Foods To Add To Your Diet
Foods are considered low in potassium if they contain 200 milligrams or less per serving.
Some low-potassium foods include:
Although reducing intake of potassium-rich foods is important for those on potassium restricted diets, keeping total potassium intake under the limit set by your healthcare provider, which is typically 2,000 mg of potassium per day or less, is most important.
Depending on your kidney function, you may be able to include small amounts of foods higher in potassium in your diet. Consult your healthcare provider if you have questions about your potassium restriction.
The Best And Worst Foods For Your Kidneys
What you eat can have a big impact on your kidney health. Learn what foods are best and worst for keeping your kidneys healthy.
For patients with kidney health concerns, general wisdom about healthy eating doesnt always apply. While many of the best and worst foods for your kidneys are fairly straightforward, some of the foods that are bad for your kidneys are those superfoods that are often touted as healthy options.
Thats because a kidney-friendly diet, called a renal diet, involves limiting three key nutrients that are often found in otherwise healthy foods. These are:
Sodium: Damaged kidneys cant filter out excess sodium, leading to high blood levels. As a result, its best to limit sodium to less than 2,000 mg per day.
Potassium: Potassium plays many critical roles in the body, but people with kidney disease need to limit potassium to avoid dangerously high blood levels. Its usually recommended to limit potassium to less than 2,000 mg per day.
Phosphorous: Damaged kidneys cant remove excess phosphorus. High levels can cause damage to the body, so dietary phosphorus is usually restricted to less than 8001,000 mg.
Read on to learn which foods are best for your kidneys and which are worst due to their high levels of these three nutrients.
The Best Foods for Your Kidneys
Other healthy foods for your kidneys are egg whites, bell peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, and cabbage.
The Worst Foods for Your Kidneys
Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
People With Normal Blood Potassium
Most people with kidney disease will fit into this category. If your potassium level is normal , you do not need to cut back how much potassium you eat. Potatoes and kidney disease do work together! In fact, eating a diet rich in potassium could help control your blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease2.
The National Institutes of Health recommends adults eat 4,700mg of potassium per day1. The average potassium intake in the United States is only about 2,000mg per day8, less than half of the recommended amount! Most of us need to eat quite a bit more potassium than we are now. Focusing on eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day will help you reach that high potassium goal.
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Vegetable Potassium Food List
Dairy and Potassium
Dairy is moderately high in potassium. Eating too much can contribute excess potassium. Milk, yogurt and cheese are all moderately high. Be careful to avoid large amounts of these foods. For most of my patients, I recommend no more than 1 serving of dairy per day . Rice milk can be a great low potassium substitute for cows milk.
Extra potassium has found its way into our food supply as part of food additives in processed foods. One study found that meat and poultry products labeled as low-sodium actually contained 44% more potassium than regular versions as a result of potassium additives9. The potassium is added in an effort to make the food more heart-healthy. However, this extra potassium could be harmful for kidney patients.
As of January 2020, food manufacturers are required to start adding potassium to food labels, so this will help us figure out how much potassium is in our food. However, I still recommend reading the ingredients on Nutrition Facts labels to be safe. Look for the word potassium in ANY part of a word in the ingredients.
People With High Blood Potassium
If you consistently have too much potassium in your blood, more than 5.5mEq/L7 , you should reduce how much potassium you eat. There is not a recommended amount of potassium people with hyperkalemia should eat. Instead, it is best to just cut back how much potassium you eat.
I often recommend limiting high potassium foods to a set number of servings per week, depending on how high potassium levels are and how much my patient was eating before. Some patients can tolerate one high potassium food per day, others can only handle one serving per week. Your dietitian can help you figure out how much is right for you.
Your doctor typically checks how much potassium is in your blood when they check labs. Check out what your potassium level is to figure out if you should be eating a lot of potassium or cutting back. If you dont have your lab results, call your doctor and ask!
Can I Still Eat Fruits & Vegetables?!
YES! Common advice for people with high potassium is to avoid ALL fruits and vegetables. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY!
Although fruits and vegetables are known for being high in potassium, there are many healthy choices for people with high potassium on a renal diet. Completely avoiding fruits and vegetables could be harmful and put you at risk of malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and excess intake of other foods such as protein or carbohydrate. Fruits and vegetables are a critical part of a healthy diet for everyone, especially people with kidney disease!
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Potatoes And Kidney Disease: The Potassium Dilemma
Can people with chronic kidney disease eat potatoes? What about bananas or tomatoes? All of these foods are notorious for being high in potassium. Kidney patients are often told to stay away from them. I have good news! Patients with kidney disease CAN enjoy these high potassium foods. However, how often these foods should be eaten depends. Keep reading to learn more about potatoes and kidney disease.
