Kidney Diet Tips

Spring Ahead with Low Potassium Fruits and Vegetables

After a long cold winter, there is nothing more exciting than visiting your local market. The sight of fresh spring produce bursting off the shelves! You know that fruits and vegetables are an important part of your daily diet and have many health benefits. But how can you best balance the micronutrients and minerals from Mother Nature while sticking to your kidney diet limits? Which fruits and veggies are low potassium choices?

Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, fiber, antioxidants and potassium. One of the most important minerals, potassium, has many functions in the body. It helps control nerve and muscle functions. It helps the heart contract,. Plus it is necessary for the kidneys to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.

Potassium

The kidneys have a very important job in maintaining potassium at a normal level- between 3.5 and 5.5 mEq/L. As kidney function decreases, its ability to balance potassium effectively also decreases. Potassium may build up in the bloodstream with dangerous consequences. Hyperkalemia is the medical term for excess potassium in the blood. It can cause numbness, weakness, nausea and slow the heartbeat. It can even be fatal.

Potassium in Produce

It is important to limit healthy produce high in potassium to help prevent your levels from getting too high. You want to find the right fruits and vegetables naturally low in potassium to help maintain a normal potassium level. Luckily, nature has provided many options.

For those on a low potassium diet the recommended portion size for fruits and vegetables low in potassium is ½ cup. Most patients on a low potassium diet can eat at least 5 servings of low potassium fruits and vegetables a day. Your number of servings may vary. It is usually determined by your dietitian based on your potassium lab values and food preferences.

Below, you can find a chart of low-potassium fruits and vegetables with their respective amounts of potassium per serving. You can use this chart as a guide when going grocery shopping or at your local farmers market.

Vegetables (Serving size ½ cup unless other serving provided. Based on recommended serving size for each item.) Amount of potassium per serving (mg) Fruit (Serving size ½ cup unless other serving provided. Based on recommended serving size for each item.)) Amount of potassium per serving (mg)
Asparagus, 4 spears 134 Apple, Skin 148
Broccoli, fresh cooked 228 Blueberries 56
Cabbage, fresh cooked 147 Cherries 135-165
Carrots, 1 large raw

Carrots, fresh cooked

Carrots, 8 medium, baby

230

183

190

Grapes, 15 small 133
Lettuce , all types 1 cup 52-131 Mandarin oranges, (canned) 126
Onions, raw

Onions, fresh cooked

146

174

Mango 128
Parsley 166 Pineapple, canned ½ cup

Pineapple, fresh 1 cup

152

180

Radishes 135 Rhubarb 115
Spinach, raw 84 Strawberries, 5 large 140
Turnips, fresh cooked 138 Watermelon, 1 cup 170

Disclaimer: The above lists is a sample of foods low in potassium and doesn’t include all foods low in potassium. Consult your dietitian and doctor about what to eat based on your individual requirements.

Low Potassium Produce Recipes

Here are some recipes with the most popular vegetables in season! You can find many recipes on DaVita.com created by DaVita dietitians. If you have specific produce you would like to cook, you can search the website by including your ingredient in the search bar.

For more recipes download our Cookbooks or visit our website www.davita.com.

Keep track of your nutrient levels with the easy-to-use DaVita Diet Helper™. Get pre-planned meals, shopping lists and more, all customized to your diet needs, including potassium levels.

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

 DaVita Kidney-friendly recipes 

 Today’s Kidney Diet cookbooks

 Diet and Nutrition articles

 Kidney Smart® Classes taught by kidney experts in your area

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Katerina Melekos, RD

Katerina Melekos, RD

Katerina is a registered dietitian nutritionist based out of New Jersey. Her passion is helping people rediscover the joy of healthy eating and making the complicated science of nutrition accessible to everyone. When she is not working with in an outpatient dialysis clinic, she practices Intuitive Eating -helping people make peace with their bodies, while cultivating a healthy relationship with food. In her free time Katerina loves spending time with her family and playing with her dogs.