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The Best #7 Tips for Low Potassium Diet

What is Potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in many different foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, dried beans, and peas. 

Potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure, fluid balance and helps muscles, and the heart to work properly.

The kidneys are the main organ that controls the correct level of potassium in the blood. People who take certain medicines or who have chronic kidney disease must sometimes limit the amount of potassium in their diet to keep their potassium level close to normal.

Abnormal blood levels of potassium can be very dangerous as they may lead to serious heart arrhythmias.

Kidneys regulate the metabolism of potassium, making sure that its levels are appropriate. However, when your kidneys are not working properly, you often need to limit certain foods that can increase the potassium in your body.

If you need to limit your potassium, your doctor, naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian should tell you how many milligrams (mg) you can have each day. They can also help you design a low potassium diet.

Functions of Potassium

Potassium's functions include helping to:

  • Regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells
  • Maintain your normal blood pressure
  • Transmit nerve impulses
  • Make your muscles contract

How Much Potassium Do You Need?

In general, most people should aim to get close to 5,000 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day unless you have kidney or other health problems.

However, most people with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury should eat less than 2000 mg of potassium per day.

People with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease have kidney function (ie, glomerular filtration rate, or "GFR") below 45 mL/min (normal is 100 to 120 mL/min).

  

Age

Estimated Minimum Requirement of Potassium 
(mg)

9-13 years

4,500

> 13 years

4,700

 

Potassium Toxicity

Potassium is rarely toxic because excess amounts are usually excreted in the urine. However, people with kidney problems may be unable to properly excrete potassium, allowing it to build up in the bloodstream (called hyperkalemia).

Therefore, people with kidney problems need to closely monitor their potassium intake, especially in stage 3 or stage 4 severe chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Hyperkalemia can also lead to weakness, irregular, sometimes fatal heartbeat, and constipation.

What Foods Have Potassium?

Potassium is found in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables. If your doctor wants you to limit your potassium intake, you may want to consume less of the following foods that contain higher levels of potassium:

  • Sweet potato
  • Tomato juice, sauce, paste, and puree
  • Beet greens
  • Potatoes
  • White beans
  • Yogurt
  • Canned clams
  • Prune juice
  • Carrot juice
  • Soybeans and lima beans
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Certain fish such as halibut, yellowfin tuna, Pacific cod, rainbow trout
  • Winter squash
  • Bananas
  • Cooked spinach
  • Prunes
  • Dried peaches or apricots
  • Milk

Why Follow a Low Potassium Diet?

Your doctor may recommend following a low potassium diet if you have kidney problems or are taking certain medications.

If you have kidney problems, excess potassium can build up to dangerous levels in your blood. This can lead to confusion, irregular heartbeats, or a heart attack.

Low Potassium Foods

What foods to eat to lower potassium levels? You may ask.

There are plenty of low potassium foods that can be substituted. Eating these foods can help keep your potassium level normal. However, eating more than 1 serving of any of these foods can make it a high-potassium food.

Low Potassium Meats

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork

Low Potassium Vegetables (2 - 3 servings a day)

Here is the list of vegetables low in potassium.

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Beans, wax or green
  • Cabbage, green and red
  • Carrots, cooked
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Leached potatoes (boil potatoes and discard the water)
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Mushrooms, fresh
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas, green
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Rhubarb
  • Water chestnuts, canned
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Low Potassium Fruits (1 - 3 servings a day)

  • Apple, apple juice, apple sauce
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Grapes, grape juice
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple, pineapple juice
  • Plums
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon, 1 cup or less

Low Potassium Foods Chart

Food Category

Food With Low Potassium

Fruits (1 - 3 servings per day)

·        Apple, apple juice, apple sauce

·        Apricots

·        Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries

·        Cherries

·        Fruit cocktail

·        Grapes, grape juice

·        Grapefruit

·        Mandarin oranges

·        Peaches

·        Pears

·        Pineapple, pineapple juice

·        Plums

·        Tangerine

·        Watermelon, 1 cup or less

Vegetables (2 - 3 servings per day)

·        Alfalfa sprouts

·        Asparagus

·        Beans, wax or green

·        Cabbage, green and red

·        Carrots, cooked

·        Cauliflower

·        Celery

·        Corn

·        Cucumber

·        Eggplant

·        Kale

·        Leached potatoes *

·        Lettuce

·        Mixed vegetables

·        Mushrooms, fresh

·        Okra

·        Onions

·        Parsley

·        Peas, green

·        Peppers

·        Radish

·        Rhubarb

·        Water chestnuts, canned

·        Watercress

·        Zucchini

Protein Foods (3- 7 servings per day)

·        Beef

·        Poultry

·        Egg

·        Fish

·        Pork

·        Peanut butter

Dairy Foods (1 - 2 servings per day)

·        Cheese

·        Ice cream

·        Skim milk

·        2% milk

·        Whole milk

Other Foods & Grains (4 - 7 servings per day)

·        Bread and bread products (not whole grains)

·        Cake—angel food cake, yellow cake

·        Coffee

·        Cookies (without nuts or chocolate)

·        Noodles

·        Pasta

·        Pies (without chocolate or high-potassium food)

·        Rice

·        Tea

 

*To leach potatoes: Peel and cut them into small pieces. Soak them in a large amount of water for at least 2 hours. (Use at least 5 cups of water for every 1 cup of potatoes.). Drain, rinse and cook as desired.