Vitamin And Mineral Recommendations For Ckd Patients
If you have kidney disease but are not on dialysis your doctor will prescribe vitamin or minerals supplements if needed. Its important to follow guidelines specific to your individual needs. For kidney disease stages 1-4 general guidelines are:
- Ensure adequate nutritional vitamin D
- Meet the Daily Reference Intakes for B-complex and C
- Iron and zinc if deficiencies are detected
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How Is Hyperkalaemia Diagnosed
Hyperkalaemia is diagnosed by a blood test that measures the potassium levels in your blood. If your nurse or doctor is worried about your potassium level, they may suggest that you have an electrocardiogram . This is a test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Patches are stuck to your skin to record the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats. A high potassium level can cause changes to your heart rhythm that can be seen on ECG.
What Are The Complications Of High Potassium
Having too much potassium in your blood can be dangerous. Potassium affects the way your heart’s muscles work. When you have too much potassium, your heart may beat irregularly, which in the worst cases can cause heart attack.
If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 for emergency help.
Some of the most common signs of heart attack are:
- Feelings of pressure, pain, or squeezing in your chest or arms
- Stomach pain or nausea
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Mg Transport And Homeostasis
The total amount of Mg in the body is approximately 22.6 g, and the concentration in serum ranges from 2.1 to 3.1 mg/dL. Approximately 1% of the total Mg in the body is located in the extracellular space 60% is ionized or free, 30% is bound to proteins and 10% as phosphate, citrate, or oxalate salts , and bone is an important reservoir of Mg .
Most Mg is within the intracellular compartment, and the passage to the extracellular space is slow. It is interesting to mention that the Mg concentration in the cytosol and the extracellular space is similar this is in contrast with other divalent anions such as calcium with an intracellular concentration approximately 20,000-fold lower than in the extracellular compartment.
Homeostasis of Mg is maintained by a controlled balance between the intestinal absorption and renal excretion with a serum concentration ranging from 1.3 to 2.7 mg/dL, although this range may vary between the different laboratories .
Daily intake of Mg is around 300 to 400 mg, and 50% is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract . Proximal renal tubules reabsorb only 15 to 25% of the filtered Mg 6070% is reabsorbed in the ascending limb of the loop of Henle, and the distal tubule reabsorbs a 5 to 10% . Hypomagnesemia is defined as serum Mg concentrations lower than 1.7 mg/dL, whereas hypermagnesemia is considered if serum Mg levels are higher than 2.5 mg/dL.
Figure 1. Potential causes of Hypomagnesemia.
Figure 2. Causes and Symptoms of Hypomagnesemia.
Dietary Potassium Intake And Mortality
Results for dietary potassium intake and all-cause mortality were either positive or neutral as presented in Table 4. Four studies investigated dietary potassium intake and mortality, reporting either a benefit of high potassium intake or no association . Of note, no studies reported a higher risk of mortality with increased potassium intake.
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Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
Overall, the side effects felt by those with kidney disease who are taking prednisone are very similar to the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome . Some of these side effects include obesity, kidney stones, irregular menstruation, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. If people with kidney disease are taking prednisone, any problems with their adrenals may not be noticed.
Even though a person with kidney disease may have no symptoms and only discover their condition through blood work, there are some symptoms that definitely point to this condition. Swelling of the legs, blood in the urine, frothy urine, and difficulty controlling high blood pressure are some of those symptoms.
Other symptoms that may present with kidney disease include:
- Itchy rashes due to a buildup of toxins in your blood.
- Side, back, or leg pain.
- Dizziness and loss of concentration can result from anemia brought on by kidney failure. This lessens the amount of blood going to your brain and a resulting lack of oxygen.
There are a set of symptoms that kidney disease and adrenal fatigue have in common. Fatigue, digestion problems, trouble with concentration, lowered sex drive, increased likelihood of catching colds and flu, and irregular menstruation are a few of these.
What Is High Potassium
- High levels of potassium in the blood is unpredictable and can be life-threatening. It can cause serious heart problems and sudden death.1-3 There are often no warning signs, meaning a person can have high potassium without knowing it.4
- If symptoms do occur, they are often nonspecific such as heart palpitations, nausea, weakness, or paresthesia.5 Paresthesia is an abnormal sensation of tingling, numbness, or burning that is usually felt in the hands, feet, arms, or legs.
- Blood potassium > 5.0 indicates potassium imbalance.6 Arbitrary thresholds are used to indicate degree of severity, such as mild , moderate , and severe .5,7 Clinical severity is determined by the speed of onset, magnitude of the severity, and the development of clinical findings.4
- Hyperkalemia is further classified as chronic or acute.5 Acute hyperkalemia represents a single event, occurring over hours to days and usually requires emergency treatment. Chronic hyperkalemia develops over the course of weeks to months, may be persistent or develop periodically, and requires ongoing outpatient management.
