Potassium Diet Information

What does potassium do?

Potassium is a mineral in your cells. It helps your nerves and muscles work as they should. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate. A potassium level that is too high or too low can be dangerous. Too much or too little potassium in your blood can stop your heartbeat. If your levels are high or low, you may need to change the way you eat.

What foods contain potassium?

  • Milk and milk products contain high amounts of potassium. This includes foods like yogurt, milk-based puddings and custards. Avoid chocolate milk products, as chocolate is high in potassium.
  • Some whole grain and bran cereals contain a lot of potassium. Switch to more refined cereals that are lower in potassium.
  • Legumes, nuts, peanut butter and dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, prunes, and dates are rich sources of potassium.
  • Meat, fish, poultry and eggs are moderate to high sources of potassium. These foods are also good sources of high-quality protein, which you need for normal body functions. Follow the guidelines for protein needed in your diet.
  • Some fruits and vegetables can also add a lot of potassium to your diet.
  • Avoid fruits and vegetables high in potassium unless approved by your dietitian.
  • Limit fruits and vegetables with a medium amount of potassium.
  • You can eat fruits and vegetables that contain low amounts of potassium (less than 150mg).
  • A serving size is one half cup cooked or one cup raw.

Check with your dietitian or physician to find out how much potassium your diet will allow

You can control the amount of potassium you get in your diet by being aware of which foods are low or high in potassium.

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dried fruits: apricots, dates, figs, prunes, raisins
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Tangel
  • Prune juice

  • Cherries Figs,
  • 2 Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Fresh peach
  • Fresh pear
  • Watermelon
  • Juice: grape (canned/bottled), grapefruit, orange, pineapple

  • Apple
  • Applesauce
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Canned peaches, pears, fruit cocktail
  • Canned mandarin oranges
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapes
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Pineapple (fresh or canned)
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Juice: apple, cranberry, grape (frozen concentrate)
  • Nectars: peach, pear

  • Artichoke
  • Beet and beet greens
  • Kohlrabi
  • Legumes: lima/navy/pinto/kidney beans and peas
  • Potato: baked/boiled/fried
  • Pumpkin
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach, cooked
  • Sweet potato or yams
  • Tomato
  • Tomato and V8 juice
  • Winter squash: acorn, butternut, hubbard

  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Greens, frozen, cooked: collards, kale, turnip
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Potatoes, double cooked*
  • Zucchini boiled
* See double cooking instructions below

How to double cook potatoes (to lower the potassium). Wash and peel the potato. Slice into thin slices. Place the sliced potato in room temperature water. Use two times the amount of water to the amount of potato. Bring to a boil. Drain the water and add two times the amount of water to the amount of potatoes of fresh room temperature water. Boil again.

  • Broccoli
  • Bean sprouts
  • Green, wax beans
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Corn, frozen, boiled
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green peas
  • Greens, raw: dandelion, mustard, spinach, turnip
  • Lettuce: cos, endive, iceberg, leaf, romaine, watercress
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppers, sweet or hot
  • Radishes
  • Summer squash
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts canned

Salt Substitutes

  • Many salt substitutes are made with potassium chloride so you should not use them (i.e. Lite Salt, No Salt, Nu Salt).
  • Here are some seasonings that you can use freely.
  • Diamond Crystal Salt Sense
  • Benson’s Gourmet Seasoning’s Table Tasty
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning blends – all types
  • They use Non-sodium spices and herbs, such as garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, etc.
  • Some foods and drinks may have hidden potassium. Certain herbal or dietary supplements may also have it. Diet or protein drinks and diet bars often have this mineral. It is also in sports drinks. These are meant to replace potassium you lose during exercise.

To be safe, always read the labels of any prepared foods you buy. Avoid those that list potassium.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911.

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