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Sources of Potassium, the Essential Mineral You Probably Don’t Have Enough Of

Sources of Potassium, the Essential Mineral You Probably Don’t Have Enough Of

Potassium is an essential mineral that is needed by all the tissues in your body. And yet, chances are, you are not getting enough of it. Studying populations around the world, research revealed that current intakes of potassium are well below guidelines set forth by the WHO and Institute of Medicine1. Potassium plays an important role in heart health as well as the functioning of the kidneys, muscles and nerves. Knowing what sources of potassium to add to your diet can go a long way in ensuring that you remain healthy.

What Is the Role of Potassium?

Potassium plays a role in heart health and regulates kidney function2. As an electrolyte, potassium also carries a small electrical charge and helps the functioning of muscles and nerves3.

If your body is low in potassium, it can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of kidney stones. Having low potassium can even pull calcium out of your bones2.

To avoid health problems such as these, and to promote overall health, a diet with adequate potassium can be beneficial. To add more potassium to your diet, it’s important to know rich sources of potassium that you can add to your diet.

Potassium and Sodium

Potassium and sodium are linked and have opposite effects on the body. For example, while sodium in your blood can raise blood pressure, potassium can help to relax blood pressure and aids the body to excrete sodium.

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that individuals with high-sodium, low-potassium diets had a 20% greater chance of dying from heart attack or any other cause4.

How Much Potassium Should I Get Every Day?

Potassium stores in the body are difficult to measure as most potassium resides in cells. Because of this, there are currently no recommended daily allowance (RDA) guidelines for potassium by organizations like the WHO or the FDA. Insufficient evidence exists to give a recommendation.

While providing a comprehensive RDA has proven to be difficult, some health organizations have been able to provide an AI, or Adequate Intake, a level of food intake that ensures “nutritional adequacy” when RDA is not available.

The WHO recommends 3,510mg a day for adults to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease5.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), adequate intakes for potassium are as follows6:

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 400 mg 400 mg
7–12 months 860 mg 860 mg
1–3 years 2,000 mg 2,000 mg
4–8 years 2,300 mg 2,300 mg
9–13 years 2,500 mg 2,300 mg
14–18 years 3,000 mg 2,300 mg 2,600 mg 2,500 mg
19–50 years 3,400 mg 2,600 mg 2,900 mg 2,800 mg
51+ years 3,400 mg 2,600 mg

Sources of Potassium

Many of the foods you eat already have potassium. To increase your intake of potassium, all it takes is a little awareness of rich sources of potassium and small dietary changes. Try to eat more of these foods2:

1. Potatoes

Make sure to keep the skins on. A medium-sized baked potato with the skin on can contain 900mg of potassium.

2. Legumes

Beans are another excellent source of potassium.

  • White beans
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans (edamame)
  • Lentils

sources of potassium

3. Juices

While whole fruits are a great source of dietary fiber, even fruit juices can be healthy sources of potassium. In particular, try:

  • Orange juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Prune juice
  • Apricot juice
  • Grapefruit juice

4. Seafood

Even small servings of seafood can be rich in potassium. A small 3-ounce fillet can have 400mg of potassium. The following fish are also good sources of potassium:

  • Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Trout
  • Rockfish

5. Vegetables

Many vegetables are rich sources of potassium. A half-cup serving of cooked spinach, for example, contains up to 400mg of potassium.

  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Pumpkins
  • Leafy greens

6. Dairy

Milk is rich in many minerals, and potassium is no exception. One cup of skim milk has about 350mg of potassium. Yoghurt is another dairy product which is rich in potassium. A cup of plain yogurt will has more than 500mg per cup.

7. Fruits

Bananas top the list of fruits that are good sources of potassium. One medium-sized banana can give you about 422mg. Meanwhile, avocados take second spot with 364mg of potassium per half-cup serving. Half-cup servings of other fruits can give you around 250mg.

  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges
  • Dried peaches
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

8. Tomatoes

While technically a fruit, tomatoes deserve special mention because they are a rich source of potassium, and they are already a part of our diet in many different ways. A cup of chopped tomatoes has over 400mg of potassium, while tomato paste has more than 650mg per quarter-cup.

Key Takeaway

Because of worldwide dietary trends, there is a good chance that you aren’t getting enough potassium in your diet. The good news is it’s easy to add rich sources of potassium to your daily meals. Eating more fruits and vegetables can go a long way in getting more potassium, and this can lead to reduced blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 What Is the Evidence Base for a Potassium Requirement?https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2018/09000/what_is_the_evidence_base_for_a_potassium.4.aspx, Accessed October 4, 2021

2 10 Foods That Are High in Potassium, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/10-foods-that-are-high-in-potassium/, Accessed October 4, 2021

3 Potassium, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/potassium/, Accessed October 4, 2021

4 Sodium and Potassium Intake and Mortality Among US Adults, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/1106080, Accessed October 4, 2021

5 Potassium intake for adults and children, https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241504829, Accessed October 4, 2021

6 Potassium, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/, Accessed October 4, 2021

 

 

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Written by Cesar Beltran Updated 3 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel