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Diet to reduce high potassium levels:

How can I lower my potassium levels they are slightly high can u please guide me on what foods to purchase that will help me achieve this goal?

Potassium is the major cation of the intracellular fluid and is also present in small amounts in extra cellular fluid. Potassium is involved in maintaining the normal water balance, osmotic equilibrium and acid base balance. It is also involved in maintaining the neuromuscular activity and promoting cellular growth. Adequate intracellular potassium is necessary for biosynthesis of proteins by ribosome whereas extra cellular potassium influences cardiac muscle activity. 

The minimum requirement of potassium for adults is 1.6 to 2.0 Gms (40 to 50 mEq) per day. For infants the requirement ranges from 500 to 1000 mg per day and for children the requirements can increase up to 2000 mgs per day.

Potassium is readily absorbed from the small intestine. Potassium is mainly excreted through urine and very little is lost through the feces. The rich sources of potassium are banana, orange, pineapple, potato, beans, chicken and liver. Tender coconut water is a rich source of potassium.

Potassium usually requires restriction, depending on the individual's body size, serum potassium level and the frequency of dialysis. The plasma or serum concentration of potassium is 3.4 to 5.0 mEq/l. Increase in the concentration of serum potassium can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia. This is generally observed in renal failure, Addison's disease, diabetic coma, severe dehydration, intravenous administration of fluids containing excessive potassium salts. This condition can lead to depression of central nervous system, mental confusion, bradycardia and cardiac arrest. Thus a low potassium diet can lead to low levels of potassium in the body. Thus restricting the potassium in the diet can lead to maintenance of normal potassium levels.

Certain guidelines that can help in reducing the potassium levels in the diet are:

  1. Avoid salt substitutes that are rich in potassium.
  2. Avoid herbs and seasonings that are rich in potassium.
  3. As fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium, the intake of these needs to be checked. Few changes in the dietary pattern can lower the potassium levels. Choose apples, berries and grapes, either as a fruit or its juice form rather than oranges or kiwi. Select a small piece of water melon. Avoid mangoes or papaya. Select low potassium canned fruit cocktails rather than fresh fruits. Choose green beans, wax beans instead of dried beans or peas. Prepare mashed potatoes that have been leached instead of French fries or baked potatoes. Prefer preparations with onions, mushrooms or garlic.
  4. Avoid milk or any other dairy products like yogurt or puddings prepared with milk. Prefer non dairy creamer.
  5. Avoid chocolate or chocolate flavored desserts. Avoid consumption of nuts or seeds. Prefer hard candies, unsalted popcorns or pretzels.
  6. Leach high potassium vegetables if you cannot avoid them. Leaching can remove some amount of potassium. 
  7. Check the serving size especially for potassium. As all foods contain some amount of potassium, it is necessary to avoid consumption of large amounts of potassium containing foods.
  8. Take an advice from a dietitian in terms of selecting right amount and type of food to reduce the potassium levels in the body.

Potassium requirements:

Potassium is a mineral that helps in muscle contraction, as well as in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells. It is also responsible for sending nerve impulses as well as releasing energy from fat, protein and carbohydrates during metabolism. The estimated minimum potassium requirements for women and men are 2000 mg per day. As children get older, they need more potassium and this increase can go up to 3800 – 4800 mg per day. A deficiency may cause muscular cramps, twitching, irregular heartbeat, kidney and lung failure and insomnia too.

Daily potassium requirements:

Potassium helps to maintain a healthy fluid balance in our body. Daily potassium requirements for most healthy adults should be based on a person’s serum potassium level. This level should be maintained between 3.5-5 mEq/l. The normal adult requirement is 40-80 mEq/l. Most healthy people do not have to worry about potassium intake as it is widely available in fruits, vegetables and other foods.

Potassium requirement:

The normal potassium requirement for humans is 4.7 gms.  However, people on dialysis for kidney failure should refrain from consuming too many potassium rich foods. Such people require a special diet so that there is no excess potassium in the blood. Athletes who are involved in hard exercise may require even large quantities of potassium rich foods.

