The National Academy of Sciences (NAS, Washington) increased the recommended intake for potassium from 3,500mg to 4,700mg per day. The group based the change largely upon evidence of potassium's role in controlling hypertension and preventing stroke.

Research suggests that most adult American women get less than half of the recommended amount of the mineral, and men's intake is not much better. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (Bethesda, Md.) says approximately 30% of people with hypertension are unaware of their condition, and only 34% of those with it have it under control. The committee, therefore, recommends increasing potassium intake as protection from high blood pressure, stroke and possibly heart disease.

The mineral potassium is a part of every cell of the body and helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells, helping to maintain normal blood pressure. The mineral also is crucial to transmitting nerve impulse or signals and helping muscles contract.