Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Hypokalemia is a condition in which the blood level of potassium is below normal. In the body, potassium controls muscle contractions, influences heartbeat and plays an integral role in the functioning of the nervous system. Hypokalemia may develop as a result of illness or medication effects. Rarely, it is the result of consuming a potassium-poor diet.


A diet low in potassium but high in salty foods may play a role in hypertension, explains the Colorado State University Extension website. Athletes who fail to consume enough dietary potassium may experience muscle cramps during and after a workout. People with chronically low potassium may feel weak and nauseated. They may have an irregular or fast heartbeat.


To find potassium-rich foods, begin in the produce section. Most fruits and vegetables contain potassium. Dried fruits are especially high in potassium. Meat and fish also contain potassium as do milk products. Beans, lentils and peas are also good choices while eggs, grains and oils are usually not high in potassium.


A diet for hypokalemia includes foods that are considered good sources of potassium. Codfish, flounder, sardines, tuna, beef steak, pork, and lamb are good choices, while lima beans, kidney beans and pistachios also contain high levels of potassium. Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and molasses contribute a significant amount of the mineral. Potassium-rich fruits include prunes, honeydews, avocados, dates, bananas, oranges and many others. Potassium-rich vegetables include mushrooms, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, collard greens and others, indicates the University of Massachusetts Medical School website.


Hyokalemic diets are ordered to help correct low blood potassium. They may be used in conjunction with a physician-prescribed potassium supplement. Maintenance of a normal potassium level can help prevent cardiac and other medical complications. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables allows you to get needed potassium plus fiber, vitamins and minerals.


Before beginning a hypokalemia diet, make sure you understand all the nutritional restrictions you should follow. Your physician may also recommend a low-sodium, low-fat or low-calorie diet, each of which will influence your high-potassium food choices. Choosing foods that haven't been processed is better than consuming prepackaged foods that contain added salt, fat and calories. Home-cooked foods, such as vegetable soup, provide excellent potassium. A fruit mixture combining melons, citrus fruits and bananas is another good option.

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