What Is Potassium?

grocery vegetablePotassium 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.

High-potassium Foods

The following foods contain more than 200 milligrams of potassium per serving, and are therefore considered to be high in potassium.

Fruits

  • Apricots
    • Raw – 2 medium
    • Dry – 5 halves
  • Avocado – ¼ whole
  • Banana – ½ whole
  • Cantaloupe – ½ cup
  • Dates – 5 whole
  • Dried fruits – ½ cup
  • Figs, dried – ½ cup
  • Grapefruit juice – ½ cup
  • Honeydew – ½ cup
  • Kiwi – 1 medium
  • Mango – 1 medium
  • Nectarine – 1 medium
  • Orange – 1 medium
  • Orange juice – ½ cup
  • Papaya – ½ whole
  • Pomegranate – 1 whole
  • Pomegranate juice – ½ cup
  • Prunes – ½ cup
  • Prune juice – ½ cup
  • Raisins – ½ cup

Vegetables

(All portions are ½ cup)

  • Acorn squash
  • Artichoke
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Baked beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Beets, fresh then boiled
  • Black beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Carrots, raw
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Greens, except Kale
  • Hubbard squash
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms, canned
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes, white and sweet
  • Pumpkin
  • Refried beans
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach, cooked
  • Tomatoes, tomato products
  • Vegetable juices

Other Foods

  • Bran/Bran Products – ½ cup
  • Chocolate – 1.5-2 ounces
  • Granola – ½ cup
  • Milk, all types – 1 cup
  • Molasses – 1 tablespoon
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Nuts and seeds – 1 ounce
  • Peanut butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt substitutes – ½ cup
  • Salt free broth – ½ cup
  • Yogurt – ½ cup

Other

  • Snuff/chewing tobacco

Low-potassium Foods

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.

Fruits

  • Apple – 1 medium
  • Apple juice
  • Apple sauce
  • Apricots, canned in juice
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Grapes
  • Grape juice
  • Grapefruit, ½ whole
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Peaches
  • Fresh – 1 small
  • Canned – ½ cup
  • Pears
  • Fresh – 1 small
  • Canned – ½ cup
  • Pineapple
  • Pineapple juice
  • Plums – 1 whole
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine – 1 whole
  • Watermelon – limit to 1 cup

Vegetables

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Asparagus – 6 spears
  • Beans, wax or green
  • Cabbage, green and red
  • Carrots, cooked
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery – 1 stalk
  • Corn
    • Fresh – ½ ear
    • Frozen – ½ cup
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Leached potatoes*
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Mushrooms, fresh
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas, green
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Rhubarb
  • Water
  • Chestnuts, canned
  • Watercress

*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.

Other Foods

  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Bread and bread products (*not whole grains)
  • Cake – angel, yellow
  • Coffee – limit to 8 ounces
  • Pies without chocolate or high-potassium foods
  • Cookies without nuts or chocolate
  • Tea – limit to 16 ounces