Potassium is important for nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. Potassium and sodium work together to maintain the body's water balance. High blood pressure is typically associated with too much sodium in the diet, but a deficiency in potassium can also be a factor, since potassium helps the body eliminate excess sodium.

Although many foods contain abundant potassium, this nutrient is lost during cooking. Most processed foods lose potassium as well, so deficiencies are not uncommon. Hyperthyroidism, excessive diarrhea or vomiting can cause or worsen a potassium deficiency. Possible early symptoms of a deficiency are dry skin, muscle weakness, fatigue, and slow reflexes. Serious deficiencies can lead to heart conditions or hypokalemic paralysis, in which the entire body goes stiff.

It is difficult to reach toxic levels of potassium through diet or supplements, but those suffering from kidney disease may not be able to eliminate excess potassium. Toxicity symptoms may include irregular heartbeat or heart attack. Eating higher than normal amounts of potassium may produce dark circles under the eyes, which can be alleviated by eating natural sodium.

US Recommended Daily Allowance: 3570 mg

Health Benefits of Potassium

Blood Pressure Helps prevent and lower high blood pressure.
Eyes/Vision Can relieve puffiness under the eyes caused by too much sodium. Too much potassium can cause dark under-eye circles.
Heart Prevents arteriosclerosis. Strengthens and maintains the heart muscle.
Kidneys Low levels of potassium can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Mood Soothes feelings of anxiety, irritability and stress.
Muscles Required for building and maintaining muscle strength. Weak or cramping muscles can indicate a deficiency.
Nerves Maintains nerve health and nerve impulse function.

Food Sources of Potassium

Durian 1060 mg 30%
Papaya 977 mg 27%
Sweet Potatoes 950 mg 27%
Cherimoya 839 mg 24%
Beet Leaves 762 mg 21%
Prunes 732 mg 21%
Avocado 689 mg 19%
Jerusalem Artichokes 643 mg 18%
Raisins 598 mg 17%
Cashews 565 mg 16%
Spinach 558 mg 16%
Parsley 554 mg 16%
Jackfruit 500 mg 14%
Lambsquarters 452 mg 13%
Kale 447 mg 13%
Cucumbers 442 mg 12%
Bananas 422 mg 12%
Tomatoes 404 mg 11%
Dandelion Greens 397 mg 11%
Buckwheat 391 mg 11%
Chard 379 mg 11%
Arugula 369 mg 10%
Burdock Root 363 mg 10%
Mustard Greens 354 mg 10%
Brussels Sprouts 342 mg 10%
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