Potassium and Your Heart

Printable Version (PDF)

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods, mainly fruits and vegetables. It helps nerves and muscles work properly, especially the heart. If the potassium gets too high in the blood, muscles become weak and the heart may slow down and even stop beating.

Healthy kidneys remove extra potassium from the body. When the kidneys fail, this no longer happens. Dialysis removes some of the extra potassium from the blood. The potassium must be controlled in the diet in order to keep the potassium in the blood from becoming too high between dialysis treatments. This requires learning which foods are higher in potassium. Much of the potassium in our diets comes from fruits and vegetables.

Typically dialysis patients can have 1-2 choices from the high potassium list, 2-3 choices from the medium potassium list and 3-4 choices from the low potassium list per day. However, this depends on your laboratory value of potassium in your blood.

Each month your potassium level will be checked. The potassium level in your blood will help determine if you are eating enough or too much high potassium foods.

The desired level of potassium is 3.5 – 5.5

Low Potassium Foods

Fruits: 1/2 c. or 1 med. fruit

Low (150mg or less)

Applesauce, 1/2 c. - 78mg
Apricots (raw), 1 med. - 104mg
Blackberries, 1/2 c. (raw) - 120mg
Blueberries, 1/2 c. (frozen) - 42mg
Concord Grapes, 10 - 88mg
Lemon, 1 med. - 80mg
Peaches, 1/2 c. (canned) - 121mg
Pears, 1/2 c. (canned) - 86mg
Pineapple, 1/2 c. (canned) - 132mg
Plums, 1 each - 115mg
Raspberries, 1/2 c. (frozen) - 143mg
Strawberries, 1/2 c. - 138mg
Tangerine, 1 med. - 132mg
Thompson Grapes, 10 each - 148mg
Watermelon, 1/2 c. diced - 88mg

Juices: 1/2 c.

Low (13-150mg)

Apple juice - 150mg
Cranberry juice - 23mg
Lemonade (frozen) - 19mg
Peach nectar - 16mg
Grape juice (canned) - 167mg
Pear nectar - 50mg
Pineapple juice - 168mg
Sunny D - 30 mg

Vegetables: 1/2 c.

Low (2-150mg)

Artichoke heart, 1/2 (in veg. oil) - 55 mg
Asparagus, cooked, 4 spears - 134 mg*
Beets, 1/2 c. (canned) - 126mg*
Cabbage, 1/2 c., (raw) - 86mg
Carrots, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 115mg*
Chili Peppers (1) - 150 mg
Eggplant, 1/2 c. (raw) - 123mg
Endive, 1/2 c. - 95mg
Green Beans, 1/2 c. (canned) - 110mg
Green Pepper, 1/2 c. (raw) - 133
Lettuce, 1/2 c. (iceberg) - 43mg
Lettuce, 1/2 c. (loose leaf) - 74mg
Mushrooms, 1/2 c. (raw) - 129mg
Onions, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 87mg
Peas, 1/2 c. (canned) - 147mg
Radishes (raw) - 135mg
Turnip, 1/2 c. (raw) - 124mg

*Dialyzing these vegetables will remove up to 70% of the potassium

Medium Potassium Foods

Fruits: 1/2 c. or 1 med. fruit

Medium (151-200mg)

Apple, 1 med. (raw) - 159mg
Cherries, 10 each (raw) - 162mg
Grapefruit, 1/2 c. (canned) - 161mg
Papaya, 1/4 med. (raw) - 180mg
Peach, 1 med. (raw) - 171mg

Vegetables: 1/2 c.

Medium (151-200mg)

Broccoli, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 166mg*
Cauliflower, 1/2 c. (raw) - 235mg*
Corn, 1/2 c. (canned) - 160mg
Spinach, 1/2 c. (raw) - 160 mg
Summer Squash, 1/2 c. (baked) - 173 mg

*Dialyzing these vegetables will remove up to 70% of the potassium

High Potassium Foods

Fruits: 1/2 c. or 1 med. fruit

High (200mg or more)

Avocado, California, 1 med. - 839mg
Avocado, Florida, 1 med - 1474mg
Banana, 1 med. - 467mg
Cantaloupe, 1/4 med. - 413mg
Dates, 1/2 c. chopped - 580mg
Grapefruit, 1 med., (raw) - 356mg
Honeydew, 1/4 med. - 570mg
Nectarine, 1 med. (raw) - 273mg
Orange, 1 med. - 237mg
Pear, 1 med. (raw) - 208mg
Persimmons, 1 fruit - 279mg
Plantain, 1 med. (raw or cooked) - 893mg
Pumpkin, 1/2 c. (canned) - 252mg
Raisins, 1/2 c. - 544mg
Peach, 1 med. (raw) - 171mg

Juices: 1/2 c.

High (150mg or more)

Grapefruit juice - 168mg
Orange juice - 237mg
Prune juice - 353mg
Tomato juice - 267mg
Juices from the high fruit & vegetable lists

Vegetables: 1/2 c.

High (200mg or more)

Artichoke, 1 (boiled) - 425mg*
Beans: lima, pinto, black, and kidney
   1/2 c. (cooked) - 484mg
Beans: kidney, 1/2 c. (canned) - 329mg
Beans: white, 1/2 c. - 502mg
Brussel Sprouts, 1/2 c. (fresh) - 247mg*
Celery, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 213mg*
Kohlrabi, 1/2 c. (raw) - 236mg*
Mustard Greens, 1/2 c. (raw) - 99mg*
Parsnips, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 284mg*
Potatoes, 1/2 c. (raw) - 407mg (any variety,
   white or sweet, contains high potassium.)*
Pumpkin, 1/2 c. (canned) - 252mg
Spinach, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 370-440mg*
Tomatoes, 1/2 c. (raw) 1 Medium - 273mg
Winter Squash, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 448mg
Yams, 1/2 c. (cooked) - 456mg*

Other Vegetables:

High (200mg or more)

French Fries (small order) - 586mg
Potato Chips, 1 oz - 466mg

Other:

Coconut Milk
Cream of Tartar
Low Salt Meat Tenderizers
Molasses
Salt Substitutes