careful to include plenty of potassium-rich foods in their diets.