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All About Potassium

By Mrs. Qula Madkin, MSU Extension Service

According to the “2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” potassium is an under-consumed nutrient, and many of us don’t get enough of it from our daily diets.

Potassium, like other nutrients, helps our bodies function properly. Potassium is a mineral that helps our bodies perform a number of functions, like muscle contractions, fluid regulation, and mineral balance in cells. It also helps us maintain normal blood pressure by limiting the effect of sodium.

Bananas are probably the first food that comes to mind when you think about potassium. But potassium is found in many foods, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, and beans. It's also found in dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, and nuts.

Food is the best way to get potassium. By eating a variety of foods every day, you can meet your potassium needs as well as get other important vitamins and minerals that promote health. However, some people may need supplements for a little extra help.

Keep in mind that not everyone needs more potassium. Some people may even need to decrease their potassium intake because of certain health conditions. So, it’s important to always talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements.

Whether you are increasing or reducing your potassium intake, you should learn which foods contain potassium and how much. Always check the Nutrition Facts Label when you are grocery shopping. Food manufacturers are now required to include potassium in the Nutrition Facts Label.

Here are just a few potassium-rich foods:

  • 1 medium baked potato with skin: 930 milligrams

  • 1 cup cooked spinach: 840 milligrams

  • 1/2 cup raisins: 618 milligrams

  • 1 cup cooked broccoli: 460 milligrams

  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe: 430 milligrams

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes: 430 milligrams

  • 1 medium banana: 420 milligrams

  • 1 cup raw carrot slices: 390 milligrams

  • 1 cup low-fat milk: 350 to 380 milligrams

  • 1 cup soy milk: 290 milligrams

  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils: 365 milligrams

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa: 320 milligrams

  • 8 ounces, nonfat yogurt: 625 milligrams

  • 3 ounces clams: 530 milligrams

  • Fish (mullet, pollock, trout): 380-395 milligrams

  • 1 cup coconut water: 395 milligrams

For a detailed list, visit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans web site.

For more information about potassium and how to incorporate potassium-rich foods into a balanced diet, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web site and the MyPlate website.

For more nutrition and wellness tips, join our MSU Nutrition and Wellness Facebook Group and visit the MSU Extension website.

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