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Kidney Disease: Eating a Safe Amount of Potassium

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs some potassium to keep the heart working normally. But if your kidneys don’t work well, potassium can build up in your blood. In rare cases this can be deadly. By controlling the amount of potassium you eat, you can keep a safe level in your blood.

Using This Guide

Use this serving guide along with the food list below. Always follow your dietitian’s instructions on the number and size of servings to eat. Also, talk with your dietitian before eating foods that aren’t on this list.

  • ___ daily servings of foods that have high potassium content (250–500 mg per serving).

  • ___ daily servings of foods that have medium potassium content (150–250 mg per serving).

  • ___ daily servings of foods that have low potassium content (5–150 mg per serving).


You can substitute food choices in the following way:

Potassium Content of Some Foods

amount of potassium




(250 mg)

Artichokes (1)

Bok choy (½ cup)

Spinach (½ cup)

Tomatoes (½ cup)

Bananas (1)

Cataloupe or honeydew
(½ melon)

Oranges (1)

Beans, dried (½ cup)

Lentils (½ cup)

Potatoes (½ cup
or 1 small)

Winter squash,
yams (½ cup)

(150–250 mg)

Broccoli (½ cup)

Carrots (½ cup)

Peppers (1)

Apples (1)

Cherries (½ cup)

Peaches, canned (½ cup)

Peaches, fresh (1)

Pears, fresh (½ cup)


cooked (½ cup)

Corn, fresh (½ cup)

Tortillas, corn (4 small)

(< 150 mg)

Asparagus (4 spears)

Green beans (½ cup)

Cauliflower (½ cup)

Cucumbers (½)

Lettuce, iceberg (1 cup)

Eggplant (½ cup)

Blueberries (1 cup)

Grapefruit (½ cup)

Grapes (½ cup)

Strawberries (½ cup)

Watermelon (½ cup)

Bagel, plain (1)

Bread, white (2 slices)

Oatmeal (¾ cup)

Pasta, plain (1 cup)

Rice, white (1 cup)

Bread, pumpernickel (1 slice)

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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