Potassium works with sodium to regulate muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmissions. What this means is potassium helps your heart to contract, your lungs to breathe in and out, your eyes to blink, your stomach to digest and your fingers to touch-tone a phone or Palm Pilot. Pretty important stuff!
The major sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables. Nature was kind enough to provide guidance in this area. The deeper orange a fruit or vegetable is, the more potassium usually is contained. Many people think they must eat only bananas or orange juice to get their daily potassium. Not so! The list includes sweet potatoes, winter squash (such as Hubbard or banana squash), raspberries, cantaloupe, mango and mango nectar, fresh and dried peaches and apricots, honeydew, Casaba and Persian melon and tomato, tomato salsa and tomato juice.
However, nature is allowed to be a bit deceptive. Sometimes natural advertising is subtle. Mushrooms, cooked beans and dried peas, peanut butter, figs, avocados, salmon and dairy products are also good sources of potassium, though they lack orange or red coloring.
Potassium is a water-soluble mineral. This means it is easily washed out of your system. To keep your heart beating and your eyes blinking, eat several servings of potassium-rich foods every day.
Get your fill
These foods have 300 or more milligrams of potassium per serving:
- 8 ounces whole, low-fat, nonfat milk and buttermilk
- 3 ounces cooked beef, liver, pork, canned salmon, chicken and veal
- 4 ounces dried apricots, raisins or prunes, 1 medium banana, 1/2 small cantaloupe or honeydew, 2 ounces dried dates and figs, fresh peaches and apricots, 1/2 medium avocado
- 4 ounces cooked beans
- 10 fresh mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 baked potato
- 1 baked sweet potato
- 1 medium tomato
- 6 ounces canned tomato juice
- 1 cup cold all-bran cereal