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 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.

  • ___ 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








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)