High-potassium, high-fiber foods are better for most people than foods low in potassium, fiber or both. However, some health conditions, such hyperkalemia -- high potassium levels -- require a low potassium diet. Fortunately, there are several foods low in potassium and high in fiber.
Roles of Fiber and Potassium
High-fiber foods lower your blood cholesterol levels, reduce digestive-tract problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and gallstones and reduce your risk of colon cancer, diabetes, diverticulosis, heart disease and rectal cancer, according to "The New Pritikin Program." The potassium in foods helps you keep your blood pressure under control, particularly if you have a diet high in high-sodium foods, according to "Potassium and Health," a Colorado State University report. Potassium also plays a role in your cell metabolism and aids in nerve function.
A small percentage of people have hyperkalemia, a blood potassium level higher than 5.0 milliequivalents per liter of blood that is caused by the kidneys' inability to excrete potassium, according to The Merck Manual. Often, there are no symptoms, and the diagnosis occurs after a blood test or an electrocardiogram. Hyperkalemia causes severe heart problems when blood potassium exceeds 5.5 milliequivalents per liter.
Getting More Fiber
Fiber is in all plant foods, but not in any animal-based products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Fiber Content of Selected Foods" list reports beans and grains have the most fiber. Other high-fiber foods include cereal, bread, pasta, rice, strawberries, several other berries, artichokes, pears, plums, spinach, lettuce and brussels sprouts. Potassium is in plant- and animal-based foods, including potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, meats and dairy products, according to "An Invitation to Health."
Low-Potassium Foods to Choose
Low-potassium foods have fewer than 100 mg of potassium per serving, according to "Potassium and Health." The U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Potassium Content of Selected Foods" reports dozens of high-fiber foods have less than 0.1 g or 100 mg of potassium, including bread, cereal, pasta, rice, strawberries, pears, plums, spinach, lettuce, mushrooms, pineapple, peppers, plums, cauliflower and radishes.
"An Invitation to Health" reports Americans eat only about 12 g of fiber daily, but the Institute of Medicine recommends that women should eat 25 g of fiber daily. "Potassium and Health" reports most Americans do not eat enough potassium. You should eat 4.7 g of potassium daily, recommends the Institute of Medicine. However, people with hyperkalemia should reduce their potassium intake to 2 g daily and cut their sodium intake because a high-sodium, low-potassium diet can cause hypertension, reports The Merck Manual.
- The Merck Manual of Medical Information; 2003
- "The New Pritikin Program"; Robert Pritikin; 2007
- Colorado State University: Potassium and Health
- "An Invitation to Health"; Dianne Hales; 2003
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Potassium Content of Selected Foods
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fiber Content of Selected Foods
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Fiber
- "Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease"; Dr. Dean Ornish; 1996
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure
- The National Academies Press: Mean and Percentiles for Usual Daily Intake of Dietary Fiber
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.