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TOPIC: How to Get Enough Potassium

 
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March 4, 2011 7:30 AM
Wow. I decided to select calories, carbs, fat, protein, calcium, and potassium for my food diary. I was shocked at how little potassium I'm getting, but I'm not sure how to get more into a normal diet. The day before yesterday I only got 1,187 out of 3,500. So, I still needed 2,313 of whatever measurement they're counting with. The potassium I got was from a side of potato salad, a slice of tomato, an entree of Morning Star Farm- Sesame Chik'n (vegetarian) meal, 2 cups of small green grapes, 1/8 cup of walnuts, and 1/4 cup of cantaloupe. Yesterday, I was so sleep deprived that I slept 22 hours. Crazy, I know. So, naturally, I didn't get any. Today, I have had Morning Star Farms- Sweet n Sour Chik'n (veg) meal and have gotten 350. I plan to eat a mango today since it is wonderfully ripe and I don't want it to get too mellow. I added the mango to see what would happen. I also added a medium banana and a glass of whole milk to see how it would affect potassium. It would still leave me at 1,444 potassium and needing 2,056. I had no idea I was getting so little potassium. How can a person eat a normal diet and get enough?
March 4, 2011 7:31 AM
Banannas
March 4, 2011 7:35 AM
Two things going on.
1) Many people do not get recommended potassium, especially on a reduced calorie diet.
2) Potassium is not required on nutritional labels, so many packaged foods do not list potassium, often because the amount is not large, but it is not insignificant either. So you are probably getting more than you think but still less than the recommended 3500 mg. I would not rely on the mfp database for an accurate potassium count.

Edited to add: Bananas are a source of potassium but there are many better sources. Cantaloupe is one. Fruits and veggies are a good source of most micronutrients.
Edited by darwintheboxer On March 4, 2011 7:37 AM
March 4, 2011 7:36 AM
I have wondered the same. I don't like bananas at all, either.
  3630236
March 4, 2011 7:36 AM
Is there a supplement you can buy? I would maybe look into it... lots of people will tell you that it is better to get it from your "well balanced diet" but Unfortunately If you cant then you aren't getting it.... And well, its better to get it from a supplement than to not get it at all.
March 4, 2011 7:37 AM
Bananas are a good choice. I eat one everyday. Kale is also an excellent source of potassium and a lot of other vitamins as well. Some others are spinach, apricots, figs, potatos, tomatos and raisins.
  3598875
March 4, 2011 7:38 AM
QUOTE:

Two things going on.
1) Many people do not get recommended potassium, especially on a reduced calorie diet.
2) Potassium is not required on nutritional labels, so many packaged foods do not list potassium, often because the amount is not large, but it is not insignificant either. So you are probably getting more than you think but still less than the recommended 3500 mg. I would not rely on the mfp database for an accurate potassium count.

Edited to add: Bananas are a source of potassium but there are many better sources. Cantaloupe is one. Fruits and veggies are a good source of most micronutrients.


A good place to go for potassium contents in foods is nutritiondata.self.com. It's a huge database and they have detailed nutritional breakdowns further down each food page.
March 4, 2011 7:39 AM
Just found this tons of ideas at the bottom chart.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09355.html

Looks like buttermilk, salmon/tuna, dill pickles, or tomatoe juice are highest sodium content.
Edited by jaybaileys On March 4, 2011 7:42 AM
March 4, 2011 7:39 AM
Green leafies, beans and legumes...I think limas havea lot
March 4, 2011 7:41 AM
there is potassium naturally in unfiltered water & many food labels don't list potassium, so you're likely not getting an accurate approximate. don't worry about it unless you're eating clean & know the exact amounts of potassium/sodium youre getting. they should be about equal to maintain optimal brain, nerve, & muscle function :o) if you are having problems with muscle cramping, you're probably not balanced & need to get a CBC done with the doctor. otherwise, the body is good at maintaining homeostasis, so you're probably just fine on your potassium intake. :o)
March 4, 2011 7:42 AM
I try to eat one banana a day and take a potassium supplement (sometimes double throughout the day if I get a good workout in). Even with my supplements, it seems so low. My breakfast today of cheerios, milk, strawberries has almost 500.
  4592919
March 4, 2011 10:22 AM
Thanks everyone. I will check out the websites and see what I can do about increasing my levels. I am a bit paranoid about the potassium because you can get low on it without realizing it before it is at a dangerous point. My aunt ended up in the hospital on two different ocassions for potassium deficiency. I know at least one of those times, she hadn't realized that there was anything seriously wrong with her. Also, I've heard that even diluted potassium i.v.'s are painful. I used to think one banana a day would be enough to take care of it, but from what this counter is telling me, it's not enough. I never realized I needed so much potassium.
March 4, 2011 10:29 AM
QUOTE:

there is potassium naturally in unfiltered water & many food labels don't list potassium, so you're likely not getting an accurate approximate.


By unfiltered water, you mean unfiltered tap water? What about bottled water? Also are you speaking treated or untreated water?
March 7, 2011 10:46 AM
i was referring to tap water. i'd assume all tap water is treated, but i'm not sure & i have no idea about bottled water. i'm in nursing school & we had a class on nutrition. :o)
June 18, 2011 7:35 AM
Hi there, I was having the same concern. Try adding avocado into your diet...has 3x the potassium of a banana! However, I too am STILL too low. Supplements don't provide enough potassium either.
June 18, 2011 7:39 AM
I cannot eat raw bananas so I looked it up..... ABC Avacados, Bananas, Cantelope, apricots, Yogurt and raisins. just to name a few. Google "natural sources of Potassium" that's what I did.bigsmile
Edited by drivelerq On June 18, 2011 7:42 AM
June 18, 2011 9:00 AM
I put together this list a few years back when I first started obsessing about nutrition... I'm sure there are other databases with varying amounts, but I think you can get a general idea with this list. Also, red meat is loaded with potassium....but stick to lean, un-marinated ones otherwise you'll negate most of the sodium/potassium gains you'll make with it. I'm sure other lean cuts of meat have a lot of potassium as well..

Raisins 1 cup 1089 mg
Baked potato with skin 1 potato 1081 mg
Lima beans 1 cup 955 mg
Tomato products 1 cup 909 mg
Winter squash 1 cup 896 mg
Cooked spinach 1 cup 837 mg
Dried prunes 1 cup 828 mg
Prune juice 1 cup 707 mg
Raw bananas 1 cup 594 mg
Plain yogurt 8 ounces 579 mg
Cooked beets 1 cup 519 mg
Cooked Brussels sprouts 1 cup 504 mg
Orange juice 1 cup 496 mg
Cantaloupe 1 cup 494 mg
Honeydew melons 1 cup 461 mg
Dried apricots 10 halves 407 mg
Fat free or skim milk 1 cup 407 mg
Quaker Take Heart Instant Oatmeal 1 packet (45g) 360 mg
Nectarines 1 nectarine 288 mg
Dried dates 5 dates 271 mg
Dried figs 2 figs 271 mg
Raw kiwi fruit 1 medium 252 mg
Fresh pears 1 pear 208 mg
Dry roasted peanuts 1 ounce 187 mg
Raw avocados 1 ounce 180 mg
  60395
June 18, 2011 9:11 AM
Thanks for posting this! I also just started tracking my sodium and potassium and I am barely hitting 500mg of potassium per day. I appreciate the food lists people have provided! flowerforyou

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