Practical Daily Sources of Potassium, Magnesium & Calcium

by Lindsay Boyers

Calcium, magnesium and potassium are defined as essential minerals. You need to consume adequate amounts of each of these minerals through your daily diet to keep your body functioning properly. Several different types of practical foods can provide you with the calcium, magnesium and potassium you need.


Adults should consume 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, are some of the best and most popular sources of dietary calcium. An 8 oz. container of nonfat plain yogurt contains approximately 450 mg of calcium, which is almost half of your daily needs. A 2 oz. serving of Swiss cheese contains 438 mg of calcium and an 8 oz. glass of low-fat milk contains 290 mg. If you are lactose intolerant or do not like dairy products, you can still meet your calcium needs through non-dairy sources. Fortified breakfast cereals can contain anywhere from 236 to 1043 mg of calcium, depending on the type, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. One-half cup of cooked spinach contains approximately 150 mg of calcium and a packet of plain oatmeal offers approximately 100 mg. Other practical non-dairy sources of calcium include kale, salmon, soybeans and fortified soy milk.


Magnesium needs differ by age. Adult females between 19 and 30 require 310 mg of magnesium per day, whereas men of the same age require 400 mg daily. Adult females over the age of 30 need 320 mg daily and adult males of the same age need 420 mg. The best way to meet your magnesium needs is to eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish and beans. A 1-oz. serving of bran cereal offers 103 mg of magnesium, approximately one-third of a woman’s magnesium needs for the day. A 3-oz. portion of halibut contains 91 mg and 1/2 cup of spinach offers 81 mg. Other practical sources of magnesium include almonds, cashews, white beans, black beans, peanuts, tuna, brown rice, oat bran and haddock.


Both male and female adults require 4,700 mg of potassium per day. Sweet potatoes are one of the richest dietary sources of potassium, containing 694 mg of potassium per potato. One-fourth of a cup of tomato paste offers 664 mg and a white potato contains 610 mg. A medium banana contains 422 mg of potassium and 1/2 cup of cooked spinach offers 419 mg. Other practical sources of potassium include lima beans, cod, tomato juice, peaches, milk, pork chops, lentils, kidney beans and orange juice.


Although it is generally recommended that you meet your mineral needs through your diet, some people have difficulty doing so. If you think you cannot meet your needs through your diet alone, talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking supplements. You should use supplements to complement your diet; they should not serve as a substitute for healthy eating.

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About the Author

Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.