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Caribbean: Potassium and the Kidney Diet


Making healthy food choices is important to us all, but it is even more important if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Good nutrition gives you energy to do your daily tasks, prevent infection, build muscle, help maintain a healthy weight— and it may keep your kidney disease from getting worse.

Your kidneys help keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your body. But if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not do this job very well. There are five key nutrients you may need to control: Protein, Sodium, Fluid, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Additional handouts will give you more information about each of the key nutrients. Eating the right amount of each of these can help control the buildup of waste and fluid in your blood.

Let’s see how potassium fits into the kidney diet.

Why is potassium important?

  • Potassium helps control muscle and nerve function
  • If blood potassium becomes too high or low, it can cause an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack

How much potassium should I have?

Eating too much potassium can be bad for your health if your kidney function is in decline. Limit potassium in your diet if your blood level is too high. A potassium restricted diet is about 2000 milligrams per day. Some CKD patients may experience low potassium levels due to medications, such as diuretics. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a liberal potassium diet. Ask your doctor about meeting with a registered dietitian with special training in kidney disease to help you manage your potassium intake.

Some CKD pts might have low K due to the effect of medications, such as diuretics. In this case your doctor might prescribe a liberal K diet.

Sources of high potassium





Plantains, tostones




Taro, eddo, kalo, dasheen



Yucca, cassava, manioc



Carambola (toxic)




Salt substitutes



*Salt substitute made with potassium chloride

Recommended changes to control potassium intake

  • Serving size is important. A large amount of a low potassium food can turn into a high-potassium food.
  • Choose lower potassium fruits and vegetables such as lime, lemon, pineapple, tangerine, watermelon, jicama, chayote, okra, nopales.
  • Leach high potassium root vegetables such as taro, yucca, beans, and potatoes.

Slice vegetable 1/8 inch thick and soak for 2 hours in a large amount of water.

  • Do not drink or use the liquid from canned fruits and vegetables, or the juices from cooked meat.
  • Avoid foods with potassium additives such as potassium chloride.
  • If you are on dialysis, be sure to get all the treatment or exchanges prescribed to you.

Nutrition Facts for Select Caribbean Foods

*Values approximate based on recipe*

Golden apple (1 small)

  • 73.5 Calories
  • 0.361g Protein
  • 2.58mg Sodium
  • 129mg Potassium
  • 12.9mg Phosphorus

Pineapple (½ cup)

  • 41 Calories
  • 0.44g Protein
  • 0.82mg Sodium
  • 90mg Potassium
  • 6.5mg Phosphorus

Tangerine (1 small)

  • 40.3 Calories
  • 0.616g Protein
  • 1.52mg Sodium
  • 126mg Potassium
  • 15.2mg Phosphorus

Chayote/cho-cho/christophene (½ cup)

  • 12.5 Calories
  • 0.5g Protein
  • 1.32mg Sodium
  • 82.5mg Potassium
  • 11.9mg Phosphorus

Jicama (½ cup)

  • 24.7 Calories
  • 0.36g Protein
  • 2.6mg Sodium
  • 97.5mg Potassium
  • 11.7mg Phosphorus

Okra/ochro (½ cup)

  • 33 Calories
  • 1.93g Protein
  • 7mg Sodium
  • 150mg Potassium
  • 30.5mg Phosphorus

Nopale (cactus) (½ cup)

  • 6.9 Calories
  • 0.57g Protein
  • 9mg Sodium
  • 110mg Potassium
  • 6.9mg Phosphorus

Cornmeal porridge (½ cup)

  • 221 Calories
  • 4.5g Protein
  • 21mg Sodium
  • 175mg Potassium
  • 147mg Phosphorus

Curried goat (100g)

  • 109 Calories
  • 20.6g Protein
  • 82mg Sodium
  • 385mg Potassium
  • 180mg Phosphorus

Ceviche (½ cup)

  • 62 Calories
  • 10.3g Protein
  • 158mg Sodium
  • 286mg Potassium
  • 106mg Phosphorus

Paella (1.5 cup)

  • 289 Calories
  • 3g Protein
  • 150mg Sodium
  • 407mg Potassium
  • 183mg Phosphorus

Picadillo (¾ cup)

  • 162 Calories
  • 18g Protein
  • 133mg Sodium
  • 380mg Potassium
  • 152mg Phosphorus


Rice with pigeon peas (½ cup)

  • 216 Calories
  • 5g Protein
  • 162mg Sodium
  • 239mg Potassium
  • 173mg Phosphorus

Jerk chicken (½ breast)

  • 113 Calories
  • 16g Protein
  • 161mg Sodium
  • 192mg Potassium
  • 217mg Phosphorus

Roti (1 piece)

  • 129 Calories
  • 3.38g Protein
  • 128mg Sodium
  • 84.3mg Potassium
  • 67.9mg Phosphorus

Recipe: Chayote Salad

Try this refreshing Caribbean chayote salad, great for patients with kidney disease, highlights the importance of potassium. Made with julienned chayote, cucumber, red cabbage, and white onion, and tossed in a simple olive oil vinaigrette, it’s a flavorful, low-calorie dish rich in essential nutrients.

Chayote Salad

Chayote Salad Recipe

Kidney-friendly salad with chayote, cucumber, red cabbage, and a light vinaigrette. Simple and nutritious.

This content is provided for informational use only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a healthcare professional.

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