If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, there may be a chance that you were told to cut out foods like potatoes and bananas from your diet. The thought of cutting out foods your favorite foods from your diet can be frustrating! While it is true that the kidneys are involved in filtering potassium, you may not have to cut out all foods high in potassium.
Normal blood potassium level is usually 3.5-5.5mg/dL. Your nephrologist will take labs every few months to check whether or not these levels are within the normal range. If these levels are running high, you may be put on a potassium restriction. If the levels are normal, you may not be put on this restriction, which means you can be more liberal with the foods you eat. It’s really up to your nephrologist to make this determination. Next, it can be very helpful to meet with a registered dietitian. Your dietitian can help you navigate your nephrologist’s recommendations and help you determine how much of those higher potassium foods you can enjoy.
What does a potassium restriction mean?
This is when you will need to pay more attention to the foods you are eating. Typically, people on this restriction are recommended to have about 2000-3000 mg of potassium. This means you may still be able to enjoy some higher potassium foods, but also making sure to reduce your potassium in other areas of your diet. This is how our registered dietitians can help you! You can learn how to include foods you love, while still maintaining a balance to support kidney function. You can also learn some tips to remove potassium from some of your favorite foods, or delicious alternatives to high potassium foods. For example, you can soak potatoes to remove some of the potassium, or use roasted red peppers as the base to a marinara sauce!
What foods are high in potassium?
- Cooked greens (raw greens are typically better)
- Star fruit
- Whole grains
- Winter Squash
- Salt substitutes (KCl instead of NaCl)
Overall, potassium on the “kidney diet” is unique to each person. Your registered dietitian will take a look at your labs and may reach out to your doctor. She will decide what amount of potassium is right for you and work with you to create a nutrition plan.