Boost your potassium to keep your blood pressure down

Potassium is one component of a well-rounded plan for blood pressure health


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Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.

Increasing potassium through diet is recommended in adults with blood pressure above 120/80 who are otherwise healthy. Potassium can be harmful in patients with kidney disease, any condition that affects how the body handles potassium, or those who take certain medications. The decision of whether to take excess potassium should be discussed with your doctor.

The recommended potassium intake for an average adult is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day.

Many of the elements of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet — fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) dairy foods and fish — are good natural sources of potassium. For example, a medium banana has about 420 mg of potassium and half a cup of plain mashed sweet potatoes has 475 mg.

Other potassium-rich foods include:

Sweet potato, baked, 1 potato (146 g) — 694 mg potassium, 131 calories

Tomato paste, 1/4 cup — 664 mg potassium, 54 calories

Beet greens, cooked, 1/2 cup — 655 mg potassium, 19 calories

Potato, baked, flesh, 1 potato (156 g) — 610 mg potassium, 145 calories

White beans, canned, 1/2 cup — 595 mg potassium, 153 calories

Yogurt, plain, non-fat, 8-oz container — 579 mg potassium, 127 calories

Tomato puree, 1/2 cup — 549 mg potassium, 48 calories

Clams, canned, 3 oz — 534 mg potassium, 126 calories

Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 8-oz container — 531 mg potassium, 143 calories

Prune juice, 3/4 cup — 530 mg potassium, 136 calories

Carrot juice, 3/4 cup — 517 mg potassium, 71 calories

Blackstrap molasses, 1 tbsp. — 498 mg potassium, 47 calories

Halibut, cooked, 3 oz — 490 mg potassium, 119 calories

Soybeans, green, cooked, 1/2 cup — 485 mg potassium, 127 calories

Tuna, yellowfin, cooked, 3 oz — 484 mg potassium, 118 calories

Lima beans, cooked, 1/2 cup — 484 mg potassium, 104 calories

Winter squash, cooked, 1/2 cup — 448 mg potassium, 40 calories

Soybeans, mature, cooked, 1/2 cup — 443 mg potassium, 149 calories

Rockfish, Pacific, cooked, 3 oz — 442 mg potassium, 103 calories

Cod, Pacific, cooked, 3 oz — 439 mg potassium, 89 calories

Bananas, 1 medium — 422 mg potassium, 105 calories

Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup — 419 mg potassium, 21 calories

Tomato juice, 3/4 cup — 417 mg potassium, 31 calories

Tomato sauce, 1/2 cup — 405 mg potassium, 39 calories

Peaches, dried, uncooked, 1/4 cup — 398 mg potassium, 96 calories

Prunes, stewed, 1/2 cup — 398 mg potassium, 133 calories

Milk, non-fat, 1 cup — 382 mg potassium, 83 calories

Pork chop, center loin, cooked, 3 oz — 382 mg potassium, 197 calories

Apricots, dried, uncooked, 1/4 cup — 378 mg potassium, 78 calories

Rainbow trout, farmed, cooked, 3 oz — 375 mg potassium, 144 calories

Pork loin, center rib (roasts), lean, roasted, 3 oz — 371 mg potassium, 190 calories

Buttermilk, cultured, low-fat, 1 cup — 3 70 mg potassium, 98 calories

Cantaloupe, 1/4 medium — 368 mg potassium, 47 calories

1 percent-2 percent milk, 1 cup — 366 mg potassium, 102-122 calories

Honeydew melon, 1/8 medium — 365 mg potassium, 58 calories

Lentils, cooked, 1/2 cup — 365 mg potassium, 115 calories

Plantains, cooked, 1/2 cup slices — 358 mg potassium, 90 calories

Kidney beans, cooked, 1/2 cup — 358 mg potassium, 112 calories

Orange juice, 3/4 cup — 355 mg potassium, 85 calories

Split peas, cooked, 1/2 cup — 355 mg potassium, 116 calories

Yogurt, plain, whole milk, 8 oz container — 352 mg potassium, 138 calories

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Department of Agriculture



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