Function: Potassium is an electrolyte which works to balance body fluids. These actions affect nerve signaling, muscle contraction and the toning of blood vessels. The role of potassium in lowering elevated blood pressure is increasingly well-documented.

Sources: A variety of fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium. Key food sources include: potatoes with the skin, prune juice, leafy green vegetables, white beans, plain yogurt, tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes with skin, lima beans, bananas, apricots, melon, dairy products and seafood.

Recommended daily intake: The Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board set the Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium at 4,700 milligrams per day for adults. At this level, observational intake studies have noted lower blood pressure levels, a reduction in the harmful effects of sodium, a reduced risk for kidney stones, and possibly a decrease in bone loss. However, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has not been established since there is insufficient data from dose-response trials.

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