If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you have probably seen the federal guidelines for sodium but perhaps not for potassium.
The current recommendation from the Institutes of Medicine is 4700 mg per day for people over age 14 with normal kidney function.
Most dietitians will tell you that potassium is a critical mineral for proper functioning of some cells in the body such as muscles and nerves. The good news is that potassium is naturally occurring in most foods so it is easy to get what you need with a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
For some people though, potassium intake must be managed. Excess potassium is usually not a problem because your kidneys excrete any excess, but for people with kidney function issues, potassium can build up in the body since the kidneys are not doing their job of getting rid of excess potassium.
The Danger Of Excess Potassium
One of the big dangers of too much potassium in your body is an irregular heartbeat (hyperkalemia if you want the $10 word). The heart, remember, is a muscle so if you have too much potassium in your system your cell structure can get out of whack and your ticker marches to its own drummer. This can be very dangerous. (Excess potassium also places further strain on already dysfunctional kidneys and can worsen their performance.)
If you have been told to watch your potassium intake, get the free, printable download below which includes milligrams and quantities for 50 Foods Low In Potassium . . .
Don’t forget to read 17 Kidney Friendly Foods To Savor.