Canned Pumpkin and Potassium

by Ellen Douglas

Use pumpkin puree in place of butter or shortening to increase the nutrition of your baked goods.

KateSmirnova/iStock/Getty Images

Your doctor may suggest you add more potassium-rich foods to your diet to manage hypertension or control muscle cramping. Although richer dietary sources for potassium exist, canned pumpkin offers a moderate amount of the mineral. Canned pumpkin carries the additional attraction of being a good substitute for butter and oil in baked goods, making it a heart-healthy choice for its potassium content as well as for its ability to replace saturated fat.

Potassium Content

You’ll get about 5 percent of the recommended daily value for potassium from a 1/2-cup serving of canned pumpkin. For a child, the portion represents about 6.5 of her daily potassium needs. Other winter squash varieties are higher in potassium than pumpkin. The average winter squash contains seven times more potassium than pumpkin.

Potassium Needs

Adults and teens need 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. Preteens need 4,500 milligrams; children 4 to 8 require 3,800; and toddlers should get 3,000. The 1/2 cup canned pumpkin serving contains 250 milligrams. Potassium is a key part of the DASH -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- meal plan because it helps regulate blood pressure. Getting enough of the mineral also helps you avoid the cramps, muscle ache and fatigue associated with potassium deficiency.

Additional Nutrients

Canned pumpkin contains 40 calories in each 1/2 cup. It has no cholesterol and only 0.2 grams saturated fat. Canned pumpkin delivers about 380 percent of the DV for vitamin A, and is also a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and vitamins C and K.

Serving Suggestions

Use pumpkin puree in place of butter or shortening to increase the nutrition of your baked goods while also reducing fat. Some nutritionists recommend eliminating half of the fat from a recipe in place of an equal amount of canned pumpkin; others suggest experimenting with replacing all of the fat with an equal amount of pumpkin. Along with starring in well-known treats like pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, the fruit adds creaminess to hearty winter soups and stews. Alternatively, stuff ravioli with mashed pumpkin, or toss cubed canned pumpkin with pasta or rice.

High-Potassium Foods

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beet greens and tomato paste are among the foods richest in potassium. Other good sources of the mineral include white beans, clams, yogurt, prune juice, carrot juice, molasses, fish, soybeans, winter squash, bananas, milk, spinach, dried fruit, legumes, pork, plantains and orange juice.

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