Low potassium diet in CKD patients


•What is the function of potassium in our body?
Potassium is indispensable for the optimum function of our heart and muscles. Its levels in our body need to be regulated consistently and this function is carried out by our kidneys by excreting the extra amount of potassium , however in conditions where the function of our kidneys is deranged or compromised, the potassium levels in our blood can rise up to a hazardous level which can potentially lead to erratic heartbeats, or in worst case scenarios, a heart attack. Therefore, diet with a low potassium content is recommended in patients with deranged kidney functions such as CKD.

•How can a patient with CKD maintain low potassium levels?
Visit your doctor regularly for monitoring your potassium levels. If needed consult a dietitian who can set a diet plan for you.
2.Canned and packed foods contain high levels of potassium so go for fresh food instead.If you are consuming canned foods, drain the water from the can, wash the food product and then ingest it. The excess water in the canned foods contains most of the potassium from the food.
3.Avoid foods that contain high levels of potassium
4.Read the nutritional value of packed foods printed on the back of the wrapper to look for the potassium content.
5.Acquaint yourself with knowledge of foods with high and low potassium content.
6.Be aware of the fact that consuming excess of low potassium foods can also lead to high potassium levels. Your nephrologist will set a certain limit for your potassium intake, let’s say 2000 mg. So even if you consume high volume foods with low potassium value there is a possibility that you might cross that limit .That is why practicing portion control is important.
7.Some medicines may contain high amounts of potassium. So give proper drug history to your nephrologist so he may adjust some drugs for you.
8.While cooking vegetables, the ratio of water:vegetables should be around 5:1.
9.Leach high potassium fruits and vegetables before eating .The process of leaching helps reduce the potassium content of foods.

•How can I leach my vegetables?
Normally washing the vegetables before cutting them is recommended, but in patients with CKD leaching of vegetables is advised, to decrease their potassium content.This is how it’s done:
1.Wash the vegetables
2.Cut the fruits or vegetables into small pieces
3.Soak them in cold water to prevent darkening
4.Now wash them with luke warm water for a few seconds
5.Again soak the vegetables in cold water for 3-4 hours

•What foods are considered to have potassium on a higher side?
1.Fruits like banana(kela),mango(aam), avocado(makhanphal), grapefruit(chakotara), orange(santara), figs(anjeer), papaya(papeeta),
2.Vegetables like beans(phaliyaan), tomatoes(tamatar), carrots(gajar), broccoli(phulaghobi), lentils(daals like rajma daal, masoor ki daal, moong daal)
3.Other foods like chocolate, granola, peanut butter, yoghurt(dahi) salt and salt substitutes

•What foods are considered to have potassium on a lower side?
1. Fruits like apples(saeb), blackberries(kali shahtoot), blue-berries(nila-badri), cranberries(ka Ronda), grapes(angoor), peach(aadoo),pears(naashpaati),pine apples(ananaas), plum(aloobukhara), raspberries, strawberries
2. Vegetables like cabbage(bandghobi), cauliflower(phoolghobi), eggplant(baingan), cucumbers(kheera), onions(piyaaz), peas(matar), radish(moolee)
3. Other foods like rice(chawal), noodles, coffee and tea (in limited amount)

•When to see a doctor?
Patients with ample potassium levels (called hyperkalemia) aren’t always symptomatic. However if symptomatic they may present with:
1. Nausea and vomiting
2. Tiredness
3. Irregular heartbeat
4. Erratic pulse
5. Tingling sensation