Hyperkalemia, or high potassium, occurs when the level of potassium in your blood goes above 5.0 mmol/L. Eating foods that are low in potassium may help you prevent heart and kidney complications.
Vitamins and minerals play a key role in maintaining healthy cell, nerve, and muscle function.
However, having too much of some minerals, like potassium, may be harmful.
Hyperkalemia happens when your blood potassium levels go above the healthy range of 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L. This is most commonly caused by chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Other causes may include:
- medications that prevent normal urinary excretion of potassium
- certain medical conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or Addison’s disease
- in rare cases, eating too much potassium
If your blood level goes above the healthy range, the muscles that control your heartbeat and breathing may not function properly. This may gradually lead to:
- muscle weakness
- digestive problems
Certain medications may help manage your potassium levels. However, if you have uncontrolled diabetes or kidney disease, a doctor may also suggest a low-potassium diet.
Here’s a look at six healthy, tasty, and low-potassium meals to prepare this week.
Sudden and severe hyperkalemia
In rare cases, hyperkalemia may be severe and come on rapidly. This could be life-threatening.
Get medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
This kidney-friendly crab cake recipe contains 116 milligrams (mg) of potassium per serving.
The full recipe makes eight servings (1 cake) each.
- 120g crab meat
- chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup diced red pepper
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- black pepper to taste
- vegetable oil
These homemade pan sausages can be made using the ground meat of your choice. They’re great for breakfast or in salads and sandwiches.
Each sausage contains 87 mg of potassium.
The full recipe makes 12 servings, so you can freeze some for a later date.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken
- 2 tsp. ground sage
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
- 1 tsp. basil (optional)
- cooking spray
Stuffed peppers are sweet and smoky. They pair well with almost any side dish, too.
This full recipe makes six stuffed peppers with 160 mg of potassium per serving.
- 6 small green peppers
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup onions
- 1/4 cup celery
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. celery seed
- 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
This spicy recipe is for people who like a kick in their dish. Each serving only contains 160 mg of potassium.
The full recipe makes eight servings.
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2-3 lbs. chicken
- 1 onion
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken bouillon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. fresh jalapeño peppers
This protein-packed dish includes 191 mg of potassium per serving.
The full recipe makes 8 servings, which is ideal if you’re meal prepping for the week.
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 3/4 can of sliced water chestnuts, 8 oz.
- 1 cup sugar snap pea pods
- 6 thick slices of smoked deli chicken
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 packages angel hair pasta, 8 oz.
This sweet, warm, and savory dish is a fall classic. Each serving contains 170 mg of potassium.
The full recipe makes six servings.
- 6 thick pork chops
- 1 tbsp. chopped onion
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 cups chopped apples
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
However, you may need to lower your levels if you have hyperkalemia or other conditions, such as kidney disease or uncontrolled diabetes that contribute to hyperkalemia.
A healthcare professional can help you come up with a dietary plan that’s healthy, tasty, and right for you.
Here are some foods that are high and low in potassium:
• winter squash
• green peas or beans
|Other||• breakfast cereals with dried fruit|
• milk and dairy products
• salt substitutes
• orange juice
• legumes, like chickpeas and lentils
|• Rice, pastas, and breads that aren’t whole grain|
• herbs and spices
If you have kidney disease, you may also need to limit sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. You may need to monitor your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes, too.
Several medications may also help you reduce your potassium levels.
For example, diuretics may help flush excess potassium from your body through urination, while a potassium binder binds to the excess potassium in your bowel, which then gets released through bowel movements.
Eating a low-potassium diet can help treat hyperkalemia and prevent potentially life-threatening heart complications.
While switching to a low-potassium meal plan works for some people, others may require medication to keep their potassium level within a safe range.
Speak with a doctor to come up with the best treatment plan for you.