Eat potassium-rich foods for optimal health

The mineral potassium is essential for the proper functioning of your body. Not eating enough potassium-rich foods could be detrimental to your health.

The foods we eat each day provide essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain optimal health. Potassium, a mineral, is very important mineral for maintaining proper blood pressure and for the normal functioning of cells, nerves and muscles. By learning more about this mineral, and other nutrients, you will be able to put your knowledge into action to understand the recommended daily intake of potassium across the lifespan and how to select potassium rich foods to achieve your daily intake goals.

Take a look at the daily potassium adequate intake chart below. Note that the need for potassium increases with age.

Children ages 1 to 3 years: 3000 mg potassium
Children ages 4 to 8 years: 3800 mg potassium
Youth ages 9 to 13 years: 4500 mg potassium
Age 14 to adults: 4700 mg potassium

Many people are surprised by the amount of potassium recommended for adults and wonder how to figure out how close they are to achieving the daily intake goals for potassium? The only way to know for sure is read the nutrition facts labels on each of the foods you eat. The food labels provide the milligrams of potassium for one serving. Simply add up the total amount of milligrams of potassium from all the food and beverages consumed during one day’s worth of meals and snacks.

You are not alone if you find that you are not getting enough potassium. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, many people are not eating the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables, beans and dairy foods which are all good sources of potassium. There is increased risk of developing chronic disease when eating habits do not provide the critical nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed each day. Potassium helps the body to maintain a healthy pH level to keep fluids balanced and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

It is best to get nutrients, minerals and vitamins from the foods we eat rather than relying on supplements. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, soybeans, seafood and dairy foods are excellent sources of potassium and are low in calories. Dried fruits such as prunes, apricots and peaches are simple snacks to tote along with you to increase daily intake of potassium. Milk and yogurt are delicious sources of this mineral.  The list of potassium rich foods provided in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 is a great resource. Also, if you aim to increase your potassium intake, be sure to check with a physician if taking medications or have a condition that affects how the body processes potassium such as kidney disease.  Remember how essential potassium is for your body and strive to eat more potassium rich foods.

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources