Some high-potassium foods include apricots, mangoes, bananas, peaches, oranges, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, lentils, tomatoes and greens. Foods with lower levels of potassium include apples, cranberries, blackberries, grapes, strawberries, green beans, some bread products and summer squash.
Potassium protects blood vessels, helps muscles move and aids in proper kidney function. Although potassium does not prevent heart disease, studies suggest that increasing potassium intake and decreasing sodium intake can reduce the risk of stroke by 21 percent, Health.com explains. Increased potassium intake benefits the heart by maintaining good blood pressure levels and preventing heart rhythm problems.
Potassium needs vary depending on a person's age, weight, condition and overall health history. For example, healthy, average adults over the age of 19 should consume about 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. While infants and children under the age of 13 need between 400 and 3,800 milligrams of potassium each day.
To fulfill the recommended allotment of daily potassium, a person can either consume potassium-rich foods, such as acorn squash, white beans and spinach, or take a potassium supplement. However, most doctors generally recommend that a person get potassium from foods rather than supplements, as those getting it from supplements may risk taking in too much, which can pose serious health problems. Some people with certain medical conditions or taking medications may need higher or lower amounts of potassium on a daily basis. This should be discussed with the patient's doctor.
Children, teens and adults need potassium to balance the minerals within their blood stream, level their blood pressure and help nerves and muscles function properly. Realistically, only 2 percent of American adults eat the recommended amount of potassium per day, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board.