Rhonda’s Cooking

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Potassium Can Help Balance Blood Pressure

Posted by rhondascooking on August 1, 2009

Throughout my teen and adult years, my mom has always encouraged me to eat bananas.  In fact, she would always say, “Eat a banana to get your potassium.”  So I ate the banana even though I didn’t know why potassium was good for me and I’m not sure that she even knew why either.  All I knew was that “mom’s always right!”  Well, recently, mom did it again, she reminded me to eat my banana, but unlike the past, I decided to find out why I needed to have this banana!  Needless to say, mom was indeed right to encourage me to get my potassium.

Through my research, I learned that potassium is one of three major minerals, called an electrolyte.  The functions of potassium include the following1:

  • Assist with regulating fluids and mineral balance in and out of the cells
  • Assist with maintaining normal blood pressure by blunting sodium’s effects on blood pressure
  • Assist with transmitting nerve impulses/signals
  • Help muscles to relax

As you see, if you have challenges with high blood pressure or if you eat a lot of foods high in sodium, then you should definitely start to boost your potassium.  So how much potassium is necessary daily for men and women to achieve these benefits1?

  • Ages 9 – 13                        4500mg
  • Ages 14 and up                   4700mg
  • Breast feeding women          5100mg

Potassium can be found in almost all foods; see the table below to find out what foods have potassium; these foods are ranked from highest to lowest.

Food Amount Potassium (mg)
Lentils, cook 1 cup 738
Salmon fillet, baked 3 ounces 628
Mahi-mahi fillet, baked 3 ounces 533
Cod fillet, baked 3 ounces 517
Portabello mushroom 1 piece 484
Yam, baked in skin, peeled 1 cup 475
Red beans, can, unsalted 1 cup 460
Crimini mushrooms 1 cup 448
Mustard greens, cooked, no meat 1 cup 404
Potato, baked, no skin 1 each 391
Almonds, dry-roasted 1/2 cup 373
Banana, medium 1 piece 358
Broccoli, florets, uncooked 1/2 cup 325
Spinach, cooked, no salt 1/2 cup 302
Broccoli, chopped, cooked 1/2 cup 293
Turkey, breast, no skin, roasted 3 ounces 292
Beef, any cut, trimmed, cooked 3 ounces 269
Celery sticks, 4-inch long 1 piece 260
Chicken, breast, no skin, roasted 3 ounces 256
Romaine lettuce, shredded 1 cup 247
Baby carrots 10 pieces 237
Tomatoes, chopped, fresh 1/2 cup 237
Okra, cooked 1/2 cup 234
Cherries 1 cup 222
Coconut milk 2 tablespoons 220
Green beans, cooked 1/2 cup 159
Lemon, fresh 1/2 cup 120
Cow’s milk 1 cup 120
Green peas, cooked 1/2 cup 110
Apple, small 1 piece 107

1Duyff, Roberta Larson.  Complete Food and Nutrition Guide.  New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.

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