Nutrient-rich foods are the building blocks of a healthy diet. Such foods typically deliver a wide range of vitamins, minerals and beneficial substances, but certain nutrients rarely coexist at high levels in any food. While it’s not hard to find potassium-rich foods that are high in vitamin C and calcium-rich foods that are high in potassium, very few foods are excellent sources of all three nutrients.
Spinach packs more nutrients per calorie than virtually any other food. You’ll get close to 30 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and right around 25 percent each of the daily values for calcium and potassium from a 1-cup serving of cooked spinach, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Although they’re lower in calcium, beet greens are a better source of vitamin C and potassium – a cup of cooked greens supplies 60 percent, 37 percent and 16 percent of the daily values for vitamin C, potassium and calcium, respectively. Both vegetables, however, are also naturally rich in oxalate, which binds to calcium and interferes with its absorption.
Fresh soybeans are also uncommonly rich in potassium, calcium and vitamin C. A cup of the cooked vegetable delivers about 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin C and just under 30 percent each of the daily values for potassium and calcium, according to the USDA. Dried soybeans – the kind you have to soak before cooking – contain comparable amounts of potassium and calcium, but are otherwise low in vitamin C. Natto, a fermented soybean dish available at most health food stores, is particularly nutrient-rich – a 1-cup serving provides just over 35 percent of the daily value for potassium and nearly 40 percent each of the daily values for calcium and vitamin C.
Vegetable juice is generally rich in potassium, vitamin C and – provided the product has been enriched – calcium. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, an 8-ounce glass of calcium-enriched vegetable juice provides 120 percent, 30 percent and almost 20 percent of the daily values for vitamin C, calcium and potassium, respectively. Go for the low-sodium variety, as regular vegetable juice can pack close to 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. Apart from being slightly lower in potassium, calcium-fortified orange juice is nutritionally comparable – an 8-ounce glass supplies 140 percent, 35 percent and 13 percent of the daily values for vitamin C, calcium and potassium, respectively.
A food is rich in a certain nutrient if it provides at least 20 percent of the recommended daily value per serving. Therefore, any food that contains at least 700 milligrams of potassium, 200 milligrams of calcium and 12 milligrams of vitamin C per serving counts as a rich source of these nutrients. Many types of dried beans, certain dried fruits, some fresh fruits, broccoli, sweet potatoes and potatoes provide significant amounts of potassium, calcium and vitamin C. A large baked potato provides about 50 percent and 40 percent of the daily values for potassium and vitamin C, respectively, but just 5 percent of the daily value for calcium. All it takes is a dollop of yogurt, however, to turn a plain baked potato into a calcium-rich food.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Spinach, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Beet Greens, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Soybeans, Green, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Natto
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Chilled, Includes From Concentrate, Fortified With Calcium
- USDA National Nutrient Database: CAMPBELL’S, V8 Vegetable Juice, Calcium Enriched V8
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Potatoes, Russet, Flesh and Skin, Baked
- Wellness Foods A to Z: An Indispensable Guide for Health-Conscious Food Lovers; Sheldon Margen, M.D.
- American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide; Roberta Larson Duyff, M.S., R.D.