If your dietitian recommends a low potassium diet, adding low potassium foods to your diet may help you stay healthy. However, if the test shows a low potassium content, your dietitian may recommend potassium-rich foods.
The body needs healthy potassium levels to maintain regular heart rate, normal muscle function, and nerve function. A medical condition in your kidney can be problematic in keeping potassium levels in a healthy range. You should consult a dietitian to understand and evaluate your potassium intake.
Potassium and its importance
The function of your kidney is to clean excess fluids and waste from your blood. A normal kidney can filter 120-150 quarts (1 quart is equivalent to 0.94 litres in the US) of blood every day results in the production of 1-2 quarts of urine.
Potassium is a mineral, an electrolyte involved in maintaining a regular heart rate and good muscle function. The function of a kidney is to maintain adequate amounts of potassium in the body. However, if your kidneys are not healthy, you should generally limit certain foods that can raise your blood potassium levels to dangerous levels.
High potassium levels can make you weak, numb, and heartbreaking. High levels of potassium can cause arrhythmias and heart attacks.
Too much or too little potassium is dangerous. If levels are low or high, you may need to change your diet.
- Low potassium foods: less than 100 mg
- medium potassium foods: 100-200 mg
- High potassium foods: 201-300 mg
- Very high potassium foods: Higher than 300 mg
Symptoms of high or low potassium
If your potassium suddenly rises, you may feel shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations. If you start to experience these symptoms, call your local emergency service. This condition is called hyperkalemia and requires immediate medical attention. Other symptoms may include;
- Tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes
- Muscle weakness, cramping, fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Irregular heartbeat
Causes of high potassium level
Healthy kidneys help regulate potassium levels. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, your potassium levels may remain normal. In advanced chronic kidney disease, your potassium levels may be too high or too low as the kidneys lose function.
If your potassium content is too high, consult your nutritionist to get you back to the target potassium content range. It is crucial to address high potassium levels immediately because it puts your health at serious risk.
A safe level of potassium
According to health professional’s recommendations, healthy men and women should consume at least 3,400 mg and 2,600 mg of potassium per day, respectively. However, people with kidney disease who follow a low potassium diet should generally consume less than 2000 mg of potassium per day.
If you have chronic kidney disease, the healthy range of potassium levels is 3.5-5.0 mEq/L, and if you have End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD), it is 3.5-5.5 mEq/L. If your potassium content is too high or too low, your medical doctors can help you choose the right amount of the best fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy potassium balance. Some examples are listed below.
Depending on the blood test results, the following are the levels of safety for potassium in your blood.
- Safe zone: 3.5-5.0
- Caution zone: 5.1-6.0
- Danger zone: Higher than 6.0
Low potassium foods list:
Reducing the intake of potassium-rich foods is crucial for people on a potassium-restricted diet. However, the most important thing is to keep total potassium intake below the limit set by healthcare providers, usually 4700 mg per day of potassium or less.
The following lists of fruits, vegetables, and other foods are perfect low potassium foods for kidney patients. (K= Potassium)
- Apple: Half cup of apple sauce has 90 mg of K
- Blueberries: 125ml or a half cup of blueberries has 60 mg of K
- Raspberries: 125ml or a half cup of raspberries has 90 mg of K
- Grapes: 9 grapes has 90 mg of K
- Pineapple: Half cup of pineapple juice has 100 mg of K
- Cucumber: 125ml or a half cup of cucumber has 80 mg of K
- Lemon: Juice of 1 lemon has 50 mg of K
- Eggplant: A half-cup of eggplant cubes has 117 mg of K
- Lettuce: 1 cup of lettuce has 100 mg of K
- Radish: 1 radish has 10 mg of K
- Spaghetti: 125ml or a half cup of spaghetti has 30 mg of K
- Green Beans: Half cup of beans has 90 mg of K
- Brewed tea: 1 cup or 250ml of brewed tea has 90 mg of K
- Cereal: 250 ml or 1 cup of puffed rice has 15 mg of K
- Bread, multi- or whole-grain: 1 slice has 60 mg of K
- Butter: 15ml or one tablespoon of butter has less than 5 mg of K
- Cheese: 30g of cheese has 20-30 mg of K
- Eggs: One large-sized egg has 63 mg of K
Potassium intake as per age
"A diet that is a good source of potassium and contains low-sodium foods may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke."
The Institute of Medicine has established adequate potassium intake. Whether you are taking supplements or not, getting this potassium in your diet is good for your health. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that foods containing at least 350 mg of potassium have labels mentioned in the table below.
Tips to reduce your potassium intake
- Potassium-rich foods should be limited. A kidney dietitian can help you adjust your diet to ensure you get the right amount of potassium.
- Ask your dietitian how safe it is to include potassium-rich vegetables in your diet.
- Remember, almost all foods contain potassium, and serving size is very important. Consumption of high amounts of low potassium foods can result in high potassium foods.
- If you are on dialysis, make sure to get all the treatments prescribed for kidney patients.
High potassium foods to avoid kidney disease
The table below shows foods rich in potassium. All foods on this list are high in potassium, but some are very high in potassium.
|Apricot, avocado, banana, dates, dried fruits, figs, grapefruit juice, kiwi, mango, orange, papaya, pomegranate||Artichoke, bamboo shoots, baked beans, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage, carrots, lentils, legumes, okra, pumpkin, tomatoes|
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are low potassium foods for diabetic patients?
Many foods have low potassium contents. But as a diabetic patient, you should consider the sugar content of the foods that you consume. Consult your medical service providers before consuming any of the below-mentioned foods. The list of low potassium foods for diabetics may include apples, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, pears, watermelon, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, and green beans.
Q2. What are the best foods to eat for low potassium?
If you are suffering from low potassium in your blood, we would recommend foods high in potassium like bananas, oranges, apricots, cooked spinach, cooked broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and dates to balance the potassium content in your blood.
Q3. What should I eat if my potassium is high?
If you have high potassium content in your blood, you should eat low potassium foods to balance potassium contents. Foods like apples, grapes, and blueberries will supply less amount of potassium to your body.
Q4. Are eggs a low potassium food?
One large-sized egg contains about 63 mg of potassium and is considered a low potassium food. However, you should consult your dietitian to find out how often you should eat them and be in the safe zone.
For kidney patients, reducing or increasing your potassium intake is one of the most crucial parts of your daily life. As nutritional requirements may change, you should practice caution if kidney disease progress to a different level.