Diet for High Potassium and High Cholesterol Patients

By Amanda Ballard Coates

Patients with high potassium and high cholesterol levels are at greater risk for conditions like heart disease. High potassium can also cause the kidneys to be overworked, resulting in kidney stones. A special diet low in "bad fats" can be beneficial to reduce potassium and cholesterol, therefore decreasing the risks of other more serious conditions.

Potassium and Cholesterol Levels

Potassium is responsible for regulating muscle tissues, sending nerve impulses and conducting electrical impulses in the body. High levels of potassium, or hyperkalemia, can affect the body systems and result in low or irregular heart rate, weak pulse, vomiting, and nausea. High potassium can be caused by diet, medications, kidney failure, acidosis and Addison's disease. Symptoms of high potassium are rarely experienced by those who are afflicted. High cholesterol can increase a person's risk of heart attack and stroke, angina and heart disease. High cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia, can be caused by family history, poor diet high in fat and calories, and little to no exercise. A diet low in sodium, oils and cholesterol can benefit patients with high potassium and high cholesterol in many ways. These diets should have a high content of other vitamins and minerals, including fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Low-Potassium Diet

Potassium is important for kidney health and helps reduce the risk of kidney stones. A diet for someone with high levels of potassium should include lots of whole grains, low-fat dairy, veggies and fruits. You will want to keep the intake of potassium under 2,000 mg per day to be considered a low potassium diet. Reduce the consumption of milk, nuts and meat. Those with high potassium should not consume chocolate. Servings of vegetables and fruits should be limited to a half cup each time.

Low-Cholesterol Diet

A low-fat, high fiber diet is recommended for patients with high cholesterol. The same fruits and vegetables are required, as in the low-potassium diet. Whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats, like chicken, fish or turkey, are other great foods for a low-cholesterol diet. Be sure to lower intake of fats and vegetable oil. Avoid saturated and trans fat altogether.

"Bad Fats"

"Bad fats" cause build-up in the heart and the digestive system. Trans fats made of hydrogenated oils are commonly found in packaged foods as a preservative. Vegetable oil can contain many trans fats. Use flaxseed, canola or olive oil instead. Saturated fats should also be avoided if you need a low-potassium or low-cholesterol diet. Saturated fats are typically found in margarine and shortening.

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