potassium IS a mineral that helps power your muscles. But if you’re like your neighbors, you’re not getting enough of the heartbeat regulating, fluid-balancing, muscle-contracting, nerve-signaling nutrient.

In fact, Americans are so deficient that the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines identifies potassium as “a nutrient of public health concern.”

The average daily potassium intake (3,016 mg for men and 2,320 mg for women) is below what’s called “adequate intake” (3,400 mg for men and 2,600 mg for women) and falls way short of what used to be the federal recommendation of 4,700 mg.

Deficiency matters. One eight-year study of men found that those who took in 4,300 mg of dietary potassium daily were 38% less likely to have a stroke than those who got just 2,400 mg daily.

A similar study followed women for 14 years and also found an anti-stroke benefit — although not as great as for the guys.

Since too much potassium is also risky, never take a supplement without a doctor’s recommendation, and rely on food for your daily supply.

Top sources include apricots, prunes, squash, baked potatoes, beans, brown rice, bananas, spinach, chicken and turkey breast, salmon, broccoli and, yup, that morning cuppa Joe!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Monday, February 24, 2020