If, like most American adults, your diet emphasizes processed foods over fresh fruits and vegetables, chances are you’re not getting enough potassium, a mineral that supports organ function, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, most women in the United States average about 2,300 milligrams of potassium a day, or less than half the 4,700 milligrams recommended for healthy adults.
Low-sodium tomato juice is an excellent source of potassium. For about 50 calories, an 8-ounce glass supplies 921 milligrams of potassium, or 26 percent of the nutrient’s daily value. It also provides about 120 percent, 10 percent and 8 percent of the daily values for vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber, respectively. Although regular tomato juice delivers the same amount of calories, vitamins and fiber, it has five times as much sodium and about half as much potassium as the low-sodium variety -- an 8-ounce serving of regular tomato juice provides just 12 percent of the daily value for potassium.
Vegetable juice is also high in potassium, as long as it’s the low-sodium type. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce serving of low-sodium vegetable juice delivers 819 milligrams of potassium, or about 23 percent of the daily value. Low-sodium vegetable juice has the same amount of calories, fiber and vitamin C as low-sodium tomato juice, but it’s much higher in vitamin A -- one serving supplies 40 percent of the nutrient’s daily value. Avoid regular vegetable juice, which contains three times as much sodium and provides just 13 percent of the daily value for potassium per serving.
Prune juice, like the dried plums it’s made from, is rich in potassium. It actually retains a significantly higher percentage of the whole fruit’s nutrients than other types of fruit juice, according to the book “Wellness Foods A to Z.” For about 180 calories, an 8-ounce glass of prune juice supplies just over 700 milligrams of potassium, or 20 percent of the daily value. It also delivers 28 percent, 17 percent and 10 percent of the daily values for vitamin B-6, iron and fiber, respectively. When using prune juice to boost your daily potassium intake, start with a 4-ounce serving and gradually increase it to 8 ounces -- for some people, it has a mild laxative effect.
Ounce for ounce, raw carrots are actually slightly higher in potassium than carrot juice, according to the USDA. By volume, however, carrot juice is a much more concentrated source of the nutrient. Whereas 1 cup of chopped raw carrots has about 50 calories and 400 milligrams of potassium, an 8-ounce glass of carrot juice provides just under 100 calories and nearly 700 milligrams of potassium, or 20 percent of the daily value. Carrot juice is a nutrient-dense beverage, supplying 902 percent, 46 percent, 26 percent, 14 percent and 8 percent of the daily values for vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, vitamin E and fiber, respectively, per cup.
A drink must provide 20 percent or more of the daily value for potassium, or at least 685 milligrams, per 8-ounce serving to qualify as “high” in potassium. Many other beverages qualify as “good" sources of potassium, meaning they provide between 10 and 19 percent of the nutrient’s daily value per serving, or at least 335 milligrams. Orange juice, dairy milk and soymilk are all good sources of potassium. Because chocolate also contains potassium, chocolate milk and chocolate soymilk are higher in potassium than plain varieties.
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Potassium In Diet
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Potassium
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Foods List
- Wellness Foods A to Z; Sheldon Margen, M.D., et al.
Based just outside Chicago, Meg Campbell has worked in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s been writing health-related articles since 2010, focusing primarily on diet and nutrition. Campbell divides her time between her hometown and Buenos Aires, Argentina.