Low Potassium Fruits For Kidney Patients

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Low Potassium Fruits For Kidney Patients are tasty and healthy to eat. They are a great source of vitamins and nutrients, essential for a healthy lifestyle. Some people though might find it hard to eat fruits because of the high-potassium content. High potassium levels in the body are bad for health. This can make their kidneys work more, which could cause kidney failure if left untreated. If you happen to have high potassium levels because of kidney disease, you should avoid most fruits altogether. Kidney patients whose levels of creatinine are too high should also avoid fruits if not just one or two low potassium fruits per day.

Potassium and Chronic Kidney Disease

A mineral called potassium regulates how nerves and muscles work. Potassium helps the heart to beat at a normal rate. Maintaining pH equilibrium, fluid and electrolyte balance, and other processes also require potassium.

Blood potassium levels must be maintained between 3.5 and 5.5 mEq/L for potassium to carry out these tasks. The kidneys aid in maintaining a healthy level of potassium.

When is potassium too low or too high?

Low potassium

We obtain potassium through the foods we eat. For the blood potassium levels to remain normal, healthy kidneys eliminate extra potassium in the urine.

Low potassium (hypokalemia) is unusual in persons who follow a balanced diet because most meals contain potassium.

Low potassium levels can cause weariness, cramps, and weakened muscles, among other things.

High potassium

Because failing kidneys are unable to excrete extra potassium, the body’s level rises. Hyperkalemia, or having too much potassium in the blood, can happen to patients who have chronic kidney disease and are in its severe stages (CKD). High potassium levels can cause symptoms like nauseousness, weakness, numbness, and a slow heartbeat.

Dialysis is required for those with stage 5 CKD (also known as end stage renal disease or ESKD) in order to assist control potassium. However, potassium levels increase in between dialysis sessions, necessitating a restriction on high-potassium foods.

Check your potassium levels frequently, and discuss the results with your renal dietitian or physician.

How to prevent potassium levels from getting too high

Here are things you can do to keep your potassium at safe levels:

  • Talk to your renal dietitian about creating an eating plan.
  • Limit foods that are high in potassium.
  • Limit milk and milk products or replace with nondairy substitutes.
  • Discard liquids from canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid salt substitutes and other seasonings with potassium.
  • Read labels on packaged foods and avoid potassium chloride.
  • Pay attention to serving size.
  • Don’t skip dialysis or shorten treatment times.
  • Leach high-potassium vegetables to remove some of the potassium. To learn how, watch our “How to Lower Potassium in Potatoes” video on our Diet & Nutrition Videos page.

What to eat and what to limit

The suggestions and lists below are some high- and low-potassium foods.

FOOD TYPETIP
FruitChoose apples, berries or grapes, instead of bananas, oranges or kiwi.Select watermelon, instead of cantaloupe or honeydew.Eat peaches, plums or pineapple, instead of nectarines, mangos or papaya.Choose dried cranberries, instead of raisins or other dried fruit.Drink apple, cranberry or grape juice, instead of orange juice or prune juice.
 VegetablesChoose green beans, wax beans or snow peas, instead of dried beans or peas.Prepare mashed potatoes or hash browns from leached potatoes, instead of eating baked potato or French fries.Use summer squashes like crookneck or zucchini, instead of winter squashes like acorn squash.Cook with onion, bell peppers, mushrooms or garlic, instead of tomatoes, tomato sauce or chili sauce.
 DairyPrepare pudding with nondairy creamer, instead of eating yogurt or pudding made with milk.Enjoy sherbet, sorbet or a Popsicle®, instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
 MiscellaneousChoose vanilla- or lemon-flavored desserts, instead of chocolate desserts.Eat unsalted popcorn or pretzels or rice cakes, instead of nuts or seeds.

High-potassium foods

Limit your intake of high-potassium foods, or consult a kidney dietitian for advice on how to include them in your diet.

Learn more about which high-potassium vegetables to avoid and which low-potassium vegetables you can use in their place by watching our video, “High-Potassium Vegetable Substitutions for the Kidney Diet.”

FOOD TYPEHIGH-POTASSIUM FOODS
 FruitsAvocados, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Dried fruits, Honeydew, Kiwi, Mangos, Oranges and orange juice, Papaya, Prune juice
 VegetablesArtichoke, Dried beans and peas, Pumpkin, Potatoes, French fries, Spinach (cooked)Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, tomato sauce, Vegetable juices, Winter squash
 DairyIce cream, Milk, Yogurt
 MiscellaneousChocolate, Molasses, Salt substitute, Seeds and nuts

Low-potassium foods

Ask your dietitian about the amount you can safely eat.

