How can I increase my potassium intake?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Most Americans have a potassium-to-sodium (K:Na) ratio of less than 1:2. In other words, they ingest twice as much sodium as potassium. However, experts believe that the optimal dietary potassium-to-sodium ratio is greater than 5:1 -- ten times higher than the average intake. But, even this may not be optimal. A natural diet rich in fruits and vegetables can easily produce a much higher K:Na ratio because most fruits and vegetables have a K:Na ratio of at least 50:1. For example, here are the average K:Na ratio for several common fresh fruits and vegetables:
  • Apples 90:1
  • Bananas 440:1
  • Carrots 75:1
  • Oranges 260:1
  • Potatoes 110:1
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While the current recommendation is for healthy Americans to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily, males are consuming only 3,200 milligrams daily, whereas females fall even shorter, consuming only 2,400 milligrams a day, on average.

The good news is that potassium is found in a variety of foods, with vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy foods, and beans being potassium powerhouses:
  • Potato, baked including skin, small, 738 mg
  • White beans, ½ cup, 595 mg
  • Yogurt, nonfat, plain, 579 mg
  • Sweet Potato, baked with skin, medium, 542 mg
  • Orange juice, 1 cup, 496 mg
  • Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces, 490 mg
  • Soybeans, cooked, ½ cup, 485 mg
  • Cod, cooked, 3 ounces, 439 mg
  • Banana, 1 medium, 422 mg
  • Spinach, cooked, ½ cup, 370-419 mg
  • Tomato sauce, ½ cup, 405 mg
  • Milk, skim, 1 cup, 382 mg
  • Apricots, dried, ¼ cup, 378 mg
  • Soy milk, 1 cup, 372 mg
  • Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup, 358 mg

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.