Potassium is something that helps the body function, but an excess of it can be harmful too. Here’s how a low-potassium diet looks like
Have you been advised a low-potassium diet? Those unfamiliar should know that professionals recommend the specific food to those who suffer from kidney ailments. This is done to keep a check on potassium levels as they are essential to fight the condition.
Primarily categorised as a mineral, potassium is found in a variety of popular foods, keeping the muscles working right, blood pressure steady and the heartbeat regular. However, in case the kidneys are not functioning correctly, consuming certain foods can shoot up the potassium in the bloodstream to harmful levels. Numbness, weakness and tingling are the symptoms experienced by those whose body has high potassium levels, and if it becomes too high, it can cause an irregular heartbeat or even a heart attack.
So, what is considered normal when it comes to potassium intake per day for the average individual?
Depending on one’s health, dietitians and doctors advise their patients to restrict a specific amount of potassium for their health. A professional dietitian is well versed in understanding the individual requirement and therefore is trained to make necessary modifications in the diet to prevent further complications for a kidney ailment.
The safe level of potassium in the bloodstream every month is kept at 3.5-5.0 in the safe zone, as per Kidney.org website whereas 5.1-6.0 is considered as a warning sign. If it goes any higher, then it is found in the danger zone.
What are foods that contain high potassium content?
There are many foods high in potassium, as per Kidney.org website. Anything that has a higher than 200 milligrams per portion, which is usually taken as half a cup, is considered as high in the element. Besides banana, fruits such as apricot, avocado, dried fruits, dates, orange, mango, papaya, kiwi, Pomegranate, among others are high on potassium. Among vegetables, okra, legumes, lentils, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, white mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, Tomatoes, black beans, vegetable juices, raw carrots and cooked spinach and Broccoli are high in the content.
You would be surprised to know that bran products also contain high potassium content. Other culprits are chocolate, molasses, milk, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and chewing tobacco. Moreover, according to renal.org, it necessarily does not mean that the patient will have to ban the above food items, he or she may be advised to limit the portion size instead of banning them, as per the doctor’s advice.
The recommended serving size, as per WebMD website for the low-potassium foods should not exceed half a cup. Also, it should be kept in mind that while there are seemingly too many foods with high potassium content, there are low-potassium alternatives as well.
Apples and its products, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, fruit cocktails, grapefruit, grape juice, pears, peaches, pineapple and pineapple juice, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tangerine, watermelon have low potassium. Cabbage, Onion, Corn, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Celery, Lettuce, Eggplant, and green peas, among others have low potassium content.
Other foods which are low in the mineral are Noodles, rice, pasta, bread and bread products (Not Whole Grains) and tea and coffee but with limited portions.
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