With the exception of calcium and phosphorus, no other mineral is as abundant in the human body as potassium. Most people don’t need to take supplements of this mineral because it’s so widely available in foods such as bananas, orange juice, and potatoes. Potassium’s task is a formidable one, primarily because of its role as an electrolyte, a mineral that takes on a positive or negative charge when dissolved in the watery medium of body fluids. (Sodium and chloride are other important electrolytes.) To regulate blood pressure and muscle contraction, and to keep nerves, kidneys, and a host of other body processes working properly, the body needs to maintain these electrolytes in a delicate balance. In addition, potassium aids in converting blood sugar (glucose) into glycogen that can be stored in the muscles and liver and released as needed. Specifically, potassium may reduce high blood pressure. According to the latest studies, people who regularly consume high-potassium foods, such as bananas, avocados, and yogurt, have lower blood pressure than those who don’t. A potassium-rich diet may even enable people with high blood pressure to reduce their daily dose of prescription medication.
*No RDA has been established for potassium. However, over-the-counter supplements may contain no more than 99 mg.