How to Lower Potassium Levels

Slicing carrots and soaking them will help decrease potassium.

Slicing carrots and soaking them will help decrease potassium.

It is easy to find potassium-rich foods. Almost every food has some degree of potassium. For most people, eating many potassium-foods each day is a good thing because the electrolyte plays such an important role in the body. Some of the responsibilities of potassium include keeping blood pressure under control, maintaining a normal heartbeat and keeping muscles healthy. For healthy people, the kidneys get rid of any excess potassium. However, in people with kidney failure, potassium levels could rise to dangerous levels and thus they require dietary changes to prevent this.

Portion Control

Since potassium is so abundant in food, it is important to eat foods with lower amounts of potassium, such as apples, strawberries and summer squash. Although some foods have less potassium, that doesn’t mean someone needing to lower their level of potassium can eat all they want of those foods. Small amounts of potassium in many foods can quickly add up to a lot of potassium eaten throughout the day. Stick with the correct portion of foods when calculating potassium intake.

Foods to Avoid

It is a given that people trying to lower potassium need to avoid potassium-rich foods. Vegetables and fruits known for high potassium levels include broccoli, potatoes, tomato, bananas and apricots. Some drinks that contain potassium include orange juice, instant breakfast beverages, sports drinks, tomato juice and milk. Whole grains, dairy products, meat and fish also contain quite a bit of potassium. Limit or avoid eating all foods with greater than 250 milligrams while eating a low potassium diet.

Leaching and Draining

It is possible to reduce potassium from some foods. This is especially good for people having trouble eliminating their favorite potassium-rich foods from their diets. Soaking veggies in warm water for two to 24 hours before cooking can help remove potassium. This process works for fresh and frozen vegetables. Before soaking, peel and rinse any vegetables with a skin and then slice them. Grab a big pot because it requires 10 parts of water to one part of food to allow enough fluid to leach the potassium. Drain and rinse the vegetables before cooking. For canned fruit, meat and veggies, drain and rinse the foods before heating and eating.

Licorice

Licorice is an extract from the root portion of a plant that grows in Asia and Europe. The active ingredient in natural licorice is glycyrrhizin, which people use for its possible medicinal benefits. Before you reach for the candy jar, note that most licorice made in the United States does not contain natural licorice. People with high potassium levels can drink tea made from the boiled root to help lower potassium levels. Glycyrrhizin helps lower potassium levels because it causes the kidneys to increase the amount of potassium it adds to urine, according to The Merck Manuals for Patients and Caregivers.

 

About the Author

Abigail Adams began her freelance writing career in 2009, teaching others about medical conditions and promoting wellness by writing on online health and fitness publications. She is educated and licensed as a registered nurse, having received her degree from North Georgia College and State University.

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