Does Coffee Contain Potassium?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

As a coffee lover, have you ever wondered if your favorite beverage contains sodium and what level of sodium it contains? Here are a few things you should know about coffee and its relationship with potassium:


What is potassium

Potassium is a chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. It is a soft, silvery-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of elements. Potassium is highly reactive and forms numerous compounds essential for life, such as potassium chloride (KCl), which is vital in the body.

banana coffee

The daily recommended intake of potassium varies depending on age, sex, and other individual factors such as pregnancy and lactation. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), adults’ recommended daily potassium intake is 2,600-3,400 milligrams (mg) daily.

However, some organizations suggest higher intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily potassium intake of at least 3,510 mg for adults.

Coffee and potassium

Coffee contains a small amount of potassium, but the exact amount can vary depending on how the coffee is brewed and processed. An 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 116 milligrams of potassium. This may not seem significant, but when combined with other dietary sources of potassium, it can contribute to overall potassium intake. 

Factors that determine the potassium level in coffee

Studies have shown that the potassium content in coffee can vary widely, depending on several factors, such as:

Storage conditions

When coffee beans are stored, they can lose some of their potassium content due to oxidation, which is the reaction of the coffee with air. Exposure to light and moisture can also contribute to oxidation and potassium loss. Therefore, storing coffee beans in a cool, dry, and dark place is essential to minimize oxidation and preserve the potassium content.

Once the coffee has been brewed, the potassium level can also be affected by the storage conditions of the brewed coffee. If coffee is left sitting for an extended period, the potassium level can decrease due to oxidation and other chemical reactions that occur over time. 

Soil quality and fertilization practices

Research has shown that poor soil quality or inadequate fertilization practices can result in low potassium levels in the soil, leading to stunted plant growth and reduced potassium uptake.

On the other hand, excessive potassium fertilizer application can lead to high soil potassium levels, which can cause other mineral imbalances and negatively affect coffee plant health. 

Water quality

The potassium level in water can vary depending on the source and quality of the water. For example, if the water used to brew coffee is high in potassium, the resulting coffee may have a higher potassium content. Conversely, if the water is low in potassium, the coffee may have a lower potassium content.

To ensure that the water used to brew coffee does not significantly impact the potassium level, it is recommended to use high-quality, filtered water. This can help remove any unwanted minerals or impurities that may affect the flavor and nutritional content of the coffee.

Types of coffee and their potassium content

Instant coffee 

A 1-teaspoon serving of instant coffee contains approximately 47mg of potassium. This is because the processing of instant coffee involves roasting, grinding, and dry-freezing, which can lead to a loss of some of the coffee bean’s potassium content. 

Decaf coffee 

Decaf coffee has slightly more potassium than regular coffee, with an average of 128 milligrams per eight-ounce cup. This coffee is one of the best coffee for someone looking for high potassium content because it is a type of coffee that has had most or all of its caffeine removed.

Espresso coffee

On average, a 1-ounce (30-milliliter) shot of espresso contains approximately 22mg of potassium. It has higher potassium content than drip coffee. This is because espresso is made by forcing steam through finely-ground coffee beans, producing a more concentrated coffee with a higher mineral content. 

Limitations of coffee as a source of potassium

Limitations for individuals with specific dietary needs

Individuals on a low-potassium diet for medical reasons, such as those with kidney disease, may need to limit their potassium-rich foods, including coffee. 

Additionally, individuals with caffeine sensitivity or intolerance may need to avoid or limit their intake of coffee, which may limit their ability to use coffee as a source of potassium.

Caffeine content

Caffeine is a diuretic, which can increase urine production and lead to potassium loss through urine. Moreover, high caffeine consumption can cause negative health effects such as jitteriness, anxiety, insomnia, and sometimes even heart palpitations or arrhythmias. These negative effects can outweigh the potential benefits of using coffee as a source of potassium.

Therefore, while coffee can be a source of potassium, it is important to consider the potential negative effects of caffeine.

Health risks 

Relying on coffee as the primary source of potassium in the diet can be risky, as it may lead to inadequate potassium intake and related health problems.

A deficiency of potassium, also known as hypokalemia, can have various symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, constipation, and low blood pressure.

Tips for maximizing the potassium content of your coffee

Here are some tips that can help maximize the potassium content of your coffee.

Add potassium-rich additives

Adding a small amount of potassium chloride (KCl) to your coffee can significantly increase its potassium content. KCl is a common salt substitute often used by people who need to limit their sodium intake. 

While adding KCl can increase the potassium content of your coffee, it is important to use it in moderation and to follow any guidance provided by a healthcare provider. 

Other potassium-rich additives that can be added to coffee include coconut water or coconut milk, which contain high potassium levels.

Pair coffee with potassium-rich foods

Another way to maximize the potassium content of your coffee is to combine it with other potassium-rich foods. For example, adding a banana or avocado to your morning coffee can increase the overall potassium content of your breakfast.

Adding a pinch of cinnamon or cocoa powder to your coffee can also provide a small amount of potassium.

Experiment with different brewing methods

Some brewing methods, such as French press or espresso, may result in higher potassium levels than other methods. Experimenting with different brewing methods can help you find a method that maximizes the potassium content of your coffee.

Health benefits of coffee’s potassium content

Some of the benefits of potassium in coffee include:

It helps regulate blood pressure and heart health

Studies have shown that potassium plays a critical role in regulating blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium in the body. A diet high in potassium and low in sodium has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Supports healthy muscle function and exercise performance

Potassium is also important for healthy muscle function, and coffee can be particularly beneficial for athletes and active individuals. It regulates muscle contractions and may improve exercise performance, particularly endurance activities like running or cycling.

It can help prevent kidney stones and support kidney health

Another benefit of potassium in coffee is its potential to prevent kidney stones and supports kidney health. Potassium can help prevent the formation of calcium oxalate stones, a common type of kidney stone, and may also reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Supports overall electrolyte balance in the body

Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate the balance of fluids in the body. Along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium, potassium is involved in many important bodily functions, such as muscle contractions and nerve impulses. 

Electrolytes help maintain proper hydration levels, pH balance, and cellular function.

Side effects of over-consumption of potassium

Over-consumption of potassium can lead to adverse effects on health. Some potential side effects include:

Hyperkalemia

Hyperkalemia is a condition with an abnormally high potassium level in the bloodstream. This can occur due to excessive potassium intake or other factors such as kidney disease or certain medications.

When potassium levels in the blood are too high, it can interfere with normal heart function and lead to potentially life-threatening complications. Symptoms of hyperkalemia include weakness, nausea, irregular heartbeat, and in severe cases, cardiac arrest.  

Dehydration

Excessive potassium intake can also lead to kidney problems in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease. The kidneys play a vital role in maintaining a proper balance of potassium. 

When potassium levels are too high, it can strain the kidneys and cause them to malfunction. This can lead to various symptoms, including fatigue, fluid retention, and decreased urine output.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Consult a healthcare professional for medical concerns. The author and publisher are not liable for any actions taken based on this article.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.