Potassium in Your CKD Diet
Table of Contents
Potassium is an important mineral found in your body that is responsible for many functions. People living with kidney disease are at risk for having potassium levels outside of the goal range (either too high or too low). To keep your potassium levels in the goal range, you may need to watch how much potassium you are eating throughout the day. For more information about potassium, please visit the NKF Potassium AtoZ page.
If you have high potassium (hyperkalemia), your healthcare provider may advise you to limit certain foods that are higher in potassium. If you have low potassium (hypokalemia), you may be advised the opposite – increase the amount of potassium you eat in your diet.
High-Potassium Foods and Low-Potassium Choices
Almost all foods have some potassium. A food that is considered “high-potassium” generally has 200 mg or more potassium per serving. While any food that meets this criteria is considered "high potassium", some will have more potassium than others. This means the size of the serving that you eat is very important. A large amount of a low-potassium food can easily turn it into a high-potassium food.
The table below includes some of the most common foods that are high in potassium (on the left) and some choices that are lower in potassium (on the right). Your dietitian can also help you identify how much potassium is in your favorite foods. Together, you can put together a healthy eating plan that helps you get the right amount of potassium in your diet.
Foods that are HIGHER in potassium
(More than 200 mg of potassium per serving)
Foods that are LOWER in potassium
(Less than 200 mg of potassium per serving)
FRUITS 1 serving = ½ cup (unless otherwise stated)
•Apricots (raw = 2 medium-sized; dried = 5 halves)
•Avocado (1/4 of a whole)
•Banana (1/2 of a whole)
•Dates (5 whole)
•Kiwi (1 medium-sized)
•Mango (1 medium-sized)
•Nectarine (1 medium-sized)
•Orange (1 medium-sized)
•Papaya (1/2 of a whole)
•Pomegranate (1 whole)
•Prunes and prune juice
•Apple (1 medium-sized)
•Applesauce and apple juice
•Apricots (canned in juice)
•Grapes and grape juice
•Grapefruit (1/2 of a whole)
•Peaches (raw = 1 small-sized; canned = ½ cup)
•Pears (raw = 1 small-sized; canned = ½ cup)
•Pineapple and pineapple juice
•Plum (1 whole)
•Tangerine (1 whole)
•Watermelon (limit to 1 cup)
VEGETABLES 1 serving = ½ cup (unless otherwise stated)
•Beans (baked, black, dried, or refried)
•Greens (except kale)
•White mushrooms (cooked)
•Potatoes (white and sweet)
•Tomatoes and tomato products
•Asparagus (raw = 6 spears)
•Beans (green or wax)
•Cabbage (green or red)
•Celery (1 stalk)
•Corn (fresh = ½ ear; frozen = ½ cup)
•White mushrooms (raw)
•Water chestnuts (canned)
OTHER FOODS 1 serving = ½ cup (unless otherwise stated)
•Beef (3 ounces)
•Bran and bran products
•Chicken (3 ounces)
•Chocolate (1.5-2 ounces)
•Milk (all types = 1 cup)
•Molasses (1 tablespoon)
•Nuts and seeds (1 ounce)
•Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)
•Salmon (3 ounces)
•Salt substitutes / lite salt
•Bread and bread products (not whole grains)
•Cake (yellow or angel)
•Coffee (limit to 8 ounces)
•Pie (without chocolate or high-potassium fruit)
•Cookies (without nuts or chocolate)
•Tea (limit to 16 ounces)
The size of the serving that you eat is very important. A large amount of a low-potassium food can easily turn it into a high-potassium food.
Tips to lower the amount of potassium in your food
If you want to include high-potassium vegetables in your diet, leach them first. Leaching helps lower the amount of potassium in a vegetable by pulling some (but not all) of the potassium out of the vegetable.
To leach vegetables:
- Peel and place the vegetable in cold water so they won’t darken
- Slice vegetable 1/8 inch thick
- Rinse in warm water for a few seconds
- Soak for a minimum of 2 hours in warm unsalted water using ten times the amount of water to the amount of vegetable. For example, 1 cup of vegetable requires 10 cups of water. If soaking longer, change the water every four hours.
- Rinse under warm water again for a few seconds.
- Cook vegetable with five times the amount of unsalted water to the amount of vegetable. For example, 1 cup of vegetable requires 5 cups of water.
If your favorite vegetables are high in potassium, ask your dietitian whether leaching can help you eat some while keeping your potassium level within the goal range. Since leaching does not remove all the potassium, you still must limit the amount of leached high-potassium vegetables you eat.
Another easy way to lower the amount of extra potassium you get from food is to avoid drinking or using the liquid from canned fruits, canned vegetables, or the juices from cooked meat.
NKF Council on Renal Nutrition CKD Kidney Dietitian Directory
NKF Your Guide to Potassium
Download the Potassium guide
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.