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.
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
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2005: Appendix B-1. Food sources of potassium. US Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/appendixb.htm. Updated July 9, 2008. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Hyperkalemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 4, 2014. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Potassium. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium.cfm. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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