A mineral multitasker, potassium is perhaps best known as the nutrient in bananas that acts as an electrolyte, keeping body fluid levels and acid/alkaline balance in check. But this essential nutrient plays a part in many other body functions, like helping your nerves and muscles communicate and moving nutrients into and waste products out of cells. From contributing to bone, kidney and heart health to supporting cellular energy production, potassium has a lot on its plate!*
Luckily, it’s easy to get enough of this essential mineral through diet. The recommended daily intake for adults is 4,700 mg daily, an amount than can be reached easily with foods most of us eat every day.
Here is a sampling:
- 1 medium-sized baked potato with skin: 926 mg
- ½ cup dried prunes: 637 mg
- ½ cup raisins: 598 mg
- ½ cup cooked acorn squash: 448 mg
- 1 medium banana: 422 mg
- ½ cup cooked spinach: 420 mg
- 6 oz. tomato juice: 417 mg
- 6 oz. of orange juice: 372 mg
- 1 Tbsp. molasses: 293 mg
- 1 medium orange: 237 mg
- 1 oz. almonds: 200 mg
Should you take a potassium supplement?
If you sweat a lot or suffer from a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, or if you take medications that affect potassium levels (some diuretics and laxatives are on this list), you may want to consider a potassium supplement. Licorice lovers should also beware! Ingesting very large amounts of black licorice can lead to potassium loss.
Most multivitamins and supplements containing potassium will limit the amount of potassium to 99 mg per serving. You can also take a potassium supplement on its own in capsule or liquid form. If you take potassium as a supplement, be sure to not exceed the recommended daily amount, and don’t take potassium supplements if you have kidney disease or are taking a potassium-sparing medication.
Rather not take a supplement, but need an electrolyte boost? Try mixing together molasses, orange juice and a banana in a blender to make a simple potassium-rich smoothie.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.