Where do I find the potassium content of foods?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 15:12
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Q. My husband needs to reduce potassium/sodium levels in what he eats. I find the
sodium levels but potassium is rarely listed. How do I find this?

A. Information about sodium is required on the nutrition facts label but information about potassium is optional–and many manufacturers don't include it.  The ingredient list won't contain many clues, either.  Products that are marketed as "heart-healthy" are more likely to list potassium content, by the way. Usually, these are foods that are relatively high in potassium and low in sodium.

You can look up the potassium content of foods here on ND, of course. Simply scroll down to the Nutrient Information box on any food detail page to see the amount of potassium that food contains. (Remember to select the appropriate serving size at the top of the page.) You can also use our nutrient search tool to research which foods are highest and lowest in potassium and sodium. 

In general, fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of dietary potassium. The average person eats about 3,000 mg of potassium a day. People with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables
take in 4 or 5 times as much.

Fruits and vegetables that are particularly high in potassium include beet greens and spinach, potatoes, lima beans, green soybeans (edamame), bananas, prunes and prune juice, acorn squash, tomato juice, and raisins.  

Fruits and veggies for a low potassium diet

Of course, fruits and vegetables are
among the healthiest foods that you can eat–which creates a bit of a
dilemma for those who need to restrict potassium.  Fruits and vegetables that are relatively low in potassium include turnips and turnip greens, Napa cabbage, bean sprouts, leeks, pears, blueberries, cranberries, and apples. Cooking (and draining) vegetables and fruits can also remove up to 70% of the potassium–although other nutrients are lost as well. 

Hope that helps!

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