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How to Reduce Potassium

Aug 25, 2016

Potassium plays an extremely important role in human body and the normal potassium level in blood should be 3.5 to 5.0 m Eq/L, or milliequivalents per liter. Potassium is essential for optimal functioning of nerves and muscles. Certain diseases like chronic kidney disease can lead to electrolyte imbalance and result in high potassium levels in blood. This is termed as Hyperkalemia and it can be life threatening if not treated promptly. The good thing is that there are certain ways to lower blood potassium levels.

How to Reduce Potassium

High potassium levels can be avoided and these are some simple things to follow:

1.     Be Careful About Your Fluids

  • Reduce your milk intake: Dairy milk has a high potassium content, try to limit the intake and keep it less than a cup every day. A good substitute is rice milk and you can enjoy tea or coffee with non-dairy creamers.
  • Stay away from juices: Fruit juices do have high potassium content and if you already have high blood potassium levels these can be harmful. Try to avoid them. The same applies on vegetable juices. Smoothies are also not a good choice because most of them have bananas which are a rich source of potassium.

avoid juice

2.     Avoid High Potassium Foods

Many fruits and vegetable have very high potassium content and must be avoided. Bananas, avocado, oranges, spinach and prunes are not suitable if you have high blood potassium levels. Try white rice and white bread instead of brown rice or wholegrain bread to avoid excessive potassium intake. Grapes and berries are low in potassium and can be consumed. 

high potassium foods

3.     Drain Out Extra Potassium from Food

Many vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beetroots and sweet potatoes are enriched with potassium. You can drain the excessive potassium from them. If you know how to reduce potassium content of these vegetables you can enjoy them more frequently.

The process, also termed as leeching, does not remove all the potassium but it does drain out a significant amount. All you need to do is peel them and soak in cold water, then thinly slice them or cut in small cubes and soak in warm water for at least two hours.

drain out potassium

If you have one cup of sliced vegetables, use ten cups of water for soaking. Then drain the fluid and rinse them before cooking in five cups of water. If you are soaking them for long time, change the water used for soaking after four hours.

4.     Stay Away from Processed Food

Processed and prepackaged food is generally very high in potassium content. Potassium chloride is often added instead of regular salt and it can be harmful for you if you are struggling to keep your potassium levels low. Try to avoid processed food and do read the labels to check how much potassium they contain.

processed food

5.     Garlic

When it comes to how to reduce potassium, garlic is a very useful herb to reduce potassium absorption. Fresh garlic and garlic supplements can help to regulate potassium levels and you can have either fresh clove of garlic or garlic supplement every day to keep the potassium levels in check.


6.     Drink Plenty of Water

To keep electrolyte balance in control the body needs adequate amount of water. Ten to twelve glasses of water every day can wash out the toxins and extra potassium from the body effectively. You can have other beverages as well but avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these remove water from circulation and can make you more dehydrated.


7.     Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to decrease the toxins and waste products in blood. An active and healthy lifestyle is essential for good health and half an hour of yoga, aerobics or any physical activity that you like or prefer can help to maintain optimal health and well-being.


8.     Other Tips

In terms of how to reduce potassium, the following tips can also help.

  • Incorporating high calcium foods in your diet can be beneficial to lower potassium levels. Calcium decreases the absorption of potassium and calcium rich foods like dairy products can be helpful to reduce potassium levels.
  • To meet the protein requirement of the body try tofu or soy as a low potassium option.
  • If you are taking any medication to control your blood pressure or are taking diuretics, you need regular follow up with your doctor. Your potassium levels have to be monitored closely. Get yourself checked and follow the doctor’s advice especially if you have a history of high potassium levels in blood.
  • There are some herbs which elevate the blood potassium levels and some like alfalfa, dandelion and horsetail prevent the lowering of potassium in blood. Be careful to take any herbal supplement if you have high potassium levels and it is always better to discuss with the doctor regarding their suitability in your condition.