Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that's well known to reduce blood pressure.
Because high blood pressure significantly raises the risk for kidney disease and cardiovascular disease such as stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure, adequate intakes of potassium are associated with their reduced occurrence.
Research also points to potassium's supportive role in bone mineral density, blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes. The electrolyte is involved with proper muscle contraction and nerve function.
How Much Potassium Do You Need?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends:
2,800mg/day for non-pregnant/lactating women 19 years and older
2,800-2,900mg/day for women 19 years and older who are pregnant or lactating
3,400mg/day for men 19 years and older
American women and men are not meeting those recommendations though, and instead are consuming on average about 2,600mg/day.
Consequences of Insufficient Potassium Intake
Low potassium intake can cause sodium retention and efflux of calcium from bone. Over time, these circumstances increase the risk for development of high blood pressure, insulin resistance, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and kidney stones.
Food Sources of Potassium
Fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins including dairy milk and yogurt are among the best natural sources of potassium.
High Potassium Foods: >500mg
Beet Greens (1 cup) - 1,300mg
Potato (1 medium) - 925mg
Lentils (1 cup cooked) – 730mg
Avocado (1 medium) - 690mg
Edamame (1 cup) - 675mg
Winter Squash (1 cup) - 580mg
Sweet Potato (1 medium) - 540mg
Medium Potassium Foods: 300-499
Salmon (3.5oz) – 470mg
Broccoli (1 cup cooked) – 440mg
Banana (1 medium) – 420mg
Pork Tenderloin (3.5oz roasted) – 420mg
Garbanzo Beans (1 cup) – 415mg
Tomatoes (1 medium, 1 cup whole cherry, 1 cup chopped) – 300-425mg
Asparagus (1 cup cooked) – 400mg
Yogurt (¾ -1 cup) – about 300mg
Carrots (1 cup) – 365mg
Chicken Breast (1 cup chopped) – 360mg
Milk (1 cup) – 360mg
Spinach, raw (2 cups) – 330mg
Hemp Hearts (3 Tbsp) – 330mg
Sirloin Beef (3.5oz) – 325mg
Oranges (1 cup) – 320mg
Red Sweet Peppers (1 cup, chopped) – 315mg
Sweet Cherries (1 cup) – 305mg
Kale (1 cup raw) – 300mg
Prunes (1 oz) – 300mg
Are you eating these foods and meeting your daily needs for dietary potassium every day?
The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. If you're interested in making dietary changes, guidance from a nutrition expert is highly advised. Please review our Nutrition & Wellness Services here: