With evidence mounting, the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have advised people to get potassium from foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, bananas, cantaloupe, prunes, apricots, raisins, and kiwi are all high in potassium as are all the dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans, peas, squash, and tomatoes. And potato is a great source if you eat the skin. Milk and yogurt are also good sources, as are nuts, soy foods, salmon, cod, flounder, and sardines.
The daily target is 4,700 milligrams, according to the National Academy of Medicine. More than 95 percent of Americans get less than that. The average is just over 3,000 mg a day for men and 2,300 mg a day for women. If most everyone could just bump that up by 1,500 mg a day, we’d be doing pretty well.
In theory, you could get potassium from a supplement or a (potassium chloride) salt substitute. You could also get it from foods that replace some salt (sodium chloride) with potassium chloride. Odds are, more of those foods will start popping up on shelves before potassium numbers are required on Nutrition Facts labels in mid-2018. Supplements are extraordinarily safe as long as you don’t have kidney disease and aren’t taking a drug that interferes with potassium excretion in the kidney. If you’re taking an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure you should consult your physician. But there’s no need to talk to your doctor about eating more fruits and vegetables. To hit your potassium goal without a supplement, it is recommended to eat 11 servings of fruits and veggies a day.
Reprinted with permission by NutritionAction.com, Center for Science and Public Interest.
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