Potassium is an invaluable electrolyte and mineral that regulates muscle function, fluids and the electrical activity of the heart. Older people and those afflicted with kidney disease may find their potassium blood levels climbing, as may people on specific medications. Most adults require 4,044mg of this mineral daily, which is easily obtained from diet. Do not avoid foods high in potassium unless a health-care provider has instructed it.
- Skill level:
Learning which foods contain elevated potassium content is the first step to avoiding them. Dairy, fruits, vegetables and meats contain potassium.
Ask your doctor or health-care provider why your dietary potassium should be restricted. Intellectually, if you understand why to avoid this electrolyte you might be more diligent in avoiding it. Common reasons include kidney failure and using prescription medications that interfere with potassium excretion, such as loop diuretics, heparin, beta blockers and insulin.
Know your limits. With many foods containing potassium in varying amounts, it would be highly challenging to restrict all potassium foods from your diet. Ask your health-care provider how many milligrams of potassium you can consume through food safely.
Avoid fish such as halibut, tuna and cod, because they all contain more than 400mg of potassium per a 76g(3oz) serving.
Cut out the tomato products. Just 1/4 cup of tomato paste has 664mg of potassium. Similarly, tomato sauce, juice and puree have high potassium levels. Avoid fruits such as bananas, peaches, citrus and melons.
Watch your dairy. One cup of low-fat milk has 366mg of potassium, with little difference in skim versus low-fat products. Non-fat yoghurt contains 570mg of potassium in 226g (8oz), whereas the low-fat version has 531mg.
Tips and warnings
- Watch your dietary supplements -- some over-the-counter supplements contain potassium.
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