Too Much of These High Potassium Foods Is Harmful to Your Health

Updated on March 26th, 2020
high potassium foods to avoid

Potassium is a mineral that is found in many foods, and some foods contain more of the mineral than others. Potassium helps maintain heart health and allows nerves and muscles to function correctly.

Your kidneys control the level of potassium in the blood, and when the kidneys don’t work correctly, the level of potassium increases. According to research(1), consuming too much potassium can cause more harm than good and could lead to hyperkalemia, especially if you have kidney disease.

Disadvantages Due to High Potassium Foods

Your body generally gets rid of excess potassium in the urine. However, people who have lost more than one-half of their kidney function cannot often get rid of enough potassium in their urine because the kidneys are unable to work well. Eating a lower potassium diet can reduce the chances of encountering hyperkalemia.

5 High Potassium Foods to Avoid

Some foods contain more potassium than others, so if you want to lower your potassium intake, it is best to avoid foods that contain too much potassium.

1. Nuts

Benefits of Nuts
Image:ShutterStock

Nuts contain phosphorus, which is hard for kidneys to digest. Weak kidneys can’t remove the required amount of potassium from your blood, causing your potassium levels to increase.

[Read: Herbs and Foods for Kidney]

2. Potatoes

Cooked potatoes have a considerable amount of potassium. An average-sized baked potato contains 541 mg of potassium.

3. Bananas

Bananas are popular for their high potassium, so if you are on a no-potassium diet, the first thing to avoid is bananas. It is advisable to note that many tropical fruits contain higher levels of potassium. Pineapple is a suitable alternative to banana, since it provides similar nutrients but is not as high in potassium.

[ Read: Foods to Avoid with Upset Stomach ]

4. Canned foods

Canned foods contain preservatives, which leads to an increase in the sodium content in these foods. According to research(2), draining and rinsing canned foods like tuna and beans can reduce its potassium content by up to 80%.

5. Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread is considered healthier than the traditional white bread since it contains high fibre. But, it also contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium, both of which can affect weak kidneys.

Healthy Potassium Foods You Can Eat

Many foods have natural potassium that are good for health when taken in the required proportion. Too much potassium is just as harmful to health as too little level of potassium. Here’s a breakdown of the foods that contain less potassium.

1. Berries

benefits of berries
Image:ShutterStock

Berries like strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries contain low quantities of potassium.

Benefits

Berries contain fibre, vitamin C and A, and other essential nutrients, so regularly consuming these berries will provide your body with the nutrients it needs without consuming too much potassium.

How much to consume?

According to research(2), ½ cup of blueberries contains 60 mg of potassium, so you can consume ½ cup of these berries 2-3 times a week.

[ Read: Low Phosphorus Foods ]

2. Eggplant

Eggplant, or aubergine, is one of the few vegetables that you can consume on a low potassium diet.

Benefits

Eggplant contains low levels of potassium, sodium, and phosphorus. One cup of steamed eggplant contains 2 mg sodium, 167 mg potassium, and 17 mg phosphorus. Eggplant is also high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals.

How much to consume?

You can consume one cup of steamed eggplant 1-2 times a week. The vegetable contains 2 mg sodium, 167 mg potassium, and 17 mg phosphorus.

[ Read: Cheap Protein Sources ]

3. White Rice

White Rice

Boiling rice drains out the excess potassium and phosphorus from it, so you can consume it even if you have high potassium levels.

Benefits

White rice is a staple food for most, and it contains essential nutrients like vitamin D and protein.

How much to consume?

According to research(3), ½ cup of white rice contains 50 mg of potassium.

See Also
foods that curb sugar cravings

[ Read: High-Carb Foods to Avoid ]

4. Salmon

Salmon and other similar fatty fish are often recommended to reduce the risk of kidney diseases.

Benefits

High blood pressure is the catalyst for many kidney diseases, which in turn causes high potassium. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain omega-3s, which can help reduce blood pressure and also maintain kidney health, according to the National Kidney Foundation(4).

How much to consume?

You can safely take 1 cup of salmon 2 times a week.

Meal Plan for Potassium Foods

The following meal plan will help regulate the content of potassium in your body, especially if you are suffering from high potassium.

  • Fruit: One to three servings of low-potassium fruit for breakfast or as a snack
  • Vegetables: Two to three servings of low-potassium vegetables with your lunch and/or dinner
  • Dairy and calcium-rich foods: One to two servings of low-potassium dairy products per day
  • Meat and meat alternatives: Three to seven servings of low-potassium meat as lunch or dinner
  • Grains: Four to seven servings of low-potassium grains per day

Potassium is an essential mineral which we require for the smooth functioning of our body. Still, one must consume potassium in moderation to avoid health complications.

If you continuously experience symptoms of high potassium like fatigue or chest pain, consult with your doctor. Too much potassium in your blood can damage your kidneys and give rise to other health problems.

[ Read: Foods That Are Bad for Kidneys ]


FAQs

1. What are the symptoms of high potassium?

Some common symptoms of high potassium include tiredness or weakness, a feeling of numbness or tingling, nausea or vomiting, chest pain, and trouble breathing.

2. Is high potassium a sign of cancer?

High potassium is a catalyst to cancer since it damages your kidneys, which causes hyperkalemia.

3. What does high potassium indicate?

High potassium can be due to some damage to the kidneys, and generally indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.

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