Mythbusting: Potassium


My mom gets these terrible foot and leg cramps sometimes after being on her feet too much or working out too hard at the gym. The first thing she does after getting them is go for bananas. Have any of you guys ever gotten leg cramps and been told to eat bananas?

Or maybe more commonly you know to eat a banana before an intense workout? Everyone just kind of assumes: you want potassium? Eat a banana. Got an intense workout? Eat a banana. I feel like everyone thinks the only way to get some potassium is a banana!

The FDA has determined that foods that contain at least 350 milligrams of potassium can bear the following label: “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”

It’s also been called nature’s energy bar, the ultimate sports drink, and other highly esteemed nicknames. There was even a study that discovered that cyclists who ate a banana before an endurance workout performed just as well as those who had an energy drink. One banana has 422 milligrams of potassium (about 11% of the daily recommended value).

The real question is: is there anything with more potassium than a banana?

12 Foods with More Potassium than a Banana

1. Halibut - 449 mg K per 3-oz serving
2. Low-fat yogurt - 531 mg K per 8-oz container
3. Butternut squash - 582 mg K per cup (& surprisingly packed with omega-3s!)
4. Lima beans - 707 mg K per cup
5. Lentils - 731 mg K per cup
6. Potatoes - 751 mg K per potato
7. Tomato sauce - 800 mg K per cup
8. Spinach - 839 mg K per cup
9. Swiss chard - 961 mg K per cup
10. Edamame - 970 mg K per cup
11. Avocado - 975 mg K per ‘cado
12. White beans - 1,189 mg K per cup

Any one of these delicious foods will give you the same natural energy boost before a big workout, if not more of a boost. They’ll also keep leg and foot cramps away!

What do you usually eat before a big endurance workout for a natural boost? Do any of you guys get bad leg or foot cramps? 

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  • The Healthy Collective

    Great post! I think we get stuck in the beliefs of older generations.

    Hilary x

  • Michele Burklund

    Great post Lisa! I ate a banana this morning. Maybe I will mix things up by cooking with some white beans too.

    xo, Michele

  • Erin @ The Almond Eater

    Ha! This is great-someone once told me about leg cramps their were having and I was like oh weird I never get those and they were like do you eat bananas a lot and I was like yeah and they told me that’s why. I didn’t know if it was true but apparently it is! I’ve entered for your giveaway too! Have a great weekend :)

  • Stephanie

    I was admitted to the hospital just over a year ago for too low potassium. It can kill you to not have enough!

  • TheHealthyMaven

    Good to know! I mostly just eat them because I have such a sweet tooth and they are the most convenient to eat on that list…especially loaded with PB!