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Low-Potassium Foods

Topic Overview

Potassium is a mineral in your cells that helps your nerves and muscles work right. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate.

A potassium level that is too high or too low can be dangerous. If your levels are high or low, you may need to change the way you eat.

  • Low-potassium foods: Less than 100 mg
  • Medium-potassium foods: 101-200 mg
  • High-potassium foods: 201-300 mg
  • Very-high potassium foods: Over 300 mg

You can control the amount of potassium you get in your diet by being aware of which foods are low or high in potassium. When choosing foods from lists like the one below, note the serving size. Otherwise, it can be easy to get too much or too little potassium.

Content of select low-potassium foods footnote 1 footnote 2

Serving size

Potassium (mg)

Applesauce

½ cup

90

Bagel, plain

4-inch

70

Beans, green

½ cup

90

Blueberries

½ cup

60

Bread, multi- or whole-grain

1 slice

60

Butter

1 Tbsp

Less than 5

Carbonated beverage (ginger ale, root beer, orange, grape, lemon-lime)

1 cup

Less than 5

Cereal (puffed rice)

1 cup

15

Cereal (puffed wheat)

1 cup

Less than 5

Cheese

1 oz

20-30

Cranberry juice cocktail

½ cup

20

Cucumber, peeled, raw

½ cup

80

Gelatin

½ cup

Less than 5

Grapes

9 grapes

90

Hot dog (beef, pork)

1

75

Humus

1 Tbsp

35

Lemon

Juice of 1 fruit

50

Lettuce

1 cup

100

Lime

Juice of 1 fruit

45

Macaroni

½ cup

65

Oil (canola, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower)

1 Tbsp

0

Olives

5 large

Less than 5

Popcorn

1 cup

20-25

Pineapple

½ cup

100

Radishes

1 radish

10

Raspberries

½ cup

90

Rice (white, brown)

½ cup

50

Salt

1 tsp

0

Sherbet

½ cup

70

Soup (chicken noodle)

1 cup

55

Spaghetti

½ cup

30

Sugar, granulated/powdered

1 tsp/1 Tbsp

0

Tea, brewed

1 cup

90

Tortilla, flour or corn

1

50

Hidden potassium

Some foods and drinks may have hidden potassium. Certain herbal or dietary supplements may also have it. Diet or protein drinks and diet bars often have this mineral. It is also in sports drinks, which are meant to replace potassium you lose during exercise.

Food labels do not have to include the amount of potassium, but some do. Even if potassium is not listed, it may still be in that food.

Do not use a salt substitute or "lite" salt without talking to your doctor first. These often are very high in potassium.

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References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, et al. (2015). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, release 28. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl. Accessed October 12, 2015.
  2. American Dietetic Association (2015). Potassium content of foods. Nutrition Care Manual. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/client_ed.cfm?ncm_client_ed_id=153&actionxm=ViewAll. Accessed September 10, 2015.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofMarch 29, 2018


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