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Honey and Potassium

By Michelle Kerns

Fewer than 2 percent of adults in the United States get enough potassium regularly, reported a 2012 study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Adequate potassium is required for your body to maintain proper nervous and muscular system function. A diet lacking potassium may increase your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, stroke and kidney disease. While many foods -- including honey -- contain potassium, not all are a good source of the mineral.

Potassium Content

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 1-tablespoon serving of honey contains 11 milligrams of potassium. Healthy adults need 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day, and 1 tablespoon of honey would supply only 0.23 percent of this requirement. Since honey does not provide at least 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of potassium, U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines specify that it cannot be considered a good potassium source.

Comparison to Other Foods

Honey contains about as much potassium in a 1-tablespoon serving as 1 teaspoon of ground dried cinnamon, a single muscadine grape, one cube of chicken broth or bouillon or 1 fluid ounce of a prepared coffee substitute. Foods like mayonnaise, cooked rice noodles, butter, olives and vegetable oils such as olive, sesame or sunflower oil contain less potassium per serving than honey. For foods that supply 10 percent or more of the RDA of potassium per serving, choose baked potatoes, prune juice, raisins, tomato juice, dried apricots or beans like soybeans or Lima beans.

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Sodium and Potassium

To get the maximum benefit out of the potassium you obtain from foods like honey, control your sodium intake. In your body, the level of these two minerals is connected: the more sodium in your bloodstream, the more potassium your body eliminates. A diet high in sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. By contrast, eating more potassium helps lower your body's sodium concentration. Try to limit yourself to 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily and to include more high-potassium foods in your regular meals.

Expert Insight

Although honey does contain a small amount of essential vitamins and minerals, its caloric intake is primarily provided by simple sugars. The USDA recommends limiting your intake of rich simple sugar sources like honey as much as possible since they add calories to your diet without adding a significant amount of nutrients. Enjoy honey only occasionally and in moderation; whenever you can, learn to consume foods without added honey.

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