As you probably know, potassium (shown on the periodic table under the symbol K) is a soft, silvery-white mineral. In the human body, it acts as an electrolyte, and is crucial in the contraction of muscles, keeping the heartbeat steady and regular, and assists in proper nerve functioning .
One of its most helpful attributes in today’s world of highly processed, salt-laden food is its ability to act as a buffer for sodium, counteracting and blunting its harmful effects on blood pressure. If you’re keen on your salty food or concerned about your blood pressure generally, then making sure to include potassium-rich vegan food sources in your diet can be really beneficial.
Benefits of potassium also include helping cells absorb nutrients and get rid of waste, promotes strong muscles, aids in the maintenance of good bone density, and also reduces the risk of kidney stones, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes .
As you can see, it’s definitely something you would want to add into your daily consumption and the recommended daily potassium intake is 3500mg per day .
Plants use potassium to open and close the stomata on their leaves to regulate CO2 uptake for photosynthesis – making them an ideal source for this vital mineral.
Let’s explore the top 10 high potassium plant-based food!
- Potassium: 1464 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 42%
To make cane syrup, sugar cane is mashed to extract the juice and then boiled down to concentrate it. Boil it again, and you’ve got molasses, boil it a third time, and you get blackstrap molasses, that dark, viscous liquid with its characteristic strong flavor. Each time you boil down and concentrate the cane syrup, it gets lower in overall sugar content, but with a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals, including potassium.
Aside from being an excellent natural source of potassium, blackstrap molasses is also packed with iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants such as polyphenols. Further, blackstrap molasses help stabilize blood sugar levels and therefore useful for diabetics and its iron and calcium content make it good for strengthening bones and reducing the risk of anaemia.
For vegans, it’s a useful substitute for honey in many recipes, and can be used in the baking of cakes, cookies, biscuits, brownies, muffins, and pies. It can also be used in sweet treats like homemade energy bars and flavorsome desserts and works especially well as a glaze thanks to its consistency. It’s also a great addition to salad dressings and in seasonal drinks and hot beverages.
2) Dried Apricots
- Potassium: 1162 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 33%
Because they’ve been dehydrated, dried apricots are a highly concentrated source of nutrients – including potassium, iron, vitamin A and antioxidants. They’re ideal for busy people who need a handy, portable, high-energy healthy snack to keep them going, or to satisfy that occasional sugar craving without resorting to unhealthy sweets!
They’re also packed with fiber for a healthy digestive system and have been found to promote better eye and skin health as well. If you’re keen on baking, they make an interesting addition to oatmeal cookies or muffins!
They can also be added to fruit salads to add an interesting twist.
3) Tomato Paste
- Potassium: 1014 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 29%
Every keen cook should have a few tins, tubes or sachets of tomato paste or puree on hand to add flavor to many dishes. Not only are they are a concentrated source of potassium, but also contain all the beneficial components found in fresh tomatoes, including fiber, iron, copper and vitamins A, C, and E.
The tomato’s most famous beneficial antioxidant, the carotenoid Lycopene which gives them their deep red color is actually more bioavailable (more easily absorbed by the body) in tomato paste form than from fresh tomatoes . Tomato paste and puree consumption is associated with better immunity, eye health, and red blood cell functioning. They also assist in fighting aging thanks to all those antioxidants.
In the kitchen, they have an almost endless variety of uses, from hearty stews, soups and curries, to tasty pasta and rice dishes – not forgetting those delicious vegan pizzas!
4) Beet Greens
- Potassium: 1014 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 29%
Beetroots are renowned for their amazing range of health benefits but their leaves pack an incredibly powerful nutritional punch!
One of the best sources of potassium, they also contain vitamins A, B2, C, E, and K, as well as plenty of fiber,
manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium. Like a root vegetable, beetroot greens are a rich source of nitrates, which can help to lower blood pressure, keep vein and artery walls healthy, and even boost athletic and mental performance. In addition, beet leaves help to fight cancer and inflammation and improve digestive health.
Beet greens can be used raw in salads and smoothies or served hot with rice, pasta or potato dishes.
- Potassium: 744 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 21%
Often described as ‘nature’s candy’, raisins are dehydrated grapes or currants which provide a concentrated source of energy and can either be consumed as a handy snack or used in baking. Aside from potassium, they’re also a great source of iron and can, therefore, be helpful for those prone to anaemia. They provide a rich source of fiber to aid in digestion, antioxidants, several vitamins, as well as electrolytes and trace minerals.
