How to Add More Potassium to Diet

Potassium is a naturally-occurring nutrient that exists in every cell of your body. It is essential to many important bodily functions such as supporting normal muscle contraction, transmitting nerve impulses, maintaining appropriate fluid balance, supporting strong bones, protecting against or lowering high blood pressure, and energy production. It is believed that many adults are not getting enough potassium in their diets, a condition known as "hypokalemia." In mild cases, a slight elevation in blood pressure may be noticed, or there may be no symptoms at all. A moderate potassium deficiency can cause muscle weakness, pain and/or cramps and constipation, with more serious symptoms in the case of severe deficiencies.


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    Ask your doctor how much potassium you should be getting on a daily basis. The generally-accepted rule is 4,700 mg per day for healthy adults, but the amount may vary based on your body size, any medications you're taking, how well your kidneys are functioning, the amount of urine you eliminate, and your overall health.
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    Identify which fruits and vegetables you enjoy that contain high, medium, and low amounts of potassium so you can add a variety of foods to your diet while making sure you aren't consuming too much or too little potassium. Be sure to make note of the amount of potassium based on the way each type of food is prepared.
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    Eat foods with high concentrations of potassium at each meal to help you meet your daily potassium requirement. These generally include fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods, dairy products, and breads and cereals. If your potassium level is too low, try to add at least 3 to 4 servings of foods high in potassium every day.
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    Ask your doctor to check your potassium levels periodically if you know or suspect that you have a potassium deficiency. You may need to adjust your diet accordingly based on the results of your lab tests.


  • Potassium-rich foods include canned white beans, cooked spinach, sweet potato, fat-free yogurt, orange juice, cooked broccoli, cantaloupe, beets, corn on the cob, black-eyed peas, green peas, potato with skin, squash, stewed tomatoes, bananas, kiwi, honeydew, navel oranges, prunes, and raisins.
  • One food item may contain different amounts of potassium based on how it's prepared. When you look up the amount of potassium in various food items, be sure to note both the quantity and the way the food is prepared.
  • Potassium levels for adults that are in the 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/L range are considered normal.


  • Healthy kidney function is required to remove excess potassium from your body. Be sure to confirm your required daily dosage of potassium with your doctor if your kidneys are not functioning properly.
  • Ingesting too much or not enough potassium can cause potentially serious changes in your heartbeat.
  • If you have high blood pressure, be sure to let your doctor or pharmacist know what medications you are taking to control it because some drugs, including some diuretics, can cause your body to lose potassium, which means you may need to increase your potassium intake.

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Categories: Maintaining Diets