Most people don't have to worry about getting enough of the mineral potassium, because deficiencies are almost unknown in the industrialized world. Healthy people generally don't have to worry about getting too much potassium, either. But high levels of potassium are a problem for those whose kidneys are so impaired, they can no longer regulate levels of this mineral. For these people, the potassium content of canned mandarin oranges could be problematic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one cup of canned mandarin oranges packed in juice has 331 mg of potassium. Draining the juice lowers the total potassium to 257 mg.
The National Kidney Foundation defines a high-potassium food as one with more than 200 mg of potassium per serving. According to this definition, a cup serving of mandarin oranges could qualify as a high-potassium food. If you have high levels of potassium, a better approach would be to eat this food only occasionally, perhaps tossing a few sections of mandarin orange with low-potassium fruits like apple.
Potassium facilitates the transmission of electrical impulses among nerve cells. Most people don't have to worry about potassium, because their kidneys automatically make sure that levels are within healthy limits. But it is a concern for kidney patients whose potassium levels are high enough to affect their nervous systems, as high levels can cause irregular heartbeat. High levels of potassium are treated with low-potassium diets, which is why foods like canned mandarin oranges can be an issue for those with kidney disease.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in nine Americans has some form of kidney problem. This means that potassium is a possible issue for a large number of people. If you have kidney disease, your nephrologist will monitor your potassium levels. Knowing your potassium numbers will help you decide whether high-potassium foods like canned mandarin oranges are an issue.