Potassium is a major nutrient in fruits and vegetables and is the predominant positive electrolyte in body cells. To avoid high blood pressure, try to keep your potassium to sodium intake at 5:1 ratio.

Natural Food Sources
Asparagus, avocados, banana, beans, cantaloupe, carrots, chard, citrus fruit, honeydew legumes, melon, milk, molasses, nuts, parsnips, peas, potato, prunes, raisons, sardines, soybeans, spinach, wheat germ, whole grain cereals.

Main Functions
Potassium helps maintain blood pressure, and is involved in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. In partnership with sodium and chloride, potassium helps maintain the water balance in and out of body cells, plus it regulates blood pressure and heartbeat. It stimulates the kidneys to release toxins from the body. Some studies have shown potassium may help prevent strokes.

Deficiency Symptoms
Potassium deficiency is common due to the modern diet's high salt consumption, which stimulates the body to rid itself of the mineral. Symptoms include muscle cramps, poor reflexes, heart irregularities, low blood pressure, respiratory failure, kidney problems, insomnia and dry skin.

Toxicity Symptoms
Potassium intake of greater than 18,000 mg may cause kidney problems, improper fluid balance, infections, irregular heartbeat, muscle deterioration and even cardiac arrest.

Dietary Reference Intake
There is no official Recommended Dietary Allowance or Dietary Reference Intake for this mineral but a minimum requirement has been estimated at 2000 mg per day.

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