Potassium is a mineral that has many roles within your body. This includes helping your heart beat normally and regulating blood pressure. High or low potassium levels in your blood can affect your heartbeat.
Some medication can increase your potassium level. Your health care team may need to change or adjust a medication that is affecting your potassium level.
Maintaining a normal potassium balance is important.
Most foods and beverages contain potassium but in different amounts.
If your potassium level is too high and you have been advised by your cardiologist to lower it, changes in your diet can help.
Low Potassium Diet General Tips
- Double boiling root vegetables in large amounts of water can lower their amount of potassium. For example, double boiling a potato will lower the amount of potassium in the potato (instructions to follow).
- Do not use the liquid from canned, cooked or frozen fruit and vegetables
- Do not use salt substitutes made with potassium chlorides. Examples are Nu Salt®, No Salt® and Half Salt®.
- Avoid foods that list potassium or the chemical symbols (K, KCl or K+) as an ingredient on the label.
- Season foods with herbs and spices. Some examples are oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, black pepper, and cumin.
- Avoid legumes (beans, lentils and split peas).
- The amount eaten is important. For example: Mangoes are high in potassium so a serving size is limited to ½ mango.
- Eating too many low potassium foods can add up to make your potassium level high. Speak to your Registered Dietitian about the number of servings that is right for you.
Low Potassium Food Guide
Below is a list of some common foods that can help you choose the right foods and avoid those that are high in potassium. Please note that various resources use different cut-off levels to decide which foods are high or low in potassium. Therefore you may find some variations among handouts. Meeting with a dietitian can help you identify foods from various cultures as well as other foods not included on this list. Speak to your dietitian about the number of servings that is right for you.
In using the table below, ½ cup is one serving unless otherwise stated. The table below is to be used as a guide and not to replace the advice of your health care provider. (Click on each tab to find out the serving sizes for the particular type of food)
Fruits (Limit 3 servings per day)
Vegetables (Limit 3 servings per day)
Dairy (4 to 8 oz per day)
Low Potassium Cooking Methods
Cooking methods can affect the amount of potassium in some foods. Boiling vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams twice is the best way to lower the potassium from these vegetables. This does NOT make them a low potassium food. But these foods can be eaten in moderation.
How to double-boil potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams:
- Wash and peel the vegetable.
- Dice or thinly slice the vegetable.
- Place the vegetable in room temperature water. Use two times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Drain off the water and add fresh room temperature water. Use two times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable.
- Bring the water to a boil again and cook until the vegetable is soft and tender.
- Drain and discard the water.