Foods that are low in potassium
Many fruits, vegetables, and food items can be categorized as low potassium foods. Some of low potassium foods include apples, strawberries, cucumber, noodles and pasta.
What is potassium
Many of the foods you eat contain potassium. It keeps your heartbeat regular and your muscles functioning properly. Healthy kidneys are responsible for keeping your body’s potassium levels in check. When your kidneys are unhealthy, you may have to limit certain foods that might increase the potassium in your blood to a dangerous level. If you have a high potassium level, you may feel weak, numb, and tingly. Having too much potassium in your body can result in irregular heartbeats or heart attacks.
Why we might need a low potassium food
Hyperkalemia refers to a high level of potassium in the blood. A blood level of more than 5.0 mmol per liter is indicative of the condition, which can be dangerous.
Potassium from foods cannot cause hyperkalemia in an adult who is healthy. For this reason, potassium from foods doesn’t have a tolerable upper intake level.
People with poor kidney function or people who take medications that may affect kidney function are commonly affected by hyperkalemia. The kidneys remove excess potassium from the body. As a result, poor kidney function may lead to a buildup of this mineral in the blood.
In addition to poor kidney function, there are other causes of hyperkalemia. One of them is taking too many potassium supplements. Supplements are smaller and easier to take than foods. Overdoing it on supplements may overburden the kidneys with excess potassium
What are safe levels of potassium in blood
According to NIH, following are the different levels of potassium in blood:
- An adult’s potassium level typically falls between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
- Hyperkalemia occurs when levels exceed 5.5 mmol/L.
- A reading above 6.5 mmol/L can cause serious heart problems that require immediate medical care.
Read more if you want to check potassium levels at home.
How to lower the potassium level in foods
A cooking process called leaching lowers the potassium content in certain vegetables. You can use this on white and sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, and rutabagas.
Leaching to reduce potassium levels
Ask your doctor or nutritionist how to balance high- and low-potassium foods in your meals based on the amount of potassium that’s right for you. We also offer free diet consultations. Book your appointment today.
Food that are low in potassium
Fruits low in potassium
- Apples (plus apple juice and applesauce)
- Fruit cocktail
- Grapes and grape juice
- Mandarin oranges
- Pineapple and pineapple juice
- Raspberries and Strawberries
Vegetables low in potassium
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Green beans or wax beans
- White mushrooms (raw)
- Peas (green)
- Asparagus (6 raw spears)
- Broccoli (raw or cooked from frozen)
- Carrots (cooked)
- Corn (half an ear if it’s on the cob)
- Water chestnuts
- Yellow squash and zucchini
Low potassium foods:
- Bread (not whole grain)
- Cake (angel or yellow)
- Coffee (8 ounces)
- Tea (16 ounces max)
- Cookies (no nuts or chocolate)
- Pies (no chocolate or high-potassium fruit)
What should I do if my potassium level rises too high?
- Avoid foods that are high in potassium. The renal dietitian will help you plan your diet so that you get the right amount of potassium.
- Try to eat a variety of foods, but in moderation.
- Leach high potassium vegetables before eating them if you want to include them in your diet.
- Don’t drink or use canned fruit and vegetable liquids, or meat juices.
- Potassium is found in almost every food. Be careful how much you consume. If a low potassium food is consumed in large amounts, it becomes a high potassium food.
- Make sure you get all your dialysis treatments or exchanges prescribed to you.