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Potassium is an element in the alkali metals class of the periodic table. It is so chemically active that it is never found free (in elemental form) in nature. In its elemental form, it reacts with water, forming potassium hydroxide and hydrogen gas, so violently that the hydrogen usually catches fire. It reacts with the halogens to make halides like potassium chloride.

Its existence as "potash" or "vegetable alkali" (potassium carbonate), "caustic potash" (potassium hydroxide), etc., had long been known, but it was not isolated as an element until 1807, by Sir Humphrey Davy. It was isolated by electrolysis of potassium hydroxide.

The radioactive decay of potassium provides a method of radiometric dating called potassium-argon dating that is used to calculate the ages of volcanic rocks.


Potassium is a mineral that, among other things, helps muscles contract, helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells, and helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting the effect of sodium. Potassium also may reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and bone loss as we age.

Guidelines issued by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science encourage adults to consume of at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day. That's almost double what most of us actually consume.

Potassium is found in a wide range of foods, especially fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, Eggplant, Pumpkin, Potato, Carrot and Beans. It's also found in dairy foods, meat, poultry, fish and Nuts.

Reach your recommended daily intake of potassium by frequently adding these foods to your daily menu:

  • 1 medium baked Potato with skin: 930 milligrams
  • 1 cup cooked Spinach: 840 milligrams
  • 1 cup cooked Broccoli: 460 milligrams
  • 1 cup cubed Cantaloupe: 430 milligrams
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes: 430 milligrams
  • 1 medium Banana: 420 milligrams
  • 1 cup chopped carrots: 410 milligrams
  • 1 cup low-fat Milk: 350 to 380 milligrams
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa: 320 milligrams