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Low-Potassium Foods

Topic Overview

Potassium is a mineral in your cells that helps your nerves and muscles work right. The right balance of potassium also keeps your heart beating at a steady rate.

A potassium level that is too high or too low can be dangerous. If your levels are high or low, you may need to change the way you eat.

Low-potassium foods Medium-potassium foods High-potassium foods Very high-potassium foods
less than 100 mg 101–200 mg 201–300 mg over 300 mg

You can control the amount of potassium you get in your diet by being aware of which foods are low or high in potassium. When choosing foods from lists like the one below, note the serving size. Otherwise, it can be easy to get too much or too little potassium.

Content of select low-potassium foods1
Food (no table salt added)

Serving size

Potassium (mg)

Bagel, plain, enriched

4-inch

67

Bread, multi- or whole grain

1 slice

60

Butter

1 tbsp

3

Cake, angel food, store-bought

1 piece, 28 g

26

Carbonated beverage (ginger ale, root beer, orange, grape, lemon-lime)

12 fl oz

4

Cereal, ready-to-eat, puffed rice, fortified

1 cup

16

Cereal, ready-to-eat, puffed wheat, fortified

1 cup

4

Cheese, cheddar

1 oz

28

Cheese, Swiss or mozzarella, whole milk

1 oz

22

Coffee, brewed from grounds

6 fl oz

87

Cranberry juice cocktail

8 fl oz

35

Cucumber, peeled, raw

½ cup

81

Gelatin dessert, made from dry mix with water

½ cup

1

Grapes, red or green

10 grapes

96

Hot dog, beef and pork

1

75

Lemon

juice of 1 fruit

48

Lettuce, iceberg, raw

1 cup

78

Lime

juice of 1 fruit

44

Macaroni, cooked, enriched

1 cup

62

Mushrooms, white, raw

¼ cup

56

Oil (canola, peanut, safflower, sesame, soybean, or sunflower)

1 tbsp

0

Olives, ripe, canned

5 large, 22 g

2

Onion, raw

1 slice, 14 g

20

Pear, canned, juice pack

1 half fruit

73

Pizza, cheese topping, regular crust, frozen, cooked

63 g serving

96

Popcorn, microwave, regular/air-popped

1 cup

20–26

Radishes

1 radish

10

Rice, white, long-grain, regular, cooked

1 cup

55

Salt

1 tsp

0

Sherbet

½ cup

71

Soup, chicken noodle, canned

1 cup

53

Spaghetti, cooked, enriched or whole wheat

1 cup

62

Spices: black pepper; chili powder; curry powder

1 tsp

28; 51; 31

Spices, parsley, dried

1 tbsp

35

Sugar, granulated/powdered

1 tsp/1 tbsp

0

Teas: black, brewed; chamomile, brewed

6 fl oz

66; 16

Tomato, cherry, red, ripe

1 fruit

40

Tortilla chips, plain, white corn

1 oz

61

Hidden potassium

Some foods and drinks may have hidden potassium. Certain herbal or dietary supplements may also have it. Diet or protein drinks and diet bars often have this mineral. It is also in sports drinks, which are meant to replace potassium you lose during exercise.

Food labels do not have to include the amount of potassium, but some do. Even if potassium is not listed, it may still be in that food.

Do not use a salt substitute or "lite" salt without talking to your doctor first. These often are very high in potassium.

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2012). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available online: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised February 15, 2013

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