Low Potassium Diet: Why You Should Reduce Potassium Intake

source: davita.com

Potassium is a mineral that our body needs to function, so you may have been wondering what a low potassium diet is for. In detail, potassium is a mineral that helps maintain the regular contraction of the heart. It also helps maintain the balance of fluids in our body and make nerves and muscles function properly. It is mainly found in whole grains, dried beans, vegetables, peas, milk, and fruits.

Like any other minerals, the intake of potassium should also be controlled. Low potassium intake leads to hypokalemia which can cause weakness. Meanwhile, high potassium intake can lead to hyperkalemia which can cause weak pulses and slow heart beat.

The kidneys play a big role in maintaining the levels of potassium in our body. However, people who take a lot of medicine and those who have kidney disease should be more conscious on the amount of potassium in their body. To manually control the levels of potassium in their bloodstream, low potassium diet is recommended to the patients.

Recommended Daily Intake

Normally, the recommended amount of potassium intake per day is 4700 mg. However, people with kidney afflictions are limited to 1500 to 2700 mg per day. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you start your low potassium diet as soon as possible. A low potassium diet includes the following servings per meal:
– 1 – 3 servings of low potassium fruit
– 2 – 3 servings of low potassium vegetable
– 1 – 2 servings of low potassium dairy and any calcium-rich products
– 3 – 7 servings of low potassium meat and meat substitutes
– 4 – 7 servings of low potassium grains

Low Potassium Foods

You choose from the following low potassium foods to include in your low potassium diet plan.

  • Fruits: apple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, raspberries, strawberries, cranberry, fruit cocktail, grapes, plums, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, pineapple, tangerine, and watermelon.
  • Vegetables: alfalfa sprouts, beans, cabbage, green peas, canned chestnuts, carrots, radish, parsley, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fresh mushrooms, kale, leached potatoes, celery, lettuce, mixed vegetables, okra, onions, peppers, rhubarb, asparagus and watercress.
  • General food: bread, cake (lightly colored), coffee (8oz max), cookies (without nuts and or chocolates), noodles, pasta, pies (without chocolates or high potassium ingredients), rice, and tea (16oz max).

What to Avoid

Meanwhile, here is a list of foods with high potassium. Avoid these foods as much as possible or use sparingly. (Read also another post: Food Avoid for those with Kidney Problems)

  • Fruits: avocado, banana, cantaloupe, dates, dried fruits, figs, honeydew, kiwi, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, pomegranate, prune, and raisins.
  • Vegetables: acorn squash, artichoke, bamboo shoots, baked beans, butternut squash, beets, black beans, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, carrots, Hubbard squash, kohlrabi, lentils, legumes, parsnips, pumpkin, rutabagas, spinach, tomatoes, and vegetable juices.
  • General foods: bran, chocolate, granola, milk, molasses, nutritional supplements, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, salt substitutes, chewing tobacco, and yogurt.

Like all other things, potassium should be taken in moderate quantities. Low or high intake can both be dangerous to our health. If you are under medication or have chronic kidney disease, it is imperative that you monitor your potassium intake regularly. Also, consult a nutritionist or dietitian first before committing on a low potassium diet.