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Potassium Facts – What It Is & How to Get It

Potassium Facts

Potassium is an element (and an electrolyte) that’s essential for the body’s growth and maintenance. How so?

  • It’s necessary to keep a normal water balance between the cells and body fluids.
  • It plays an essential role in the response of nerves to stimulation and in the contraction of muscles.
  • It’s vital to cellular enzymes, which need potassium to work properly.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board, adults over the age of 19, adolescents between 14 and 18 years old, and pregnant women should consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day.

Foods High in Potassium

In the list of SuperFoods, white beans, spinach and yogurt are tops with potassium, but there are others you should check out. Here’s a list from the USDA of select goods and how many  milligrams (mg) of potassium you’ll get from them.

  • Winter squash, cubed, 1 cup, cooked: 896 mg
  • Sweet potato, medium, baked with skin: 694 mg
  • Potato, medium, baked with skin: 610 mg
  • White beans, canned, drained, half cup: 595 mg
  • Yogurt, fat-free, 1 cup: 579 mg
  • Halibut, 3 ounces, cooked: 490 mg
  • 100% orange juice, 8 ounces: 496 mg
  • Broccoli, 1 cup, cooked: 457 mg
  • Cantaloupe, cubed, 1 cup: 431 mg
  • Banana, 1 medium: 422 mg
  • Lentils, half cup, cooked: 366 mg
  • Milk, 1% low fat, 8 ounces: 366 mg
  • Pistachios, shelled, 1 ounce, dry roasted: 295 mg
  • Raisins, quarter cup: 250 mg
  • Tuna, light, canned, drained, 3 ounces: 201 mg

(NOTE FOR HEART PATIENTS: A potassium deficiency due to increased urinary loss often occurs when medication for certain heart diseases is used to prevent sodium and water retention. To overcome this loss, physicians often suggest eating more foods high in potassium.)

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