Low Potassium Diet

A Basic Guide to a Low Potassium Diet

A low potassium diet is needed in order to help you regulate your blood pressure and to help your heart contract like it is supposed to.  People may not realize the benefits of this mineral but as you can plainly see already, it is very important.  Even though it is very important for proper health, you want to make sure that you are not getting too much.  This is especially true for people that have kidney problems.  If these individuals have too much of this mineral in their bodies they can have several complications that range from irregular heartbeats, begin confused or even a heart attack.

A low potassium diet is a diet that has less than 2,000mg of potassium in it.  It is important to keep track of this because this mineral can be found in a lot of the foods that we consume on a daily basis.  For example, you can find potassium in breads, vegetables, milk, beans and fruits to name a few.  In order to keep track of your potassium levels you need to know how many servings you are eating.  Each food group has a set guideline that qualifies as a serving.  For example, when looking at pasta and rice, ½ cup is equal to a serving.

Knowing this you can begin to plan your meals to help you maintain a low potassium diet.  In order to start you will want to have a half of a cup of rice or pasta during a meal.   You will also want to avoid drinking more than eight ounces of coffee.  If you are consuming more than one half of a cup of each of these during a meal your diet may be to high in potassium.  You also want to keep your vegetables at a half of a cup as well.  This includes lettuce as well so do not eat a large salad.  When looking at fruit it is interesting to know that you can have a whole cup of watermelon.  You should always double check the amount of fruit juice you are drinking as well.  This has potassium in it and you do not want to consider it safe if you are only going to consume too much of it.

You should stay away from foods that are high in potassium.  This would include more than two ounces of chocolate, over half of a cup of yogurt, more than half a cup of milk and more than half of a cup of vegetables like pumpkin, black beans and raw carrots.  Of course the list is longer than this but you should be aware of these.  Spend time thinking about what it is you enjoy eating or what you eat a lot of.  Once you know this you can begin to plan your meals more effectively.  Just remember that if your diet has anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000mg of potassium it is considered to be too high.

You are going to want to talk to your healthcare professional if you feel that your potassium may be too high.  He or she may order lab work to determine the level of potassium in your body.  They are going to be able to help you better understand what this means and how you can control it effectively.  This can be scary and a bit overwhelming in the beginning.  However, it is just like anything else you encounter in your life.  If you take the time to understand it fully and learn how to eat properly, it can be managed. Keep this in mind as you are starting out with your low potassium diet.  Do not give up because you are only hurting yourself if you do.  It is important to work with a dietitian so they can help you make healthy food selections and plan properly.  Do not be afraid to ask your doctor for this type of support if you think you need it.