How does potassium affect my blood pressure?

Eating foods rich in potassium may help protect you from high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, eating foods rich in potassium may lower your blood pressure to some degree.


How Much Potassium Do I Need?

Nutritionists recommend that you eat 3,500 mg of potassium each day. Many different types of foods contain potassium. Most people can get enough potassium from their diet. For instance, you could get more than enough for one day by consuming any one of the following:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup dried apricots
  • 3 ounces of salmon
  • 1 baked potato with skin
  • 1 cup of milk

See the table Good Sources of Potassium for some of the many foods that are rich in potassium.


Should I Take Potassium Supplements?

Unless there is a medical reason, doctors do not advise you to take potassium supplements. Taking too much potassium can upset your stomach and weaken your muscles. In rare cases, it can even cause serious problems.

However, if you're taking some types of diuretics , your doctor may want you to take a potassium supplement. Some diuretics flush potassium, water, and other minerals out of your body. There are other diuretics, however, that do not cause your kidneys to get rid of extra potassium.


You need to be especially careful about taking potassium supplements or getting too much potassium in your diet if either of these statements is true.

  • You take medicines that limit your kidney's ability to flush out potassium. This would include medicines such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers , or certain diuretics.
  • You have health problems such as diabetes or severe kidney disease. These conditions may limit your kidney's ability to flush out excess potassium.