The Best 7 Tips for Low Potassium Diet

#1. Eat a variety of foods low in potassium.

#2. Limit or avoid high potassium foods.

#3. Be aware of the foods that you eat. Keep a food diary or download a food-tracking app Cronometer on your phone.

#4. The potassium content of potatoes and other vegetables can be reduced by boiling them in the water. Do not drink the vegetable water.

#5. Most food has some potassium. Read food labels to find out how much potassium food has per serving.

#6. Do not drink juice from canned fruits, canned vegetables, or cooked meat.

#7. Work with a Nutritionist, Naturopath, or Dietitian to come up with an individualized food plan. It should list the serving size and amount of low potassium food groups you should consume each day.

How to Lower Potassium?

  • Reduce your potassium intake
  • Check your salt substitutes
  • Avoid commercial baked goods and sport drinks
  • Drink more water
  • Avoid Alfalfa, Nettle, and Dandelion as they contain potassium
  • Read the food label and choose foods with a low potassium level.
  • Measure the serving size when calculating the amount of potassium in foods. 
  • User Cronometer app to calculate the daily potassium intake.
  • Remember a large serving of a low-potassium food may have more potassium than a small serving of a food with a high level of potassium.
  • Drain canned vegetables, fruits, and meats before serving.
  • Reduce potassium levels in vegetables by leaching or soaking them in water at least 2 hours before cooking to "pull" some of the potassium out of the food and into the water. You should not eat these vegetables frequently because there is still a lot of potassium in the food after leaching.
  • Wash and then cut the raw vegetable into thin slices. Vegetables with a skin (eg, potatoes, carrots, beetroots, rutabagas) should be peeled before slicing.
  • Rinse the cut vegetables in warm water.
  • Soak the vegetables for at least two hours or overnight. Use a large amount of unsalted warm water (approximately 10 parts water to 1 part vegetables). If possible, change the water every four hours. Drain the soaking water.
  • Rinse the vegetables again with warm water.
  • Cook vegetables as desired, using a large amount of unsalted water (approximately 5 parts water to 1 part vegetables). Drain the cooking water.

Avoid Foods are High in Potassium

Fruits High in Potassium

·        Apricots

·        Avocado

·        Banana

·        Cantaloupe

·        Dates

·        Dried fruits

·        Figs

·        Grapefruit juice

·        Honeydew

·        Kiwi

·        Mango

·        Nectarine

·        Orange or orange juice

·        Orange juice

·        Papaya

·        Pomegranate or pomegranate juice

·        Prunes

·        Prune juice

·        Raisins

Below is the high potassium food list.

Food Category

Food With High Potassium

Fruits

·        Apricots

·        Avocado

·        Banana

·        Cantaloupe

·        Dates

·        Dried fruits

·        Figs

·        Grapefruit juice

·        Honeydew

·        Kiwi

·        Mango

·        Nectarine

·        Orange or orange juice

·        Orange juice

·        Papaya

·        Pomegranate or pomegranate juice

·        Prunes

·        Prune juice

·        Raisins

Vegetables

·        Acorn squash

·        Artichoke

·        Bamboo shoots

·        Baked beans

·        Butternut squash

·        Beets, fresh then boiled

·        Black beans

·        Brussels sprouts

·        Chinese cabbage

·        Carrots, raw

·        Dried beans and peas

·        Greens, except kale

·        Hubbard squash

·        Kohlrabi

·        Lentils

·        Legumes

·        Mushrooms, canned

·        Parsnips

·        Potatoes, white and sweet

·        Pumpkin

·        Refried beans

·        Rutabagas

·        Spinach, cooked

·        Tomatoes, tomato products

·        Vegetable juice

Protein Foods

·        Beans, dried or canned

·        Nuts

·        Tofu

Dairy Foods

Dairy items are high in potassium. You can consume these items in moderation by limiting your portion sizes to 1 serving:

·        Buttermilk

·        Chocolate milk

·        Eggnog

·        Evaporated milk

·        Malted milk

·        Milkshakes

·        Soy milk

·        Yogurt

Other Foods

·        Bran/bran Products

·        Chocolate

·        Granola

·        Milk, all types

·        Molasses

·        Nutritional supplements

·        Nuts and seeds

·        Peanut butter

·        Salt substitutes

·        Salt-free broth

·        Yogurt

Other

·        Snuff or chewing tobacco

 

     

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