What You Need To Know About A Low Potassium Diet
What is potassium? Potassium is a mineral which is found naturally in many foods. Some potassium is needed as part of a healthy diet. It is required to ensure healthy functioning muscle, including your heart muscle. Your potassium level should be ………………………. mmols/l Why is the amount of potassium in my blood too high? The level of potassium in your blood is usually controlled by the kidneys. When your kidneys are not working properly the potassium level in your blood may rise. It is quite common for people with kidney problems to have too much potassium in the blood. Your bowels also remove some potassium, so if you are constipated, your blood potassium level may also rise. Why do I need to control the amount of potassium in my blood? Too much potassium can be dangerous as it affects the rhythm of your heart and can cause a heart attack if levels are very high. Can I tell if my potassium is high? No. There is no reliable way, other than a blood test, to tell if your potassium is high. What should I do to control my blood potassium levels? There are 3 things you can do:
Follow a low potassium diet
Ensure regular bowel habits
If you are on dialysis, keep to your scheduled sessions
How do I follow a Low Potassium Diet?
Your dietitian will give you individualised advice on the changes you need to make.
Carbohydrate (Starchy foods)
Carbohydrates, also known as starchy foods, provide energy, vitamins and fibre. Some starchy foods such as bread, rice and pasta are low in potassium and can be eaten freely. However, some starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato, cassava and yam are particularly high in potassium and need to be limited in the diet.
150g (5oz) potato (3 egg size potatoes) are allowed daily. This may be swapped for 150g boiled sweet potato / yam / cassava / taro.
Boiled potato / sweet potato / yam / cassava / taro
Boiled and then roasted or fried potato / sweet potato / yam / cassava / taro Mashed potato (not instant)
Baked / jacket potato / sweet potato etc Frozen / oven / microwave / retail chips
Manufactured potato products e.g. hash browns, potato waffles, potato wedges, frozen roast potatoes
Steamed potatoes / sweet potato / yam / cassava / taro Instant mashed potato