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High Potassium Diet

High Potassium Diet

Potassium is essential to maintain heart health, but excess amount of this mineral in blood can adversely affect the function of the heart. The following article presents a list of foods rich in potassium and also a list of foods low in it. The lists can help you design a proper diet for yourself.
Leena Palande
The mineral "potassium (symbol: K)" which is obtained from both animal and plant sources, helps maintain water and pH (acid/base) balance. It helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. It plays an important role in lowering sodium levels too. It aids muscle contraction, and helps send nerve impulses throughout the body. It keeps an eye on various enzymatic reactions. Certain type of tissue destruction can force this mineral in cells to enter into the blood stream, and this can raise the blood potassium levels. The condition wherein excess amount of this mineral affects the body functions, including heart function, is known as hyperkalemia. It can cause slow heartbeats, low pulse, and fatigue. Certain diseases require limited use of this mineral.
Those diagnosed with hyperkalemia should include low potassium foods in the diet. To deal with the deficiency of this mineral (hypokalemia), high potassium foods should be incorporated in the diet. In case of such deficiency, even high sodium foods should be avoided, as these foods would raise blood pressure levels, and would destroy all the benefits gained from potassium-rich foods. Foods that play the role of diuretics, for example, celery, asparagus, and melons should also be avoided, because these foods can flush the mineral K out of the body. Exactly opposite instructions are given to people with high K levels.
Foods Rich in Potassium
Food Item Mineral K (in mg) Food Item Mineral K (in mg)
Spinach 839 Avocado 540
Cantaloupe 494 Broccoli 456
Tomatoes 427 Artichokes 595
Beetroot 1309 Brussels Sprouts 504
Parsnips 573 Blackeyed Peas 690
Potatoes 1081 Pumpkin 564
Salisfy 526 Soybeans 886
Winter Squash 896 Water Chestnuts 720
Yam 735 Bitter Melon 934
Bamboo 640 Chinese Radish 970
Fennel 828 Lotus Root 726
Mustard Green 1396 Taro Root 591
Apricot (3) 814 Banana 467
Currants 892 Dates (5) 542
Figs (2) 542 Guava 580
Papaya (1/3) 781 Passion Fruit 934
Persimmon 540 Plantain 893
Pomegranate 678 Prune 707
Raisins 544 Plums (2) 520
Clams 534 Cashews 812
Pistachios 1331 Adzuki Beans Milk 612
Navy beans 670 Plain Yogurt 625
Buckwheat 782 Quinoa 1258
Wheat Germ 1080 Wholemeal Pasta 800
White Beans 1309 Lentils 731
Pinto beans 800 Wholemeal Pasta 800

Foods that can Curb Hyperkalemia
Food Item Mineral K (in mg) Food Item Mineral K (in mg)
Apples peeled 62 Applesauce, canned 80-90
Cranberry sauce 36 Blueberries 65
Lemon 80 Pears canned 83
Pineapple 88 Raspberries raw 94
Watermelon 93 Orange 237
Pineapple 133 Strawberries 124
Tangerine 132 Raw Alfalfa Sprouts 13
Green Beans 76 Cauliflower 125
Cabbage 80 Bean Sprouts 70
Carrots cooked 114 Collards cooked 84
Corn cooked 114 Endive raw 79
Leeks cooked 46 Lettuce 87
Onions 124 Peppers raw 89
Popcorn 20 Turnips 106
Kale 148 Celery 171
Chickpeas 239 Sweet Cherries (10) 152

The symptoms of hyperkalemia are noticed when the potassium level in blood reaches 7.0 mEq/liter. Higher levels can cause muscle weakness, nausea, fatigue, and a tingling sensation. In severe cases, increased levels may result in a slow heartbeat and a weak pulse. Regular blood tests help monitor the levels.
Tips to Lower Potassium
  • Avoid salt substitute because it contains the element K.
  • Potassium-free herbs, spices, and seasoning mixes should be used in cooking.
  • Limit fruits and vegetables to 4 servings (1/2 cup each) a day.
  • Limit milk (all types of milk, buttermilk, yogurt, and ice cream) to 1/2 cup a day.
  • Limit the vegetables like asparagus, beets, brussels sprouts, collard greens, corn, dandelion greens, kale, etc. to one serving (½ cup).
  • Completely avoid very high potassium fruits, vegetables, and foods like chocolate candy, beverages, molasses, nuts, etc.
Normally, a low sodium high potassium diet is considered as healthy diet. Cutting down salt intake, increasing the intake of the mineral K, shedding excess pounds, increasing physical activities, and following an overall healthy and balanced diet can help maintain blood pressure levels. People with normal blood pressure are less likely to suffer from heart diseases, stroke, or kidney diseases.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.
Homegrown vegetables
Green Oak Lettuce
Fresh Broccoli in a bowl on rustic background
Cauliflower and lettuce
Fennel Seeds
Black Cherries
Red Pomegranates