Under ordinary circumstances, a diet rich in potassium helps you maintain proper nerve and muscle function. But chronic kidney disease and other medical conditions interfere with the body’s natural regulation of potassium in the bloodstream 1. Patients with these conditions require a low-potassium diet, and finding quality sources of protein that fit these potassium guidelines can be challenging.
Too much potassium in the bloodstream leads to muscle weakness, heartbeat irregularities and, in extreme cases, death. Low-potassium diets generally allow between 1,500 and 2,700 milligrams of potassium per day, with low-potassium foods defined as servings with less than 200 milligrams. Quality protein sources have at least 8 grams of protein per serving.
Meat and fish products are very high in protein, but they tend to have high amounts of potassium. It is important to portion these food items correctly. A 2-ounce serving of cooked chicken contains 200 milligrams of potassium and nearly 18 grams of protein. A 3-ounce serving of canned tuna contains 200 milligrams of potassium and 22 grams of protein, though most other types of seafood should be avoided. Lean ham is another good choice, with approximately 200 milligrams of potassium and 14 grams of protein in a 2- ounce serving.
Dairy and Eggs
Dairy products tend to be high in potassium and high in protein. But careful portion control makes dairy and egg products viable options for this type of diet. A single large egg contains 100 milligrams of potassium, and offers 7 to 8 grams of protein. A half-cup of milk contains 185 milligrams of potassium, with 4 grams of protein. A 1-ounce slice of cheese contains roughly 100 milligrams of potassium and 5 to 6 grams of protein.
Vegetables and fruits vary in potassium content but tend to have several grams of protein per serving, making them decent sources. Boiling vegetables before consumption releases much of their potassium. Draining the water from veggies reduces your overall potassium intake. Good choices include green beans, which contain 180 milligrams of potassium and 2 grams of protein per cup serving; and cauliflower, which contains 160 milligrams of potassium and 2 grams of protein per half-cup serving. Soybeans and most other types of beans are high in potassium, with more than 800 milligrams per cup serving. Avoid them even when boiled and drained.
- Roksana Bashyrova/Hemera/Getty Images