Most Americans Aren’t Getting Enough of this Vital Nutrient

How To Get Enough Healthy Potassium In Your Diet

Potassium is crucial for good health. As WebMD notes:

Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for life. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally.

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Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility.

In addition, inadequate potassium intake makes us more susceptible to damage from radioactive cesium from Fukushima or other sources.

And many of us are overweight … because we’re not consuming enough vitamins and minerals in our diet.

But most Americans get too little of this vital mineral. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, notes:

Regardless of recommendations or sociodemographic or health characteristics, the vast majority of US adults consume too much sodium and too little potassium.

How much potassium do our bodies need every day?

Here are the recommended daily amounts:

Ages 1-3 Ages 4-8 Ages 9-13 Ages 14 Up
3,000 milligrams (mg) 3,800 mg 4,500 mg 4,700 mg

But it’s hard to get a sense of what those numbers mean … unless you can see the nutrient content of common foods.

So we’ve compiled a table showing the potassium content of various foods:

Food Milligrams (mg) per serving Percent Daily Value (DV) for someone age 14 or older
Food Milligrams (mg) per serving Percent Daily Value (DV) for someone age 14 or older
Potato, baked with skin, 1 926 20
Potato, baked without skin, 1 897 19
Winter squash, cooked, 1 cup 896 19
Avocado, 1 708 15
Sweet potato, medium, baked with skin 694 15
White beans, canned, drained, half cup 595 13
Yogurt, fat-free, 1 cup 579 12
100% orange juice, 8 ounces 496 11
Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces 490 10
Lima beans, cooked, 1/2 cup 485 10
Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup 457 10
Acorn squash, cooked, 1/2 cup 448 10
Cantaloupe, cubed, 1 cup 431 9
Banana, 1 medium 422 9
Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup 420 9
Pork tenderloin, cooked, 3 ounces 382 8
Lentils, cooked, half cup 366 8
Milk, 1% low fat, 8 ounces 366 8
Artichoke, cooked, 1 medium 343 7
Salmon, farmed Atlantic, cooked, 3 ounces 326 7
Steak, shoulder, grilled, 3 ounces 311 7
Pistachios, dry roasted, shelled, 1 ounce 295 6
Molasses, 1 tablespoon 293 6
Tomato, 1 medium 292 6
Raisins, quarter cup 250 5
Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce 241 5
Chicken breast, cooked, 3 ounces 218 5
Tuna, light, canned, drained, 3 ounces 201 4
Almonds, 1 ounce 200 4
Red wine, Merlot, 5 fluid ounces 187 4
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice 69 2
Egg, boiled, 1 63 1

Stock up on the above high-potassium foods, and aim for 100% of your recommended daily value for potassium … you’ll be healthier for it.

Note: Too much salt depletes potassium. So be moderate with your salt intake.

Postscript: A quick way to find out the nutrient content of any food is to Google it. For example, to find out how much potassium an egg has, you can Google “how much potassium egg“. Google will give you menu choices for different preparations (boiled, fried, raw, etc.) and different portion sizes.

Most Americans Aren’t Getting Enough of this Vital Nutrient was originally published on Washington's Blog