NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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More Than Calcium

More Than Calcium


          Just a few years ago, no official recommendation for potassium intake in a healthy diet existed, although many health professionals recommended 2 grams a day.  But in February of 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) set the Adequate Intake of potassium for adults at 4.7 grams a day - more than double previous estimates.           

          Why should we be concerned about potassium?  Potassium is a mineral that helps regulate fluid and mineral balance and is needed for muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulse.  It also helps regulate blood pressure.  Inadequate dietary potassium intake may increase risk for cardiovascular disease, particularly strokes. And with America’s aging population, taking care of our hearts is becoming more and more important.   

          Potassium plays such an important role in blood pressure regulation and stroke prevention that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the health claim "diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke," for foods that are naturally low in sodium, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and provide at least 350 mg of potassium per serving, such as fat-free milk and some yogurt.     

          Researchers have recently found that potassium intakes were significantly higher in people who met dairy food intake recommendations of three servings a day, compared to those who did not.  Current recommendations for dietary intake of potassium are 4,700 mg daily for both males and females over the age of 14. It appears we can add potassium to the list of reasons to celebrate June as Dairy Month.


          According to nationwide food consumption surveys, milk is the number one food source of potassium for Americans in all age groups.  An 8 oz serving of low-fat milk provides about 366 mg of potassium; an 8 oz serving of low-fat, fruit yogurt provides about 490 mg of potassium.  Three servings of low-fat milk a day provides 1,098 mg of potassium, close to a fourth of the potassium recommendation.  Other common sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dried beans.

          You can find potassium in:

          Medium baked potato with skin   926 mg

          8 oz. yogurt                                  490 mg

          8 oz low-fat milk                       366 mg

          One banana                              362mg

          1 oz almonds                            200 mg

          One small orange                      174 mg

          ½ C. cottage cheese                  118 mg

          The American Dairy Council and their educational campaign, “ 3-Every-Day” shares the following way to include the great benefits of dairy foods in your meals.

                   Turkey Cheddar Wrap with Spiced Yogurt Spread 



  • 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces sliced turkey breast
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots

          Combine yogurt, raisins and curry powder. Spread 2 tablespoons of yogurt mixture on each tortilla within 1/2 -inch of the edge. Top each with 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, 1/4 turkey breast slices (approximately 1 1/2 ounces), 1/4 cup spinach leaves and 2 tablespoons shredded carrots. Roll tightly and secure with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. If serving to guests, slice horizontally for bite-sized pinwheels or slice crosswise at an angle for 1-2 servings.

          Makes six servings with 190 calories, 8 g fat, 4g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 13 g protein in each serving.






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