An electrolyte mineral that helps regulate your heartbeat and balance the fluid levels in your body, potassium can help offset the adverse effects of consuming too much sodium. Potassium is readily available in many plant foods, including tea, and healthy adults need about 4,700 milligrams daily. However, if you have chronic kidney disease or other renal issues, your doctor may advise you to limit your potassium intake. In that case, all types of tea may still be safe for you in moderation because they are low in potassium, but check with your doctor before adding tea to your diet.
Eight ounces of brewed black tea supplies 88 milligrams of potassium. Because this amount is less than 200 milligrams per serving, a cup of tea qualifies as low potassium, according to the National Kidney Foundation. If you add milk to your tea, you increase its potassium content because milk is a high-potassium food. An ounce of regular milk, or 2 tablespoons, contains 40 milligrams of potassium, while the same amount of low-fat milk supplies 46 milligrams.
Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, but its leaves have not been fermented. A cup of green tea supplies only 17 milligrams of potassium, making it a lower potassium choice than black tea. Drinking green tea may help support kidney health in general. In an animal study published in “The Journal of Urology” in 2005, green tea consumption reduced the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones in rats.
Many herbal teas -- usually brewed using 1 teaspoon fresh herb per 8 ounces hot water -- are naturally low in potassium. Chamomile and hibiscus tea, for example, each offer 21 milligrams of the mineral in 1 cup. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center cites a handful of herbs that may boost potassium levels in the blood. These include dandelion, alfalfa, horsetail and nettle, so if you’re watching your potassium, you will want to limit your intake of these herbs.
Drinking several cups of tea can help boost your potassium levels if you have high blood pressure and your doctor has suggested more potassium in your diet. But for those with kidney problems, the National Kidney Foundation recommends limiting tea intake to 16 ounces daily, to keep the amount of potassium from adding up. Be aware that prepared iced teas often come in larger portions, meaning more potassium content. For example, a 17-ounce bottle of a ready-to-drink iced tea contains 98 milligrams of potassium.
- Colorado State University Extension: Potassium in the Diet
- National Kidney Foundation: Potassium and Your CKD Diet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea
- The Journal of Urology: Preventive Effects of Green Tea on Renal Stone Formation and the Role of Oxidative Stress in Nephrolithiasis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hyperkalemia
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Food Search