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 and also helps muscles, including the heart, to contract properly.
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 .
The high-potassium foods on the table contain more than 200 milligrams (mg) of potassium per serving. This is considered to be high in potassium. In general, you should avoid these foods if you need to limit how much potassium you eat. However, you may be able to work with a dietitian to add small portions of your favorite foods.
The foods in the right-hand column are considered to be low in potassium. Eating these foods can help keep your potassium level normal. Remember, though, that eating more than one serving of any of these foods can make it a high-potassium food.
|Food Category||Food With High Potassium||Food With Low Potassium|
|Dairy Foods||Dairy items are high in potassium. You can consume these items in moderation by limiting your portion sizes to 1 serving: |
*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.
American Society of Nutrition
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Dietitians of Canada
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Low-potassium (2 grams) diet. Huntsman Cancer Hospital website. Available at: http://www.hci.utah.edu/publicweb/content/nutrition/images/LowPotassium.pdf. Updated June 2011. Accessed June 1, 2015.
Potassium and your CKD diet. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium. Accessed June 1, 2015.
Last reviewed May 2016 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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