Find It in Figs: Potassium in Dried Figs

Pan-seared salmon with sauteed beet greens is a delicious way to increase your potassium with dried figs at dinner.
by Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN
Increase your potassium intake with these meal ideas using California Dried Figs.

Why do you eat figs? If your answer is “They taste good!”, you’re not alone. There are many reasons we choose foods, but taste is number one, according to fifteen years of consumer research conducted by the International Food and Information Council (IFIC) (1). The potassium in figs might just have you reaching for the bag too.

Healthfulness is an important and growing reason for choosing foods, too. In the latest 2020 IFIC survey, over half of respondents said that they care more about making healthy food choices today, compared to 10 years ago (1).  

Food package information, especially the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP), is key to helping people evaluate and compare the healthfulness of foods (2). You may have noticed the updated version of the NFP currently being phased in and required on all food packages by January 2021 (3).

Check out the updated label for a 100-calorie (40 gram) serving of Orchard Choice California Dried Figs or Figlets. Dried figs offer healthy amounts of three “nutrients of concern” that many Americans don’t get enough of – dietary fiber, calcium, and potassium (4). Potassium and vitamin D are new to the updated the nutrition label to help people recognize foods with these nutrients. Vitamins A and C are no longer required because deficiencies of these nutrients are rare.

Why is Potassium Important: Potassium in Dried Figs

One serving of Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs or Figlets has 270 milligrams or 6% of the Daily Value for potassium. Why is potassium so important? It plays a critical role in health, helping to power every heartbeat, muscle contraction and nerve transmission.  As an electrolyte, a mineral with an electric charge, potassium helps maintain proper fluid levels in the blood and tissues and move nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. Getting enough potassium in your diet may offset negative effects of sodium and protect against high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Two other key functions of potassium are to support health bones and kidney function. It may play a role in regulating blood sugar levels, too (5,6,7,8).

Potassium in Figs

Not only do figs contain potassium and other nutrients we generally need more of, they have none of the nutrients we are advised to eat less of – saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and, new to the updated Nutrition Facts panel, added sugars (4). “Added sugars” are sugars added during processing of foods, foods packaged as sweeteners such as table sugar, syrups, honey and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. “Total sugars” include naturally occurring sugars (in fruits, vegetables, and milk) and “added sugars” (9). 

Meal Ideas for Increasing Potassium

Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid California Dried Figs deliver on taste and healthfulness. Here are three meals and a snack that show how to combine California Dried Figs with other potassium-and nutrient-rich foods to make healthful eating a pleasure.

Bananas, step aside, the potassium in figs might surprise you. Learn more about potassium in dried figs + meal ideas to increase your intake.

Breakfast

Fig & Seed-Topped Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl – 25% Daily Value (DV) Potassium 

The smoothie combines Greek yogurt with pumpkin, mango, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. The toppings are sliced California Figs, pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds.  

Other Key Nutrients: 30% DV calcium, 35% DV iron, 54% DV dietary fiber, 28 grams of protein and 500 calories.

Spinach salad is a delicious way to incorporate in more potassium at lunch.

Lunch

Spinach Salad with Figs, White Beans, Avocado, Hazelnuts, Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette – 30% Daily Value Potassium

Other Key Nutrients: 15% DV calcium, 30% DV iron, 30% DV dietary fiber, 13 g protein, 450 calories.

For a post-workout snack full of potassium in figs, reach for coconut water, orange, and chocolate-dipped dried figs.

Post-Workout Snack

Chocolate-Dipped Dried Figs with Pistachios, Coconut Water and Fresh Orange – 25% Daily Value Potassium

Other Key Nutrients: 15% DV calcium, 15% DV iron, 36% DV dietary fiber, 8 grams protein, 410 calories.

Pan-seared salmon with sauteed beet greens is a delicious way to increase your potassium with dried figs at dinner.

Dinner

Pan-Seared Salmon with Beet Greens Sautéed with Dried Figs, Bell Pepper, Onion and Rosemary and Roasted Beets – 35% Daily Value Potassium

Other Nutrients: 15% DV calcium, 15% DV iron, 32% DV dietary fiber, 80% DV vitamin D, 30 grams protein, 400 calories. 

Note: To learn more about the new Nutrition Label see How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label, reference 9.

References

  1. Food and Health Survey https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Food-and-Health-Survey-.pdf
  2. IFIC Food Labeling Survey 2019  https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/IFIC-FDN-AHA-Report.pdf
  3. What’s New with the Nutrition Facts Label https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/whats-new-nutrition-facts-label
  4. Dietary Guidelines for Americans https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/
  5. Four Nutrients of Concern for All Americans https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/HHS/HHS-833-W.pdf
  6. Micronutrients: Potassium Kathleen Zelman. April 30, 2018. Food & Nutrition Magazine https://foodandnutrition.org/from-the-magazine/micronutrients-potassium/
  7. Potassium Fact Sheet foodinsight.org https://foodinsight.org/potassium-fact-sheet/
  8. Everything you need to know about potassium. Medical News Today. Megan Ware, RDN, L.D Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, Pharm.D. January 10, 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212#benefits

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *