Type 2-diabetes generally affects adults over the age of 35. A chronic condition that reduces insulin production, diabetes demands proper care and careful diet. According to studies, one of the factors that could worsen diabetes is the potassium level in the blood. If you are diabetic, it is essential that you eat food that will not fluctuate the potassium levels.
Why You Should Keep Your Potassium Level In Check
The malfunctioning of kidneys, due to diabetes, can increase the potassium level in the blood. Diabetes diminishes the capacity of the kidney to excrete potassium into the urine. High potassium levels in the blood could also lead to hyperkalemia, which causes the potassium to build up in the body. Hyperkalemia can disturb the heart rhythm, and lead to heart disease. It is, hence, important that you maintain a potassium limit in your diet, especially if you are diabetic.1
What Causes Fluctuations In The Potassium Levels?
An ideal amount of potassium consumption for people above the age of 14 is 4.7 grams. However, even if you consume this ideal amount, your potassium levels can still fluctuate. If you consume food low in sodium, it can heighten the potassium level in the blood. Other reasons for potassium-level fluctuation are improper blood pH, changing hormone levels, frequent urination, vomiting, and consumption of certain medication.2
What To Eat: Low-Potassium Food
Here’s what you need to include in your low-potassium diet.
- Brown Rice
- Berries (Cranberry, blueberry, raspberry)
What To Avoid: High-Potassium Food
- Citrus Fruits (Orange, lemon)
- Tropical Fruits (Banana, kiwi)
- Leafy vegetable (Cooked spinach, swiss chard)
- Dried fruits (Apricots, prunes, almonds)
- Processed food (Chips, frozen meat, bread)
- Milk and dairy
How Much Potassium Do You Need?
While high-levels of potassium could be harmful, potassium is a nutrient that is essential to the body. Consuming too little or no potassium could also prove dangerous to your body. Potassium is necessary for brain functioning, muscle contraction, and balancing water levels in the body. Potassium, when consumed in low quantities, can actually help in the management of diabetes.3
Generally, food that contains over 200 milligrams potassium per half-cup serving is considered to be high in potassium. Diabetic individuals need to limit their potassium intake, and ensure that they avoid the high-potassium food. Ensure that you eat food that contains lesser than 100 milligrams potassium. But, remember not to go for multiple servings of the food, as they can build up beyond the allowed potassium limit.
How To Remove Potassium From Potassium-Rich Food
While it is impossible to avoid high-potassium food all the time, you can remove the potassium content from it! You can easily eat your favorite potassium-rich food by stripping it off its potassium content. This method of removing potassium is effective for vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroots, winter squash, and rutabagas.
- Peel and place the vegetable in cold water.
- Cut the vegetable into thin slices of roughly 1/8 inches.
- Rinse the slices in warm water
- Soak the vegetables for two hours in a large amount of warm water.
- While cooking the vegetable, use two or three times more water than you would normally use.
This strips the vegetable of its potassium content, and allows you to safely consume it.
Lifestyle Changes To Manage And Prevent Diabetes
Along with following a low-potassium diet, you also need to lead a healthy lifestyle to manage diabetes. Maintaining your weight, getting enough sleep, and eating food on time are some of the ways to keep diabetes in check. Water helps flush out potassium from the body, so remember to stay hydrated at all times.
What You Need To Remember
Before consuming the low-potassium food listed above, ensure that you don’t have any health condition or allergy that requires you to stay away from it. If you are frequently affected by gastrointestinal problems, avoid berries as they could aggravate the condition. Berries could also be harmful if you are pregnant. If you suffer from cardiac problems, it is also wise to stay away from regular consumption of rice. Also, avoid repeated servings – low-potassium food should not be consumed excessively, as it beats the point of a low-potassium diet.
It is important to consume low-potassium food if you are diabetic. However, it is best to consult your doctor before including these foods in your diet, especially if you also suffer from other health conditions.
|↑1||Uribarri, Jaime, Man S. Oh, and Hugh J. Carroll. “Hyperkalemia in diabetes mellitus.” Journal of Diabetic Complications 4, no. 1 (1990): 3-7.|
|↑2||Medeiros, Denis M., Denis M. Medeiros, Robert E. C. Wildman. Advanced Human Nutrition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2013.|
|↑3||Rowe, John W., Jordan D. Tobin, Robert M. Rosa, and Reubin Andres. “Effect of experimental potassium deficiency on glucose and insulin metabolism.” Metabolism 29, no. 6 (1980): 498-502.|