FOOD TYPELOW-POTASSIUM FOODS
Fruits    Apples, Berries, Fruit cocktail, Grapes, Lemon, Peaches, Canned pears, Pineapple, Plums, Watermelon
VegetablesCarrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Eggplant, Green beans, Lettuce, Onion, Summer squash, Sweet peppers
Dairy substitutesNondairy creamers, Nondairy whipped topping, Rice milk (unenriched)Sorbet or Popsicle®
SnacksJelly beans, Hard candies, Plain donuts, Popcorn (unsalted)Pretzels (unsalted)Red licorice
  • Fruit and Vegetables Lina Johansson, representing ERN (European Renal Nutrition), United Kingdom
    Stanislas Trolonge, France

Fruits and vegetables are crucial for good health because they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fiber. They contain little fat, too.

There are issues with some fruits and vegetables since they contain a lot of potassium (see section on potassium). The following advice will help you choose which fruits and vegetables to eat and how to prepare them after taking this into account.

Juices made from fruits and vegetables frequently contain a lot of potassium and should be avoided, as should vegetable-based soups.

Fruit

Fruit comes in a variety of varieties. The portion sizes for various fruits are shown in the table below, which varies according to how much potassium each fruit contains. It is therefore possible to consume more low-potassium fruits by using the table as a guide:

80g fruit portions
(lower amount of potassium)
60g fruit portions
(medium amount of potassium)
40g fruit portions (higher amount of potassium)
Dried fruitsDried apricots, raisins, prunes, currants, dates, figs,sultanas
Tinned fruitsTinned grapefruit, cherries, lychees, mango, peach, pear, pineapple, plumsTinned apricot, blackcurrants, peaches (in juice), rhubarb, strawberries
Tropical fruitsPassion fruitPapaya, pineapple, pomegranateBanana, guava
BerriesBlueberries, cranberriesStrawberries, blackberries, raspberriesRedcurrants, loganberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants,
grapes
Citrus fruitsLemon, lime, orange, clementine, grapefruitSatsuma, tangerine, kumquats, pomelo
Stone fruitsPeach, nectarineLychees, mango, cherriesApricot, plums, damson, avocado
MiscellaneousApple, pear, lemonadeKiwi, sharon fruit, coconut, melon

Vegetables

Cooking methods

In the event of, or to prevent, hyperkalemia in CKD or dialysis, dietary potassium should be reduced. Food preparation is one tactic. The foods high in potassium are fruits and vegetables. Once a product has been prepared, proper cooking techniques greatly reduce its potassium level.

The potassium content of vegetables is decreased when they are cooked by boiling in a lot of water.

For preparing vegetables, fruit, and potatoes, double cooking is advised.

In order to save time, two saucepans of water will typically boil simultaneously.

It is advised against peeling vegetables (such as potatoes) before boiling them because doing so will cause more potassium to be lost.

The meal will be cooked for the first time for 10 to 15 minutes in the first saucepan of water. Then, you should discard this cooking water. In order to continue cooking, the food will next be placed in the second pot of boiling water. Food can be sautéed in a frying pan with fat, herbs, and spices for more flavor.

Inquire with your nephrologist or dietitian for guidance on the healthiest foods to choose, suggested serving sizes, and recipes that make use of certain cooking methods.

According to their potassium level, the vegetables are divided into different sections in the table on the following page. It is therefore possible to add a little bit more low-potassium veggies to a meal by using the table as a reference. Unless otherwise noted, every vegetable in the table is boiled. However, potatoes should be boiled in order to reduce their potassium level.

