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Low-Potassium Diet

What is Potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods, such as whole grains, fruits, veggies, milk, dried beans, and peas. It helps steady blood pressure and also helps muscles like the heart contract the right way.

Why Should I Follow This Diet?

People with kidney problems or those who are taking certain medicines may need to eat this way. Potassium can build up to harmful levels in the blood in people who have kidney problems. This can lead to confusion, irregular heartbeats, or a heart attack.

Foods High and Low in Potassium

Food With High Potassium

The foods in the left-hand column have more than 200 milligrams (mg) per serving. People who need to limit potassium should not eat these foods. Talk to a dietitian to find out how much potassium is right for you.

Food With Low Potassium

The foods in the right-hand column are low in potassium. Eating these foods can help keep your levels normal. But eating more than one serving of any of these foods can make it a high-potassium food.

Food Group Food With High Potassium Food With Low Potassium
Fruits
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dates
  • Dried fruits
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange or orange juice
  • Orange juice
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranate or pomegranate juice
  • Prunes
  • Prune juice
  • Raisins
  • Apple, apple juice, apple sauce
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Grapes, grape juice
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple, pineapple juice
  • Plums
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon
Vegetables
  • Acorn squash
  • Artichoke
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Baked beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Beets, fresh then boiled
  • Black beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Carrots, raw
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Greens, except kale
  • Hubbard squash
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms, canned
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes, white and sweet
  • Pumpkin
  • Refried beans
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach, cooked
  • Tomatoes, tomato products
  • Vegetable juice
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Beans, wax or green
  • Cabbage, green and red
  • Carrots, cooked
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Leached potatoes *
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Mushrooms, fresh
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas, green
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Rhubarb
  • Water chestnuts, canned
  • Watercress
Protein Foods
  • Beans, dried or canned
  • Nuts
  • Tofu
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Peanut butter
Dairy FoodsDairy items are high in potassium. Keep your portion sizes to one serving:
  • Buttermilk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Eggnog
  • Evaporated milk
  • Malted milk
  • Milkshakes
  • Soy milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Skim milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
Other Foods
  • Bran/bran Products
  • Chocolate
  • Granola
  • Milk, all types
  • Molasses
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Salt substitutes
  • Salt-free broth
  • Yogurt
  • Bread and bread products (not whole grains)
  • Cake—angel food cake, yellow cake
  • Coffee
  • Cookies (without nuts or chocolate)
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Pies (without chocolate or high-potassium food)
  • Rice
  • Tea
Other
  • Snuff or chewing tobacco
 

  *To leach potatoes: Peel and cut them into small pieces. Soak them in a large amount of water for at least 2 hours. (Use at least 5 cups of water for every 1 cup of potatoes.) Drain, rinse, and cook.

Tips

RESOURCES:

American Society of Nutrition
http://www.nutrition.org

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

The Kidney Foundation of Canada
http://www.kidney.ca

REFERENCES:

Patient education: dietary and fluid compliance for patients on hemodialysis. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated January 4, 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019.

Potassium and your CKD diet. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium. Accessed June 17, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN  Last Updated: 6/17/2019