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Control potassium for better heart health

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Dialysis removes toxins and extra fluid in your blood. However, toxins build up between treatments, and some can seriously affect your health. One nutrient that can be dangerous if it builds up in your body is potassium.

Potassium is a mineral that helps your muscles and nerves work properly. Healthy kidneys help balance potassium in the body. When kidneys aren’t working, blood potassium levels can become abnormal. Levels that are too high or too low are dangerous and affect heart health.

Download this single page on potassium basics (available in Spanish too)

Low potassium foods at the market

Arlene, a Satellite Healthcare dietitian, takes you to her local grocery store to give you ideas on delicious foods that are low in potassium.

Watch Video

Keeping track of potassium

For most people on dialysis, it’s  good to eat no more than 2000-3000mg of potassium each day. Look for low potassium foods with less than 250mg per serving.
Choose lower-potassium veggies (such as cabbage, green beans, cucumber, green peppers, and zucchini) and limit those with higher potassium (such as spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts).
Choose lower-potassium fruits (such as apples, grapes, berries, or canned fruits) and limit those with higher potassium content (such as bananas, oranges, melons, and dried fruits) 
Limit traditional milk products such as milk, yogurt, and cheeses. Try rice, almond, or oat-based alternatives instead.

Home dialysis may offer more freedom with food

Dialysis at home has many advantages. A significant one is more  flexibility with food choices. People having treatments at home may have:
  • More freedom to eat foods they love
  • Less need to reduce the amount of fluids they drink
  • Fewer medications to take

Dialysis in a center and food planning

Most people on dialysis in a center need to monitor their diet and fluid intake carefully to stay healthy. This means thoughtfully planning meals to:
  • Control potassium and phosphorus intake 
  • Get enough of the right kinds of protein
  • Limit salt/sodium intake
  • Monitor fluid intake
  • Get enough kidney-friendly calories to stay healthy and active

The importance of reading food labels

Wanda Yu, a Satellite Healthcare dietitian, makes it easy to understand how to read a food label for better food choices.

Read more about reading food labels