As previously discussed the kidneys serve as our body’s filtering system, the two of them filters out excessive amounts of protein waste (uric acids), minerals and fluids of which our bodies cannot use. When our kidneys are not working as efficient as they should we have to make some changes with the type of foods we eat and drink or we will have a buildup of protein waste, minerals and fluids which will interfere with our quality of life.
Let’s look at the effects of elevated Potassium (Hyperkalemia)
I must share my personal encounter with Potassium: My mom had a GFR of 38 which is to say she only had 38% of her kidney function left. My primary Objective was to avoid Hemodialysis as I assertively told her Nephrologist. Well, we were doing just great, however, she was a big Milk drinker and I could not take this one pleasure away from her until one morning while driving to work her Nephrologist called to report her potassium level was over 6. I bravely responded passionately, okay thank you, as I hung up the phone. Following the phone call all I could do was cry. I started to evaluate our meal plan, and all I could find was the milk. I removed it from her diet, and substituted Almond Milk, it took a while, but she adapted; her Potassium level, as I call it her K+ was fine from that point on.
What brought on the tears and apprehension you may ask, well it was the side effects of hyperkalemia (elevated potassium) which could cause fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Potassium is an essential mineral and required for normal cell function including your heart muscles cells. Just about everything you eat contains Potassium, normally when you consume too much the kidneys the Regulator maintains Homeostasis, excretes it out. However, when your kidney function is not where it should be it is unable to efficiently perform excretion, and thus unable to maintain the proper balance resulting in elevated levels and divesting side effects. If your kidneys are not functioning at a level where your physician has recommended a low potassium diet this is the reason. Many of your fruits and vegetables contain high potassium levels, please see your Dietitian or ask your physician for a list of foods that are high in potassium to avoid. Any food that contains more than 250mg or higher per serving is considered a high-potassium food and should be avoided or carefully worked into your meal plan by your health care provider.
Sample list of High Potassium foods are:
Potatoes (all types), Bananas, Oranges/orange juice, Tomato (all sources: sauce, juice, puree), Greens (chard, collard, mustard, beet), Spinach, Raisins, Prunes, Okra, Squash.
Choose wisely: consult your Health Care Provider regarding foods you should avoid!