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Can Juicing Green Vegetables Cause Hyperkalemia?

by
author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
Can Juicing Green Vegetables Cause Hyperkalemia?
Many green vegetables are high in potassium. Photo Credit ipopba/iStock/Getty Images

Hyperkalemia is a condition characterized by a high level of potassium in your blood. Potassium is a mineral that plays many roles in your body's functions, but a level that is higher than normal, which is anything over 5.2 millimoles per liter, may cause health complications. With the rise in popularity of green juices and smoothies, you may be concerned that your potassium level will increase, as many green vegetables contain the nutrient. If you experience any of the symptoms of hyperkalemia after adding green vegetable juices to your diet, contact your doctor.

Hyperkalemia

The most common cause of hyperkalemia is kidney disease, but Addison's disease, burns, Type 1 diabetes, alcoholism and certain medications are other potential causes. In addition, a high intake of potassium, through food and supplements, may also result in a higher than normal level. Leafy green vegetables are often included in juice drinks or smoothies. A high intake of these beverages may contribute to hyperkalemia, but aren't likely to be the cause. Symptoms of the condition include heartbeat irregularities, slow pulse and nausea. A simple blood test can determine whether you need to reduce your potassium intake.

Juicing

Juicing green vegetables concentrates the nutrients in them because you consume several servings in one glass. In addition, eating raw vegetables increases your intake of nutrients -- including potassium -- many of which are lost during the cooking process. If you are on potassium supplements, talk with your doctor about the safety of including green juices in your meal plan.

Green Vegetables

The most commonly juiced green vegetables are the leafy ones. Spinach, kale, collard greens, fennel, endive, escarole, cabbage, mustard greens and most types of lettuce are some that appear in many green juicing recipes. Some of these recipes include fruit, which works to counteract the bitter taste that many leafy greens have. Many types of fruit also contain high levels of potassium, increasing the risk of getting too much when you drink green vegetable juices regularly.

Potassium Content

Knowing the potassium content of green vegetables allows you to create green juices without elevating your potassium level to a dangerous zone. A cup of raw spinach contains 167 milligrams, a cup of mustard greens has 198 milligrams, kale contains 300 milligrams and lettuce has about 108 milligrams per cup. The daily recommended intake for potassium is 4,700 milligrams and, in most cases, drinking green juice won't be enough to cause your levels to become too high. However, if you take supplements, eat other foods high in potassium or have a health condition, green juices may not be the right choice for you, despite the health benefits.

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