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Because potassium plays a buffering role in your blood, it helps keep the bone-strengthening minerals, calcium and phosphorus, from being lost from the bones and kidneys. Numerous studies suggest that having plenty of potassium in your diet helps increase the density, and thus the strength, of your bones.
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 legumes (dried peas and beans).
Potassium helps maintain a healthy acid-alkaline balance in the body, leading to reduced calcium excretion. In a 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, British researchers found that perimenopausal women (those in the several years preceding menopause) with the highest potassium intake had 8 percent greater bone-mineral density than those with the lowest intake. The researchers projected that if the women maintained their high intake into old age, they could lower their fracture risk by 30 percent.
Top potassium sources include bananas, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, kiwifruits and plantains.
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