High Potassium Foods

Potassium has many health benefits such as lowering your risk of chronic disease. Your body needs it for everything from heart and kidney function to muscle control. But, getting too much potassium can cause health problems.

Potassium is available and can be found in many foods and is also available in supplement form. Research shows that it may be easier for our bodies to absorb and use the potassium we get from food.

Why You Should Avoid Potassium

Your daily potassium recommendation increases with age, and men generally need more than women. On average, adults need between 2,300 and 3,400 milligrams per day.

Your body requires a delicate balance of potassium in order to maintain proper function of your heart and other muscles. Hyperkalemia, or high potassium, is a condition in which you have too much potassium in your blood. Too much potassium can cause health problems such as a heart attack.

Hyperkalemia is particularly dangerous because many people don’t feel the symptoms. If you do feel symptoms, they may include:

●Feeling tired or weak

●Feeling nauseous

●Pain in your muscles / cramps

●Trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, chest pains

The most common cause of too much potassium in your blood is kidney disease. Kidneys that are not functioning properly may be unable to remove extra potassium from the blood. This excess potassium doesn’t leave your body through urine. Instead, it travels through your kidneys and back into your bloodstream. Eventually, dangerous amounts of excess potassium can build up in your blood.

The following may also cause high potassium:

●Dehydration

●A high potassium diet

●Potassium supplements

●Certain medications

●Uncontrolled diabetes

●Injuries that result in severe bleeding

●Severe burns

●Addison’s disease (your body doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones)

●Some rare diseases

Foods With Potassium

Consider avoiding these eight high-potassium foods if you need to decrease your potassium levels:

1. Dried Apricots

Many fruits are rich in potassium, but drying them concentrates mineral content. A half-cup of dried apricots contains almost a quarter of your daily requirement with about 1,1000 milligrams. The drying process increases the amount of calories and sugars per serving.  

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2. Baked Potato

A medium baked potato has about 940 milligrams of potassium. But at least 60 % of this content comes from its skin, so consider removing the skin to lower the potassium levels. 

3. Lentils

One cup of cooked lentils adds 730 milligrams of potassium to your meal, about 16% of your daily needs. Other legumes, like kidney beans and soybeans, are also high in potassium, with about 300 and 400 milligrams for the same serving.

4. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste contains 670 milligrams per quarter-cup of potassium. Other tomato products may also contain high levels of potassium. A half-cup of tomato puree has 560 milligrams, while a medium fresh tomato contains about 290 milligrams.  

5. Squash

One cup of cooked squash contains about 15% of your daily potassium value with 640 milligrams.

6. Banana

With 422 milligrams of potassium, bananas should be avoided in a low-potassium diet. Fruits like oranges, apples, and cantaloupe each contain about 5% of the daily potassium requirement per serving. 

7. Milk

Dairy is one of the most common sources of potassium in our diets. One cup of reduced-fat milk contains 366 milligrams, while yogurt has slightly more for the same serving with 440 milligrams. For those on a dairy-free diet, soymilk contains 287 milligrams of potassium per cup. 

8. Chicken Breast

Most meats add some potassium to your meals. Chicken breast has the most per 3-ounce serving with 332 milligrams, but beef and turkey breast contain 315 and 212 milligrams, respectively. 

If you don’t eat meat but include fish in your diet, salmon has 326 milligrams of potassium, and canned tuna contains 153 milligrams for the same 3-ounce serving. 

Low-Potassium Alternatives

The following foods contain low levels of potassium. However, it’s important to remember that they contain some potassium. Therefore, it’s recommended that you keep our intake to a half-cup portion. Eating more than this can increase potassium levels:

●Apples, apple juice, apple cause

●Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries

●Watermelon

●Pineapple, pineapple juice

●Grapes, grape juice

●Alfalfa

●Celery

●Cucumber

●Eggplant

●Kale

●White mushrooms

●Yellow squash, zucchini squash

●Rice

●Noodles, pasta

●Bread and bread products (excluding whole grains) 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 02, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Advances in Nutrition: “Associations between Dietary Pulses Alone or with Other Legumes and Cardiometabolic Disease Outcomes: An Umbrella Review and Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies.”

American Kidney Fund: “What is high potassium, or hyperkalemia?”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The Role of Potassium and Sodium in Your Diet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Kidney stones — Symptoms and causes.”

National Institutes of Health: “Potassium.”

National Kidney Foundation: “Potassium and Your CKD Diet.”

National Kidney Foundation: “Six Steps to Controlling High Potassium.”

Nutrients: “Potassium Intake, Bioavailability, Hypertension, and Glucose Control.”

Oregon State University: “Potassium.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Does the Skin of a Potato Really Have All the Vitamins?”

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