80g vegetable portions
(lower amount of potassium)
60g vegetable
portions
(medium amount of potassium)
40g vegetable portions (higher amount of potassium)
BrassicasCabbage, cauliflowerBroccoli, kohlrabi, kaleBrussel sprouts
Root vegetablesCarrots, marrow, pumpkin, leeks, swede, mangelTurnip, radish (raw), carrots (raw), courgetteBeetroot, parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke, onion (fried), butternut squash (baked), celery, zucchini
LegumesBeansprouts (raw), runner beans, peas, chick peasGreen beans, lentilsBlack eyed beans, butter beans (tinned), kidney beans (tinned), lentils
Salad vegCucumber (raw), green or red pepper (raw)Lettuce (raw), watercress (raw), tomatoes (tinned)Tomato (raw)
FungiMushrooms (fried or dried)
MiscellaneousSpinach, endive

Potassium and Your CKD Diet

WHAT IS POTASSIUM AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

You may find the mineral potassium in a variety of meals. It contributes to maintaining a regular heartbeat and healthy muscular function. Maintaining the proper potassium level in your body is the responsibility of healthy kidneys. However, you frequently need to limit particular meals that can raise the potassium level in your blood to a harmful level if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. If your potassium level is high, you can experience a little bit of weakness, numbness, and tingling. Too much potassium in your body might result in a heart attack or an irregular pulse.

WHAT IS A SAFE LEVEL OF POTASSIUM IN MY BLOOD?

Ask your doctor or dietitian about your monthly blood potassium level and enter it here:

If it is 3.5-5.0………………………You are in the SAFE zone
If it is 5.1-6.0………………………You are in the CAUTION zone
If it is higher than 6.0……………..You are in the DANGER zone

HOW CAN I KEEP MY POTASSIUM LEVEL FROM GETTING TOO HIGH?

  • Foods high in potassium should be avoided as much as possible. Your renal dietician will assist you in designing your diet so that you are consuming the appropriate potassium intake.
  • Consume a variety of foods in moderation, though.
  • Leach vegetables high in potassium before using them if you wish to include them in your diet. Leaching is a method for removing some potassium from the vegetable. The information sheet’s conclusion includes instructions for leaching a few vegetables that are high in potassium. Consult your nutritionist to determine how many leached, high-potassium veggies you can safely eat each day.
  • The liquid from canned fruits and vegetables, as well as the juice from cooked meat, should not be consumed or used.
  • Keep in mind that practically every food contains some potassium. The serving size is quite significant. A low potassium food can become a high potassium food when consumed in big quantities.
  • Make sure to receive all the therapy or exchanges prescribed to you if you are receiving dialysis.

WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH IN POTASSIUM (GREATER THAN 200 MILLIGRAMS PER PORTION)?

The foods that are high in potassium are listed in the following table. Unless specified otherwise, the serving size is a half cup. Please double-check the portion sizes. Although every item on this list is high in potassium, some items are more so than others.

WHAT FOODS ARE LOW IN POTASSIUM?

Foods that are poor in potassium are included in the following table. Unless otherwise stated, a portion is 12 cup. A lower potassium food can become a higher potassium food by eating more than one piece.

HOW DO I GET SOME OF THE POTASSIUM OUT OF MY FAVORITE HIGH-POTASSIUM VEGETABLES?

Some veggies with high potassium content will assist draw potassium out during the leaching process. It’s vital to keep in mind that leaching won’t completely remove the vegetable’s potassium content. You must nevertheless restrict your consumption of leached, high-potassium veggies. Find out from your dietitian how much leached produce you can safely consume.

How to leach vegetables.

For Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, and Rutabagas:

  1. Peel and place the vegetable in cold water so they won’t darken.
  2. Slice vegetable 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Rinse in warm water for a few seconds.
  4. Soak for a minimum of two hours in warm water. Use ten times the amount of water to the amount of vegetables. If soaking longer, change the water every four hours.
  5. Rinse under warm water again for a few seconds.
  6. Cook vegetable with five times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.

FOR SQUASH, MUSHROOMS, CAULIFLOWER, AND FROZEN GREENS:

  1. Allow frozen vegetable to thaw to room temperature and drain.
  2. Rinse fresh or frozen vegetables in warm water for a few seconds.
  3. Soak for a minimum of two hours in warm water. Use ten times the amount of water to the amount of vegetables. If soaking longer, change the water every four hours.
  4. Rinse under warm water again for a few seconds.
  5. Cook the usual way, but with five times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.

Patient education: Low-potassium diet (Beyond the Basics)

A mineral called potassium can be found in a variety of foods. It enables the nerves and muscles to function properly, maintains the fluid balance in check, and keeps the heart pumping regularly.

The principal organ responsible for maintaining the proper level of potassium in the blood is the kidneys. When prescribed by their doctor, people who take specific medications or who have chronic renal disease may need to reduce or up their intake of potassium to maintain potassium levels that are close to normal. This page discusses how to follow a low-potassium diet, what a normal potassium level is, and how potassium in the blood is measured. There is a separate article that covers different chronic renal disease therapies.

