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Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult
by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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Foods contain a lot of nutrients that we don't think about on a daily basis. One such nutrient is potassium. While I'm guessing most people relate potassium to muscle cramps, it's also important in many bodily functions. Potassium is an electrolyte that is very important for heart function, skeletal and smooth muscle contraction and helping to keep the body in balance (acid-base balance). There's also research showing a connection between potassium intake and osteoporosis prevention as well as aiding in lowering blood pressure.

I wouldn't recommend taking a supplement for potassium without a recommendation from a doctor. You can get all the potassium you need in a day from your diet. Having too much or too little potassium in your body can affect the heart and the muscles. If you're exercising regularly, you're going to want to make sure you're including potassium rich foods into your meals to keep those muscles working well.

Good sources of potassium have greater than 200 mg per serving. Potassium is found in most fruits, vegetables, meats, fish and dairy. Some examples of good sources of potassium include:

Avocado
Brussel Sprouts
Bananas
Melon
Tomatoes, tomato sauce
Potatoes
Oranges
Spinach
Broccoli
Nuts (almonds, pistachios, peanuts)
Peanut butter
Cantaloupe
Mango
Apricots
Peas
Milk
Beans and legumes
Yogurt
Chicken, fish, meat

As you can see, potassium is found in many foods and is an important part of your diet. Try to make sure you get a few sources a day to keep your levels just right so your body can work at its peak performance to help you work towards your weight loss goals!

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@ 12:40pm ET on November 3, 2012 I am currently taking seven potassium tablets a day, the doctor can't get to it potential that it needs to be, what can I do to prevent from taking these pills everyday
@ 9:32am ET on December 4, 2012 I'm not sure why you're losing so much potassium, are you on a diuretic such as Lasix? To help prevent it, in addition to the pills, I would try and include at least one potassium rich food at each meal.
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