According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, potassium is an underconsumed nutrient, and because there are health concerns associated with low intakes of potassium, it is considered a nutrient of public health concern. Food manufacturers will be required to include potassium content on the new Nutrition Facts label. Potassium is a mineral that, among other things, helps muscles contract, helps regulate fluid and mineral balance in and out of body cells, and helps maintain normal blood pressure by limiting the effect of sodium. Potassium also may reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and bone loss as we age. Guidelines issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine were recently updated and recommend males 19 and older consume 3, milligrams mg of potassium per day and females of that same age group consume 2, mg daily.
Many automatic processes in the body run on small electric currents, and electrolytes provide this charge. Potassium supplements are available. The rich potassium content of avocados, in addition to their other healthy properties, make them an easy choice for helping meet your nutrient needs. Potassium is vital to bodily function but does not hold the answers to healthful living on its own. Related Coverage. To meet your daily potassium goal, consider adding some of these foods to your menu on a regular basis. Vitamins and other nutrients from whole foods have many health benefits. By activating certain proteins in your blood, vitamin K helps blood clot more easily.
Although the symbol for potassium on the periodic table of elements is a K, potassium is not the same as vitamin K. Both are essential micronutrients, but potassium is a mineral, not a vitamin, and has different functions in the body than vitamin K. While some foods contain both of these nutrients, the major sources for potassium and vitamin K are also different. Potassium is an electrolyte, meaning it helps conduct electricity through your body, enabling muscle contraction and helping to keep your heart beating properly. It counteracts the effects of sodium, helping you maintain normal blood pressure levels. Potassium also plays a role in digestion and building proteins, and helps maintain the proper balance between acids and bases in the body. Many foods contain potassium, so it isn’t common for people to be deficient in potassium unless they suffer from certain health problems — although not everyone consumes the recommended dietary allowance for adults of 4, milligrams per day. Some of the better sources of potassium include citrus juices, bananas, tomatoes, cantaloupes, avocados, potatoes, lima beans, meat, poultry, cod, flounder and salmon. Dairy products contain potassium, as do nuts, kiwi fruit, apricots, prunes, peas, broccoli, winter squash, sweet potatoes and soy products.