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STDWatch
Hannah Kingston

Sep 19, 20227 min read

Which Foods Are Low In Potassium? A Complete Guide

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Different foods contain different amounts of nutrients, such as calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. One of the minerals that can be found in many different foods is potassium.

Your body needs some potassium in order to regulate certain functions and stay healthy. However, some people need to consume a specific diet to lower potassium and prevent health complications. Do you know what fruits and vegetables are low in potassium? Or the relationship between dialysis and potassium?

Keep reading this article to learn more about foods that lower potassium in the body.

Who needs a low potassium diet?

In most cases, people who eat a low potassium diet are trying to prevent hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a condition that causes high levels of potassium in the blood, and it can lead to severe and even life-threatening complications.

According to the health portal UpToDate, people who have kidney disease or who take certain medications that can increase their potassium levels may be prescribed a list of low potassium foods by their physician. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys are unable to get rid of excess potassium properly.

For these patients, a low potassium diet can be the best way to keep their potassium levels as close to normal as possible. Hyperkalemia can be asymptomatic, so managing potassium levels is often the most effective way to prevent long-term complications. Severe cases of hyperkalemia can even require kidney dialysis to get rid of the excess potassium immediately.

People who aren’t at risk of hyperkalemia usually don’t require a low potassium diet.

Diet to lower potassium

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, healthy women need approximately 2,600 mg of potassium per day, while adult men need around 3,400 mg of potassium everyday. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require anywhere between 2,400 to 2,900 of potassium each day.

Most healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet will get higher amounts of potassium from their everyday diet. The excess potassium is typically removed by the kidneys and eliminated through the urine. A healthy adult will usually consume 3500 to 4500 mg of potassium per day.

But patients with kidney disease have to consume less potassium per day. A low potassium diet is meant to contain between 2000 to 3000 mg of potassium everyday. This is still enough potassium to fulfill your metabolic functions, but not enough to cause complications.

It’s important to check food labels if you’re following a low potassium diet, since many processed foods can contain high amounts of potassium and other electrolytes.

Best foods for low potassium

According to the National Kidney Foundation, a low in potassium foods chart can include:

Low potassium fruits

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Cranberries
  • Mandarin
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Plum
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon

Low potassium vegetables

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Olives
  • Eggplant
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Other low potassium foods

  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • White bread
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Plain cereals
  • Couscous
  • Polenta
  • Pastries or baked goods without nuts, chocolate, or high-potassium fruits

You should seek professional advice from a dietitian if you’re following a low potassium diet. In addition to choosing the right foods, it’s also very important to ensure that you’re eating the right portion sizes to prevent hyperkalemia. Practically all you eat has some potassium, but following a strict list of low potassium foods can make a big difference in your potassium levels.

High and low potassium food chart

There are certain high potassium foods that you should avoid on this diet. According to the NHS, high potassium foods that you should avoid include:

  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Coconut
  • Fruit juices
  • Dried fruit
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Spinach
  • Dried vegetables
  • Okra
  • Parsnips
  • Baked beans
  • Steamed or instant mashed potatoes
  • Whole grain products
  • Naan bread
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chocolate

You can learn more about many other health topics at STDWatch.com now.

Sources

Patient education: Low-potassium diet (Beyond the Basics) - uptodate.com

Potassium - hsph.harvard.edu

YOUR GUIDE TO A LOW-POTASSIUM DIET - kidney.org

REDUCING POTASSIUM IN YOUR DIET - ouh.nhs.uk


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