Potassium can be found in many foods. Abnormal blood levels of potassium can be very dangerous as they may lead to serious heart arrhythmias. Kidneys regulate the metabolism of potassium, making sure that its levels are appropriate. However, when your kidneys are not working properly, you often need to limit certain foods that can increase the potassium in your system.
If you need to limit your potassium, your doctor or dietitian will tell you how many milligrams (mg) you can have each day. They will also help you design a low potassium diet.
Food Sources With Potassium
Potassium is found in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables. If your doctor wants you to limit your potassium intake, you may want to consume less of the following foods that contain higher levels of potassium:
- Sweet potato
- Tomato juice, sauce, paste, and puree
- Beet greens
- White beans
- Canned clams
- Prune juice
- Carrot juice
- Soybeans and lima beans
- Blackstrap molasses
- Certain fish such as halibut, yellowfin tuna, Pacific cod, rainbow trout
- Winter squash
- Cooked spinach
- Dried peaches or apricots
Food Sources Low in Potassium
There are plenty of low-potassium foods that can be substituted. This list includes some fruits and vegetables
- Apples or applesauce
- Berries, including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries
- Green peas
- Tangerine or mandarin orange
- 1 cup or less of watermelon
- Yellow or zucchini squash
- Non-whole grain breads or bread products
Talk to your doctor or dietitian about other options available to you, including help with meal planning.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Kidney Foundation
Dietitians of Canada
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Hyperkalemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 20, 2016. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Potassium and your CKD diet. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium. Accessed May 31, 2016.
Last reviewed May 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 5/31/2016