Use them as a tasty addition to salads, or sprinkle some with your morning oatmeal or cereal as a natural sweetener. They’ve been a popular staple in the baking of breads, cookies, and muffins for many years, or can simply be eaten as is when you’re in need of a quick energy boost.
- Potassium: 733 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 21%
Just a third of a cup of almonds contains around 350 mg of potassium, accounting for about 10% of your daily requirement. Like most nuts, they’re a great source of other minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and iron, as well as fat-soluble vitamins A and E.
In the kitchen, almonds are a versatile superfood that can be used in a number of ways and depending on where you live, they’re often more affordable and readily available.
They’re also an excellent source of proteins and fiber and can help protect cells against oxidative stress, control blood sugar levels and help to lower blood pressure. They have been associated with a reduction in LDL – what we commonly call the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol. An easy way to incorporate them into your diet is by having it as a snack or packing a small handful with your lunch for the day.
7) Prunes (dried plums)
- Potassium: 732 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 21%
We’ve long associated prunes (which are essentially sun-dried plums) with their ability to aid digestion and relieve constipation thanks to their high fiber content – but they are also an excellent source of potassium, vitamins B and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, manganese, and retinol (commonly known as vitamin A) – which promotes good eyesight as well as healthy, supple-looking skin and hair.
These unassuming, wrinkly-looking fruit can help lower blood pressure, keep bones strong and protect against osteoporosis, reduce the risk of heart disease, and are an exceptional source of antioxidants. In fact, prunes have been found to contain more than twice the levels of beneficial antioxidants than blueberries!
Like raisins, they’re a great natural source of iron, so are a useful and tasty addition to the diet of anyone at risk of anaemia. Enjoy them as a quick snack on their own, incorporate them in smoothies or juices, in stews, oatmeal or cereal, or use them as a topping for waffles or pancakes. For keen bakers, there are a number of delicious vegan tart recipes out there which make use of prunes as a major ingredient.
8) Dark Chocolate
- Potassium: 715 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 20%
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to savor really good dark chocolate, you’ll understand that there’s something special going on here! Known for its ability to enhance mood by releasing endorphins in the brain, dark chocolate is also a great source of potassium – as if you needed another reason to indulge!
It also boasts an impressive range of antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids like catechins, minerals such as zinc, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B, E and K.
As such, the consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa powder has been associated with a number of health benefits, including protection against free radicals, improved blood flow, lipid profile, and reduced blood pressure. It may also help to improve brain function and increase insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of type II diabetes.
Check here for our review on vegan chocolate brands.
- Potassium: 705 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 20%
As you might know, peanuts are not actually nuts, rather a member of the legume family of ‘groundnuts’. Like all legumes, they’re associated with an abundance of health benefits – ideally consumed in their whole, unprocessed form. These little protein powerhouses are rich in healthy fats as well as complex carbohydrates and a host of nutrients, including vitamin E and several of the B vitamins, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and folate.
They’ve been shown to promote healthy skin, lower the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease and enhance memory, and may also be useful for weight loss and during pregnancy.
Chopped peanuts can be used as a delicious, crunchy topping for a variety of sweet and savory dishes, and you’ll find recipes using them as an ingredient in everything from baked goods and desserts to pasta dishes and salads. You can add them whole to cereals or oatmeal, or blend them into sauces, spreads, dips, and dressings. They can also act as an affordable substitute for more expensive nut varieties in most nut-based dishes. With so many uses, it’s hardly surprising that peanuts are the most consumed ‘nut’ in the world!
- Potassium: 660 mg (per 100g) 
- Daily value: 19%
Crunchy and delicious cashew nuts can be consumed in their whole form and cashews are being widely used to make a range of vegan dairy alternatives like cashew milk, cheese, ice cream, and even yogurt.
They are packed with nutrients that can help you achieve robust health – including vitamins B, E and K, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, selenium, calcium, and zinc. They can provide a quick energy boost, and have been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, and promote better glucose management. They help support a healthy immune system, strengthen muscles and bones, and maintain good eye health as well.
They can be enjoyed as a handy snack, used in baking, added to salads, and used in your favorite desserts, cereals or oatmeal. As one of the most popular nuts worldwide, the list of recipes using cashew nuts is always growing – especially in vegan takes on comfort foods like ‘mac & cheese’!
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- Dried apricots: Hans (pixabay)
- Molasses: Marshall (flickr)
- Tomato paste: Marco Verch (flickr)
- Beet greens: JillWellington (pixabay)
- Raisins: pixabay
- Almonds: Stevepb (pixabay)