Balancing the Teeter-Totter: High Potassium, Low Sodium Foods

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One of the things we’ve realized, even within our own family, is that a “low sodium diet” can take on different forms.  Some of our family members need to follow a low potassium + low sodium diet requirement; others follow a high potassium + low sodium intake requirement; and then there are those who just generally want to eat lower sodium foods (and who try to remember to eat more potassium rich foods when reducing sodium intake): our family is a motley crew when it comes to special food requirements.  The differing potassium/sodium values (and everyone’s individual needs) can be difficult to remember, especially in a pinch….

For those of us playing the teeter-totter game of potassium to sodium ratios, we’ve assembled a list (mostly so that we don’t have to try to remember everything in our “mental filing cabinets”) of high potassium, low sodium fruits, vegetables and nuts that we might typically eat.

We cross-referenced our personal list of high potassium: low sodium foods against the current** USDA Nutritional Database (based on a serving size that we might typically eat in a given day); the USDA descriptions and values are listed below. (Typically, “high potassium” foods are those that contain more than 200 mg/potassium per serving).

You can download a pdf copy of our list of high potassium, low sodium fruits, vegetables, and nuts here — but again, please keep in mind that your personal list may be somewhat different based on what your own individual set of constraints (i.e., diagnoses/medications) might be (see our Low-Sodium Basics. Phase 1: Receiving the News & Make a List of Low Sodium Ingredients blog post here for more details.  I’m gun shy about giving authoritative advice, especially because the reasons why people eat low sodium diets is so diverse ….and always happy to share what we’ve learned based on our experiences.)

Also, if you plan to share the pdf link, please use the blog page url (and not the url for the pdf, in case we change the location/file name of the pdf during “blog maintenance”). Thanks!

PS – We’ve specifically left off dairy, fish and meat products (mainly because we don’t eat much dairy, or red meat)…. so, in case you want to look something up that’s not on the list, the USDA Nutritional Database link is right here .

Our List of High Potassium, Low Sodium Foods

Fruit

Description*   Serving Size* 

Sodium
(mg)

Potassium (mg)

Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked 1 cup

13

1511

Bananas, raw – medium (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) 118 g

1

422

Figs, dried 1 cup

15

1013

Kiwifruit, green, raw 1 cup, sliced (180 g)

2

562

Mangos, raw 1 cup (165g)

2

277

Melons, cantaloupe, raw 1 cup, cubes (160g)

26

427

Melons, honeydew, raw 1 cup (170g)

31

388

Orange juice, raw 1 cup

2

496

Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties 1 cup, sections (180 g)

0

326

Papayas, raw 1 cup (mashed, 230 g)

18

419

Pears, raw 1 medium (178g)

2

212

Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked 1 cup, pitted

3

1274

Prune juice, canned 1 cup

10

707

Raisins, seedless 1 cup, packed (165g)

18

1236

 

Vegetables

Description*   Serving Size* 

Sodium
(mg)

Potassium (mg)

Artichokes, (Globe or French), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt 1 artichoke, medium (120g)

72

343

Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties 1 cup, cubes (150g)

10

728

Beans, kidney, all types, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, with salt 1 cup (177g)

2

717

Beets, raw 1 cup

106

442

Brussels sprouts, raw 1 cup (88g)

342

22

Kohlrabi, raw 1 cup (135g)

27

472

Mushrooms, white, raw 1 cup (96g)

5

305

Potatoes, Russet, flesh and skin, baked 1 potato medium (2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″ dia. – 173g)

24

952

Okra 1 cup (100g)

8

303

Pumpkin, raw 1 cup (116g)

1

394

Spinach, raw 1 cup (30g)

24

167

Squash, winter, all varieties, raw 1 cup (116g)

5

406

Sweet potato, raw, unprepared 1 cup, cubes (133g)

55

337

Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average 1 cup, chopped or sliced (180g)

9

427

 

Nuts

Description*   Serving Size* 

Sodium
(mg)

Potassium (mg)

Nuts, almonds 1 cup, whole (143g)

1

1008

Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw 1 cup  (123g)

1

1261

Nuts, walnuts, English 1 cup shelled (50 halves – 100g)

2

441

Nuts, pecans 1 cup, chopped (109g)

0

447

 * per USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

(**Note: I’m not planning to update this blog post/values after the blog posting date; meaning, if the USDA changes their testing results, this chart won’t be completely up to date).

About Johanna

Johanna weaves together a love for global foods and wanderlust in Low Sodium Blog. Inspired by her foodie family, who met a number of serious health challenges and adapted to low sodium diets on a turn of a dime, Low Sodium Blog chronicles their (farm) source to table expeditions, culinary travel, low sodium recipes, healthy eating adventures, and more. She and her family live in Los Angeles, California, a great travel hub and culinary playground.

Keep in touch via Twitter or Facebook.

Comments

  1. My sister has kidney problems and the Dr. told her that she must eat low-potassium foods. I feel bad for her because she keeps complaing about how she cant find any recipes for that type food. I may be in the wrong area on the internet but when I typed in:, low-potassium diet blog, and you were what they showed me. I hope you are able to help me, help her, wth some kind of recipes. Thankyou,
    Dale

  2. We certainly can relate to your situation, having had our own family’s health issues to contend with (my mom had a kidney transplant and was on dialysis for several years, it was one of the reasons we started our blog; my husband’s heart condition was the other reason). The two issues [low sodium / low potassium] tend to go hand-in-hand for a subset of low-sodium eaters.

    You may want to check and see if your sister has any other “food issues” – because for some people, there are also host of other food/nutritional considerations: foods to stay away from [high protein, phosphorus, fluid, etc.], foods that are not recommended to be eaten when taking certain prescriptions, personal food allergies/intolerances, foods your sister may not like eating, etc.. We’ve found that people’s tastes, needs, and nutritional intake levels are different and are often quite specific to each individual and their specific set of diagnoses.

    I highly suggest that your sister consider following similar steps and create her own personal “permissible food list” (to include her target potassium intake levels and whatever else she might have food restrictions on), and then seek out food/recipes that fall in line with what she can eat. We wrote about how to make a personal low-sodium list here, (the general approach is the main “take away”). We did this exercise so that we could better understand what foods we really could eat – because when it comes to our own health, we feel it’s better to be informed rather than blindly rely on someone’s general statement (which may turn out to not be “as advertised”). In work, we call this situation unwarranted reliance.

    Your sister may find many recipes on our site that she can eat (or easily modify to fit within her parameters); there will be some foods that will fall outside of her personal “food permissible” list, given her set of individual parameters.

    We created this list of “typical” high potassium foods and referenced their values (we looked each ingredient up in the USDA database) to help provide a quick guidance (a.k.a. the “warning list”) in terms of the number of milligrams that a particular ingredient may have.

    Hope this helps,
    Johanna

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