Low Potassium Diet

Potassium is an important mineral needed for the proper functioning of the muscles and nerves of the body and for preserving the fluid balance. Deficiency of this mineral causes abnormal heart rhythm, fatigue, muscle cramp, constipation, shortness of breath and even paralysis. Therefore, potassium intake is necessary for preventing these health disorders. However, people suffering from chronic kidney diseases should limit intake of potassium rich foods.In normal circumstances, your kidneys regulate the potassium level in the body. However, diseased kidneys could not perform their normal functions. As a result, the potassium level in the blood would rise to abnormal high levels that are harmful for the body. A low potassium diet is recommended primarily for people suffering from chronic kidney diseases.

Potassium level in the blood
In a healthy person, the potassium level in the blood is between 3.5 and 5 meq/L. Potassium level above 6meq/L is harmful for the body. Our body receives potassium through food consumption. The excess potassium is eliminated through urination.

While 4700mg of potassium is needed daily to preserve the optimal potassium level in healthy individuals, people suffering from chronic kidney diseases, should consume less than 2700mg of potassium per day. Depending on the condition of your kidneys, you would need at least 1500mg of potassium per day.

Low potassium diet
Unfortunately, most nutritious foods are rich in potassium. To reduce the potassium intake, you should reduce the portion size of most fruits, vegetables and beverages. Bananas, apricot, avocado, melon, papaya, mango, prunes, broccoli, tomatoes, potato and cabbage are some potassium rich fruits and vegetables. Instead of completely avoiding these nutritious foods, it is advisable to reduce the portions of the servings.

You can replace whole grain products with refined grain products. To reduce the potassium level in the vegetables they should be peeled, thinly sliced and soaked in warm water for at least two hours. Leafy green vegetables should be soaked in water for at least four hours. Before cooking the vegetables, rinse them once more. Do not use salt substitutes in your food. You should reduce intake of milk and dairy products, chocolate, molasses, seeds, nuts, legumes and coconut.

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