- A person’s potassium levels can be easily checked with a simple blood test. The healthcare provider draws a small blood sample, and sends it to a laboratory for analysis. This is usually part of a routine blood test given during a physical exam. It is often performed as part of a basic metabolic panel, which checks for several conditions, including kidney function and diabetes.
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How Much Potassium Should A Kidney Patient Have Per Day
How much potassium is safe? Its recommended that healthy men and women over the age of 19 consume at least 3,400 mg and 2,600 mg of potassium per day, respectively. However, people with kidney disease who are on potassium -restricted diets usually need to keep their potassium intake below 2,000 mg per day.
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Low Potassium Foods < 100mg
- soy products ½ cup cooked soybeans ~431mg
- dairy-based foods ½ cup pudding ~215mg, 1 cup yogurt 579mg
- potatoes ½ cup mashed ~ 340mg, 1 medium baked ~925mg
Keep in mind this is not an all-inclusive list of high potassium foods. There are many online reference tools to identify if a food is high in potassium or not. The USDA Food Composition Databases and Health Canada are reputable online sites to assist in identifying nutrient data in various foods.
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S Used To Assess Dietary Potassium Intake
To estimate dietary potassium intake a variety of methods were used. Deriaz et al. and Smyth et al. estimated 24-h urine excretion using a single-spot urine collection from the Kawasaki formula . Kim et al. predominantly used spot urine collections as well, although they reported on a subset of 24-h urine collections, which they used to validate the results from the spot collections. Araki et al. , Chang et al. , and Nagata et al. used a single 24-h urine sample. Li et al. had 24-h urine collection results at baseline and 1 and 2 y and compared the differences in these excretion values during periods of GFR decline and periods of GFR stability. He et al. and Leonberg-Yoo et al. used repeated 24-h urine samples. Mun et al. and Sharma et al. used dietary recall to estimate potassium intake.
How Is Chronic Kidney Disease Related To High Potassium
Chronic kidney disease increases your risk of high blood potassium levels, known as hyperkalemia. Its important to monitor your potassium intake if you have chronic kidney disease.
Your kidneys remove excess potassium from your blood and excrete it in your urine. Chronic kidney disease can reduce your kidneys ability to eliminate extra potassium in your bloodstream.
Untreated hyperkalemia interferes with electric signals in the heart muscle. This can lead to potentially dangerous abnormal heart rhythms.
Keep in mind that other factors can increase your risk of hyperkalemia. For example, medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause your kidneys to hold on to extra potassium.
Many people notice few if any signs of hyperkalemia. High potassium levels can develop gradually over weeks or months.
Symptoms can include:
- a weak or irregular heartbeat
Your doctor may recommend the following strategies to help you maintain a healthy potassium level:
- Low potassium diet. Work with your doctor or a dietitian to create a meal plan.
- Diuretics. These medications help expel excess potassium from your body through your urine.
- Potassium binders. This medication binds to excess potassium in your bowels and removes it through your stool. Its taken by mouth or rectally as an enema.
- Medication changes. Your doctor may change the doses for heart disease and high blood pressure drugs.
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Daily Phosphorus Intake For Ckd Patients
In the state of chronic kidney disease, patients are advised by specialized doctors for taking a special diet. CKD patients have to consume phosphorus in a small amount. Phosphorus mainly helps your kidneys to perform their functions efficiently. It also helps your body in maintaining a healthy balance of all the fluids and minerals. It also balances uric acid levels in your body by increasing the amount and frequency of urination. Kidney patients may experience many physical problems by consuming phosphorus. If a CKD patient takes phosphorus, then he/she is prone to the following health problems:
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How Can I Keep My Potassium Level From Getting Too High
- You should limit foods that are high in potassium. Your renal dietitian will help you plan your diet so you are getting the right amount of potassium.
- Eat a variety of foods but in moderation.
- If you want to include some high potassium vegetable in your diet, leach them before using. Leaching is a process by which some potassium can be pulled out of the vegetable. Instructions for leaching selected high potassium vegetables can be found at the end of this fact sheet. Check with your dietitian on the amount of leached high potassium vegetables that can be safely included in your diet.
- Do not drink or use the liquid from canned fruits and vegetables, or the juices from cooked meat.
- Remember that almost all foods have some potassium. The size of the serving is very important. A large amount of a low potassium food can turn into a high- potassium food.
- If you are on dialysis, be sure to get all the treatment or exchanges prescribed to you.
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