WHY SHOULD I REDUCE POTASSIUM IN MY DIET?

Consuming potassium-rich foods and eliminating extra potassium through urination usually balance the level of potassium in your body. However, because the kidneys do not function well in patients who have lost more than half of their kidney function, they frequently cannot eliminate enough potassium in their urine.

Hyperkalemia (from “hyper” meaning high, “kal” meaning potassium, and “emia” meaning in the blood) is a disorder that can occur in certain persons when the blood potassium level rises above normal. A lower potassium diet can be used to treat hyperkalemia and reduce its likelihood of occurrence.

A tiny blood sample is drawn from a vein to determine the potassium level. In terms of potassium, a typical normal range is 3.8 to 5 mEq/L. A harmful level is one that is larger than 6 mEq/L or lower than 3 mEq/L. To avoid major consequences, blood potassium levels must be carefully controlled.

Even at very high levels, hyperkalemia seldom manifests any obvious symptoms. When levels rise beyond 6 mEq/L, an ECG typically changes, and the patient experiences generalized feelings of being unwell. At this point, risky side effects include an erratic heartbeat, severe muscle weakness, paralysis, or even sudden death might happen.

HOW MUCH POTASSIUM DO I NEED?

Generally speaking, nutritionists advise consuming a diet that includes at least 4700 mg of potassium daily. A person should consume fewer than 3000 mg of potassium per day if they have moderate to severe chronic renal disease, which is indicated by kidney function (i.e., glomerular filtration rate, or “GFR”) below 45 mL/min (normal is 100 to 120 mL/min). Based on lab results and your clinician’s recommendation, more limits should be put in place. A diet with a potassium consumption between 2000 and 3000 mg/day is referred to as a low potassium diet.

A low-potassium diet plan can be developed with the aid of a qualified dietitian or nutritionist. Your required serving size depends on your height and weight. An illustration of such a strategy might be

  • Fruit – One to three servings of low-potassium fruit per day
  • Vegetables – Two to three servings of low-potassium vegetables per day
  • Dairy and calcium rich foods – One to two servings of low-potassium choices per day
  • Meat and meat alternatives – Three to seven servings of low-potassium choices per day (approximately 15 percent of calories)
  • Grains – Four to seven servings of low-potassium grains per day

A sample diet plan is provided in the tabl

HOW DO I CUT DOWN ON POTASSIUM?

  • Go over the food label. Since potassium is included in almost all foods, it’s important to select foods with low potassium content wherever possible.
  • When estimating the potassium content of a food, measure the serving size and keep in mind that a large portion of a low-potassium food may contain more potassium than a small portion of a high-potassium food. Calculators for potassium on the internet or on mobile devices can be helpful for keeping track.
  • Before serving, drain and rinse any canned meats, fruits, or vegetables.

Foods with high levels of potassium — Cantaloupe, watermelons, grapefruit, all dried fruit, all fruit juices, avocadoes, tomatoes, potatoes (plain and sweet), Brussels sprouts, milk, yogurt, lentils, and most nuts are among the foods with the highest potassium content (except peanuts). The items listed in the table should be avoided or consumed in very modest amounts as they contain more than 200 mg of potassium per serving. Yes, these foods are healthful, but they won’t be good for you if your kidneys can’t manage the potassium.

Foods with low levels of potassium — The foods in this table have a low level of potassium (less than 200 mg potassium per serving on average). You can eat low-potassium foods regularly, but limit your portion size since potassium can quickly add up if you eat a large portion.

Reducing potassium levels in vegetables —Certain vegetables with high potassium content can have some of their potassium removed. In order to “draw” some of the potassium out of the food and into the water, leaching is the process of soaking raw or frozen vegetables in water for at least two hours prior to cooking. Because these vegetables still contain a significant amount of potassium after leaching, you should avoid eating them frequently.

  • Wash and then cut the raw vegetable into thin slices. Vegetables with a skin (eg, potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas) should be peeled before slicing.
  • Rinse the cut vegetables in warm water.
  • Soak the vegetables for at least two hours or overnight. Use a large amount of unsalted warm water (approximately 10 parts water to 1 part vegetables). If possible, change the water every four hours. Drain the soaking water.
  • Rinse the vegetables again with warm water.
  • Cook vegetables as desired, using a large amount of unsalted water (approximately 5 parts water to 1 part vegetables). Drain the cooking water.

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