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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, muscles, and nerves working normally. But if your kidneys don’t work well, potassium can build up in your blood. It can be serious and even deadly if the levels go up too high. 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. You can leach some of the potassium out of some high potassium foods by soaking and cooking them in large amounts of water. Ask your dietitian about how to do this. Also talk with your dietitian before eating foods that aren’t on this list. Consider bringing your spouse or partner to your meetings with the dietitian. That way you'll additional support managing your diet.

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

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

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

You can substitute food choices in the following way:

Potassium content of some foods




Other starches


Artichokes (1)

Bok choy (½ cup)

Spinach (½ cup)

Tomatoes (½ cup)

Bananas (1)

Cantaloupe or honeydew(½ melon)

Oranges (1)

Peaches, fresh (1)

Beans, dried (½ cup)

Lentils (½ cup)

Potatoes (½ cup or 1 small)

Winter squash, yams (½ cup)


Broccoli (½ cup)

Carrots (½ cup)

Eggplant (½ cup)

Peppers (1)

Apples (1)

Cherries (½ cup)

Peaches, canned (½ cup)

Pears, fresh (½ cup)

Bread, pumpernickel(1 slice)

Chickpeas, cooked (½ cup)

Corn, fresh (½ cup)

Tortillas, corn (4 small)


Asparagus (4 spears)

Green beans (½ cup)

Cauliflower (½ cup)

Cucumbers (½)

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)

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Walead Latif MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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