Potassium is important for maintaining blood pressure, nerves, muscles and bones. It works in conjunction with sodium to balance electrolytes in the body. Like men, women over 19 years old need 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day; pregnant women also need this amount. Women who are breastfeeding need 5,100 milligrams per day. You can get potassium by consuming unprocessed foods such as red meat, fish, poultry, milk, nuts, seeds and beans.
The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, published in "Archives of Internal Medicine" in 2001, showed that women in the United States eat an average of 2,300 milligrams of potassium a day -- only half of the recommended intake. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reports that most people in the United States eat more sodium than potassium. This has been shown to increase risks for diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and kidney stones.
- University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: Facts about Potassium
- Medline Plus: Potassium in Diet
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Potassium
- Archives of Internal Medicine: Impact of Diet on Blood Pressure and Age-Related Changes in Blood Pressure in the U.S. Population Analysis of NHANES III