Potassium is found in many different foods, especially fruits and vegetables, so you may be getting plenty of potassium in your diet right now. If not, here's a list of foods that contain potassium.
Foods High in Potassium
- Citrus fruits
- Soy and soy foods
- Many veggie burgers
Potassium is a dietary mineral that helps balance your body's pH and body fluids, so it's important for normal blood pressure regulation (it works in opposition to sodium). It's also needed for normal muscle growth, and for nervous system and brain function.
Measuring Potassium With Blood Tests
Most of your body's potassium is inside the cells, with about two percent is found in your blood. Your body likes to keep the amount of potassium in your blood at a certain level, but it may fluctuate due to kidney disease, diabetes, vomiting, as a side effect to certain medications, fluctuating hormone levels, or the amount of potassium in your diet.
Too Much or Too Little Potassium
Hyperkalemia is the condition of having high blood levels of potassium. It's usually due to an underlying medical condition such as kidney disease or diabetes. Very high levels can be damaging to your heart.
Hypokalemia is a condition where the potassium levels in your blood are too low. This may happen because you don't get enough potassium from your diet, but it is more commonly caused by digestive problems such as chronic diarrhea or excessive vomiting.
Certain hormonal disorders like Cushing's disease, and some medications such as diuretics and laxatives can also cause hypokalemia.
O'Shaughnessy KM. "Role of diet in hypertension management." Curr Hypertens Rep. 2006 Aug;8(4):292-7.
"The Importance of Potassium." The American Heart Association. Accessed July 17, 2009.