Friday, April 29, 2011

Potassium in Foods

Potassium is essential for good nutrition and health. It works with sodium to maintain the body's water balance. Potassium is involved in nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. A diet low in potassium and high in sodium may be a factor in high blood pressure. Increasing potassium in the diet may protect against hypertension in people who are sensitive to high levels of sodium.

One possible explanation for potassium's protective effect against hypertension is that increased potassium may increase the amount of sodium excreted from the body. The kidneys regulate the level of potassium in the body. Eating equal amounts of sodium and potassium is recommended. The recommended daily potassium intake is 4.7 grams a day. Persons involved in prolonged, hard exercise may need more potassium a day. 

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is higher in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and lower in sodium, total fat, and saturated fat. It may be useful for people who have hypertension to lower blood pressure.

Lack of Potassium May Result from Excess Losses due to:

  • Hard exercise 
  • Low-calorie diets (less than 800 calories per day) 
  • Chronic alcoholism 
  • Some diuretics and laxatives

Foods Rich in Potassium

Fruits (and Grain)

Custard Apple (Anonas)
All dark, green and leafy like:
Malbar night shade leaves (Alugbati)
Apricot (dried)
Green snap beans (Baguio beans)
Star Fruit/Carambolla (Balimbing)
Bamboo shoots
Banana (esp. latundan)
Banana blossom
Sweet potato (Camote) leaves or tops
Cereals (Whole grain)
Soursop (Guyabano)
Aztec kwamachilli (Kamatsili)
Chayote fruit
Cashew (Kasoy)
Chayote leaves
Jackfruit (Langka)
Lanzon (Lanzones)
Ebony (Mabolo)
Swamp cabbage (Kangkong)
Horse radish (Malunggay) leaves
Papaya (ripe)
Pineapple (juice)
Mustard leaves
Prunes (dried)
Raisins (dried)
Papaya (green)
Spong gourd (Patola)
Chinese cabbage (Pechay)


Jute (Saluyot)


Squash fruit


Bottle gourd (Upo)

Other succulent vegetables

Other Foods Rich in Potassium:

  • Meat 
  • Milk

In order to maintain the recommended ratio of sodium and potassium in our bodies, it is very important to eat potassium-rich foods specifically fresh fruits and vegetables with less consumption of processed foods. A moderate increase in dietary potassium, in addition to a reduction of excess sodium, may be beneficial, especially for people at risk for hypertension.

Healing Wonders of Diet Effective Guide to Diet Therapy p.243 © 2003 Philippine Publishing House ISBN 971-581-013-6 Benefits of Potassium J. Anderson, L. Young and E. Long1 (Revised 8/08) Retrieved on April 29, 2011


  1. Many thanks for your article. I agree with most of what you are saying here. Excessively high amounts of potassium is bad for the heart, and can cause rhythm problems. Potassium is good, but check with your doctor and make sure your serum (blood) potassium doesnt get too high!