There is no RDA for potassium, although the National Library of Medicine recommends 1,600 to 3,500 mg of potassium for the average adult diet. The association recommends equal amounts of sodium and potassium for our bodies. A variety of potassium-rich foods should be eaten daily for healthy and active people. Athletes also may need more potassium because it helps replace the lost of potassium from muscles and the lost in sweat during exercise. Athletes involved in prolonged and hard exercise may require up to 6,000 mg of potassium. Vegetarians could consume up to 11,000 mg, due to the large amount of fruits and vegetables, which are excellent sources of potassium. Overall, male and female adults have almost the same amount of adequate potassium intake.
There are many food sources where people of all ages can obtain adequate amounts of potassium. An excellent source includes fruits and vegetables such as oranges, bananas, avocados, strawberries, plums, peaches, corns, asparagus and potatoes. Also dairy products such as milk, buttermilk, yogurt and meat products like chicken, fish and turkey have high amounts of potassium.
Why is it important
Potassium is crucial in the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contractions and the maintenance of a regular blood pressure. Potassium works with sodium to maintain the body's water balance and it is an electrolyte in the body, which regulates blood pressure and muscle contraction, and to keep nerves and kidneys working properly.
If you take too much
If you take over 18,000 mg of potassium, you may develop a condition called acute hypokalemia, even though it is very unlikely to occur. Hypokalemia could occur if your kidneys do not function properly. This is because the kidneys control the balance of potassium in the body and removes any excess. If your kidneys are malfunctioning and cannot process properly, you may develop increased levels of potassium...