Potassium is a mineral essential to your good heath, but most Americans don't get enough in their diets. Potassium is vital to nerve and muscle function and maintenance of normal heart rhythm and blood pressure. Eat foods rich in potassium to lower your risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. The recommended daily allowance of potassium for adults is 4,700 mg. Never take a potassium supplement without your doctor's advice.
One papaya and 1 cup of prune juice each have 707 mg of potassium. Other potassium-rich fruits include cantaloupes and honeydew melons, which contain more than 450 mg per cup. One small banana packs in 467 mg, and just 1/3 of a cup of raisins gives you 363 mg of the mineral. Mangoes, oranges, avocados and orange juice are also considered very good sources. Fruits low in potassium are mandarin oranges, blueberries and grapes.
One baked sweet potato, eaten with the skin, contains 694 mg of potassium -- the best vegetable source, followed closely by tomato paste, with 664 mg per 1/4 cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fresh tomatoes and other tomato products, including tomato puree and tomato juice, are also good sources. Just 1/2 cup of beet greens will supply you with 655 mg. Baked potatoes, which have 610 mg, are an excellent source. Other good vegetable sources include carrot juice, winter squash and spinach. Vegetables low in potassium are iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and green beans.
Eight ounces of plain nonfat yogurt is a super dairy source of potassium, with 579 mg of the mineral. So is plain low-fat yogurt. Milk, including low-fat buttermilk, averages 375 mg per cup, and 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 217 mg. Moderate dairy sources of potassium include ricotta cheese and vanilla ice cream, each with about 145 mg per 1/2 cup. American cheese is a poor source of potassium and Cheddar is even worse, with only 28 mg per ounce.
Canned clams are a rich source of potassium, with 534 mg per 3 oz. Yellowfin tuna, Pacific rockfish, salmon and Pacific cod are also excellent sources. One pork chop has 382 mg, 3 oz. of dark-meat turkey contains 259 mg and 3 oz. of lean beef has 224 mg. Many types of beans are good sources of potassium. One-half cup of canned white beans has 595 mg, according to the USDA. Soybeans and soy milk, lima beans, kidney beans, and lentils are also potassium-rich. Eggs, with only 55 mg, are not a good source of the mineral.