Potassium is an important mineral for your body’s functioning. When you experience high blood-potassium levels, your body will respond with adverse symptoms, including impaired muscle function and an irregular heartbeat. If your physician has diagnosed you with hyperkalemia, a condition where your potassium levels are high, she may recommend a low-potassium diet. Because most foods contain some potassium, it is important to pay attention to serving sizes in order to ensure your low-potassium food choices do not turn into high-potassium choices, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Many vegetables are high in potassium, so limit vegetable servings to two to three servings per day, according to the website UptoDate. Although vegetables such as white and sweet potatoes can be high in potassium, you can use a process known as leaching to remove potassium from the foods, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. To do this, peel the potato and then cut it into small pieces. Place the potatoes into a container, then pour enough water to completely soak them. Cover the container, then refrigerate for four hours. The potassium will be attracted to the water and begin to draw out of the potatoes. Be sure to drain the water before cooking. You also can follow the same process for carrots, beets and rutabagas, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Follow a similar process to reduce the potassium intake of squash, mushrooms, cauliflower and frozen greens.
Pay careful attention to serving size when consuming meats to ensure you do not take in an excess amount of potassium. According to the Cleveland Clinic, for the following meats, a 1-oz. serving size represents 120 mg of potassium: unsalted bacon, beef, chicken, turkey, poultry, tuna, salmon, lamb, veal, pork or liver. Meat alternatives include a 3.5-oz. serving of tofu or 1.5 oz. of peanut butter.
A low-potassium diet typically involves eating one to three servings of fruit per day, according to UptoDate. Examples of low-potassium fruits include apples, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and coconuts, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Grapes, honeydew, red plum, raisins and watermelon also are low-potassium foods.
Starch sources such as rice, noodles and pasta can be healthy for those needing to consume a low-potassium diet, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Choose refined-grain foods over whole-grain foods, which are higher in potassium.
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