• EBM

Top ten: sources of potassium

Why do I need it?

This mineral is an electrolyte as it is very reactive in water, it is an essential nutrient needed for the maintenance of fluid volume, acid and electrolyte balance, and normal cell function (1). Strong evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has shown that a combination of lowering sodium and raising potassium consumption is a powerful method of reducing blood pressure, death via cardiovascular disease and medical costs (2, 3).


How much do I need?

What the experts suggest: The World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘suggests a potassium intake of at least 3510 mg/day for adults’ (4).

This is similar to the UK guidelines, according to the NHS ‘adults (19 to 64 years) need 3,500mg of potassium a day. You should be able to get all the potassium you need from your daily diet’ (5).


Where can I find it?

Top 10 sources per 100g to munch on (6).

Tomatoes, sun-dried 3,427mg

Apricots, dehydrated 1,850mg

Soybeans, raw 1,797mg

Beans, white, raw 1,795mg

Lima beans, raw 1,724mg

Bananas, dehydrated 1,491mg

Beans, kidney, raw 1,490mg

Beans, black, raw 1,483mg

Molasses 1,464mg

Beans, pinto, 1,393mg


Although spices have very high amounts per 100g, we consume them in much lower quantities and therefore they do not make the top 10 - but it’s still great to know which ones are best!


Spices, tarragon, dried 3,020mg

Spices, parsley, dried 2,683mg

Spices, basil, dried 2,630mg

Spices, paprika 2,280mg

Spices, turmeric, ground 2,080mg

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened 1,524mg


Top Tip

When foods are processed from their natural whole form, the potassium contained within the food is often reduced, therefore diets with more processed foods compared to those containing many fresh fruits and vegetables tend lack potassium (7).



Evidence

.1. Young DB. Role of potassium in preventive cardiovascular medicine. Boston, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.

.2. Chang HY, Hu YW, Yue CS et al. Effect of potassium-enriched salt on cardiovascular mortality and medical expenses of elderly men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006, 83(6):1289–1296.

.3. Kawasaki T, Itoh K, Kawasaki M. Reduction in blood pressure with a sodium-reduced, potassium- and magnesium-enriched mineral salt in subjects with mild essential hypertension. Hypertension Research, 1998, 21(4):235–243.

.4. WHO. Guideline: Potassium intake for adults and children. Geneva, World Health Organization (WHO), 2012.

.5. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/ [Visited on 03.05.19].

.6.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/report/nutrientsfrm?max=25&offset=0&totCount=0&nutrient1=306&nutrient2=307&nutrient3=&subset=0&sort=c&measureby=g [Visited on 04.05.19].

.7. Webster JL, Dunford EK, Neal BC. A systematic survey of the sodium contents of processed foods. Am J Clin Nutr, 2010, 91(2):413-420.

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