Potassium is a mineral found in food and used by your body to help regulate fluid levels, heartbeat and proper nerve function. Your kidneys maintain proper potassium levels in your body. Kidney impairment is a common reason your doctor may recommend adhering to a low-potassium diet. If your kidneys are impaired, potassium levels can rise in the body. High levels of potassium are dangerous to your health.
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What to Expect
Your doctor will make an individual assessment and recommend a daily potassium range to stay within. Generally you are allowed to choose one to two low-potassium fruits, two to three servings of low-potassium vegetables, one to two servings of low-potassium dairy and three to seven servings of meats a day. Your doctor will also provide a list of high potassium foods to avoid. As your condition changes, your diet may change.
Choose low-potassium fruits, such as apples, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, plums and strawberries. Avoid high potassium fruits, such as apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, nectarines, pears, oranges and dried fruits. Rinse and drain all canned fruits before eating. Choose fruit juices made from low potassium fruits with no added sugar. Create a safe fruits list to take grocery shopping, for ease and convenience.
Select low-potassium vegetables, such as alfalfa, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant and kale. Avoid high potassium vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, chard, rutabaga, winter squash and tomatoes. Keep track of the amount of potassium per meal, to stay within the daily range your doctor recommends.
Other High Potassium Foods
Other high potassium foods to avoid include bran, whole grain, legumes and nuts. Prepared sauces are generally high in potassium. Avoid salt substitutes that use potassium chloride. Chocolate, soy milk, nuts, yogurt and licorice are also high in potassium.
Sample Meal Ideas
A low-potassium menu with a range of 2,000 to 3,000 mg a day, can include 4 oz. of cranberry juice for breakfast, half an English muffin, a scrambled egg and 1 tsp. of jelly. A typical low-potassium lunch is 3 oz. of grilled chicken breast, 4 oz. of green beans and an apple. Low-potassium dinner ideas include, a 3 oz. hamburger, 3 oz. of white rice, 4 oz. of Brussels sprouts and 6 oz. of tea.