Minimum daily requirement potassium:

As mentioned above, the minimum daily requirement of potassium for adults is 2000mg to 4,700mg. For children, the requirements change with age. These are given below:-

• For an infant and up to six months: 500 mg daily
• 7 to 12 months: 700 mg
• 1 to 2 years – 1000 mg
• 2-5 years – 1400 mg
• 6-9 years – 1600 mg
• Over 10 years – 2000 mg

Another survey recently showed that daily requirements for women were 2300 mg a day and for men, 3100 mg a day.

Potassium daily requirements:

Potassium daily requirements depend on a person's age and health as well. Most fruits contain potassium but dried fruits are even more beneficial as they contain even more potassium. Prunes, figs, raisins and dried apricots are excellent sources. You can even add dried fruit to your morning cereal or sprinkle some dried fruit on a salad. Another way of eating the dried fruits is to add them to a trail nut mix of nuts and seeds. Large amounts of potassium are also found in tomatoes and tomato products. These tomato products include salsa, tomato sauce, and spaghetti sauce and so on.

Potassium requirements for women:

Potassium is a very important nutrient for both men and women. A diet that contains sufficient amounts of potassium may reduce the risk of a stroke or high blood pressure. Potassium helps to keep one’s muscles strong, helps control blood pressure and also the water balance in your cells. Studies have shown that the potassium requirements for women and men are 2000-3500 mg a day. Keep in mind that a healthy and balanced diet will ensure that you get between 2000 – 6000 mg a day.  A variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and poultry contain this mineral. Some food sources that are rich in this mineral are salmon, almonds, chicken, cantaloupe, fresh orange juice, lima beans and so on.

Potassium minimum daily requirement:

The potassium minimum daily requirement for teenagers and adults is between 2000- 4700 mg a day. Potassium plays a major role in the functions of the body. It is important for digestion, necessary for muscle contraction, vital for heart and kidney function and also crucial for maintaining blood pressure. Despite this mineral’s importance, many people do not consume the standard daily requirements. Long term deficiency of this mineral can lead to many health problems which also affect one’s lifestyle. Physical well being and mental health is affected. Potassium helps to promote efficient cognitive functioning as it plays an important role in getting oxygen to the brain.

Daily requirements of potassium:

Most people do not get enough potassium in their diets. The recommended daily requirements of potassium are 4.7 mg a day. This may be more in the case of athletes. Too much potassium (hyperkalemia) and too little potassium (hypokalemia) can cause many problems and can also be fatal as potassium plays a significant role in regulating the heart rate. Unfortunately, such problems will not be noticed until the potassium levels become very high.

Potassium requirements per day:

Your health and age will determine your potassium requirements per day.  Doctors may often recommend a blood test to check the blood level of your potassium. You should eat the right amounts of potassium rich foods so as to keep your blood levels in a healthy range. Potassium is an essential mineral for humans as it keeps minerals and fluids balanced in the body. You may need extra potassium in your diet if you are taking diuretics.  Several fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium in them.

Potassium needs per day:

How much potassium do you need daily? Potassium needs per day is about 4.7 gms. Studies show that a diet that which has the amount mentioned above is associated with decreased risk of hypertension, kidney stones, strokes and osteoporosis.  For lactating women, the amount should be increased to at least 5100 mg a day. Remember that potassium levels in the blood may decrease due to diabetes, kidney disease or other underlying health conditions.

Slightly elevated potassium levels:

Slightly elevated potassium levels are related to the health of your heart. If your kidneys are not filtering out enough potassium, you may experience an irregular heartbeat along with weakness. This condition is known as hyperkalemia and can be detected with the help of an ECG. Excess levels could be due to acidosis, kidney disease, over supplementation, Addison’s disease, Rhabdomyolysis, kidney failure or over supplementation.

Daily Potassium requirements for adults:

The daily potassium requirements for adults are about 4 gms but this also depends on a person’s age. There are different recommended levels for men, women and children. Daily requirements also depend on a person’s health.  There are many food sources of potassium and these include avocados, melons, peaches, beets, parsnips, lentils, beans, milk, yogurt, raw nuts, and meats and so on. Eating equal amounts of sodium and potassium is recommended. A diet low in potassium and high in sodium may be one of the reasons for high blood pressure.


Submitted on January 16, 2014