Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Putting potassium in perspective

September 1, 2022

Too little or too much of this mineral can be risky for your heart. Here’s how diet, medications, and kidney function affect potassium levels in your body.

photo of an assortment of foods that are good sources of potassium, including swweet potato, bananas, white beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, avocado, and salmon

If you eat lots of vegetables, legumes, and fruits, you’re probably getting plenty of potassium in your diet. Many plant-based foods are not only rich in potassium (see "Good sources of potassium"), they’re also naturally low in sodium, both of which can help keep blood pressure in a normal range.

Alas, most Americans don’t pack enough produce into their daily fare and fall shy of the 3,500 to 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium recommended as a daily target. (Dairy products and fish are also good sources.) They also tend to eat far too much sodium, a well-known contributor to elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is a potent risk factor for strokes and heart attacks.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

You might also be interested in…

Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals

About half of all Americans routinely take dietary supplements. The most common ones are multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy explains the evidence behind the benefits and safety profiles of various vitamins and minerals. It also includes the recommended minimum and maximum amounts you should consume, as well as good food sources of each.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.