Potassium Content of Foods
What Is Potassium?
Potassium is a mineral found in many different foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, dried beans, and peas. Potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure and also helps muscles, including the heart, to contract properly.
Why Follow a Low-potassium Diet?
Your doctor may recommend following a low-potassium diet if you have kidney problems or are taking certain medications. If you have kidney problems, excess potassium can build up to dangerous levels in your blood. This can lead to confusion, irregular heartbeats, or a heart attack.
Why Follow a High-potassium Diet?
When combined with a low-sodium diet, a diet high in potassium can help lower high blood pressure. This can help lower the risk of stroke and other complications of high blood pressure. However, anyone with kidney problems should not follow a high-potassium diet without first checking with their doctor.
The following foods contain more than 200 milligrams of potassium per serving and are therefore considered to be high in potassium.
(All portions are ½ cup)
The following foods are considered to be low in potassium. Realize, however, that eating more than one of serving of any of these foods can make it a high-potassium food.
All servings are ½ cup unless otherwise noted.
*To leach potatoes: Peel and cut them into small pieces. Then soak them in a large amount of water for at least two hours. (Use at least 5 cups of water for every cup of potatoes.) Drain, rinse, and cook as desired.
American Dietetic Association
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Dietitians of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Knapp S. Tips for surviving the holidays. The ESRD Network of New York website. Available at: http://www.esrdnet.... Accessed February 13, 2006.
Potassium food list. VA Medical Center, Portland, Oregon. Available at: http://www.va.gov/.... Accessed January 23, 2006.
Potassium and your CKD diet. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/potassium.cfm. Accessed October 6, 2011.
Shield J, Mullen MC. Patient Education Materials. Supplement to the Manual of Clinical Dietetics. 3rd ed. Chicago, Il: American Dietetic Association; 2001.
Last reviewed October 2011 by Brian Randall, MD