Potassium is a mineral that your body needs to work properly. It is a type of electrolyte. It helps your nerves to function and muscles to contract. It helps your heartbeat stay regular. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure.
Many people get all the potassium they need from what they eat and drink. Sources of potassium in the diet include:
- Leafy greens, such as spinach and collards
- Fruit from vines, such as grapes and blackberries
- Root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit
Your kidneys help to keep the right amount of potassium in your body. If you have chronic kidney disease, your kidneys may not remove extra potassium from the blood. Some medicines also can raise your potassium level. You may need a special diet to lower the amount of potassium that you eat.
- How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure (American Heart Association)
- Hyperkalemia (High Potassium) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The Role of Intracellular Potassium in Cell Quiescence, Proliferation, and Death.
- Article: Accurate correction model of blood potassium concentration in hemolytic specimens.
- Article: Replacing Potassium in the Emergency Department May Not Decrease the Hospital...
- Potassium -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Nutrition Expert (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Food and Drug Administration
- Food and Nutrition Information Center
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements