Potassium-Rich Diet: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Potassium is a mineral. It helps keep the right mix of fluids in your body. It also helps your nerves and muscles work as they should. You'll find it in milk and meats. It's also in all fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables. Most adults need about 5 grams of potassium a day. The foods you eat should supply all that you need.

Some health conditions can cause a loss of potassium. For example, kidney problems and stomach problems with vomiting and diarrhea can cause you to lose this mineral. Some medicines, such as water pills (diuretics), can cause low potassium.

If you can't get enough potassium from what you eat, your doctor may advise you to take supplements.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Plan your diet around foods that are rich in potassium. Fresh, unprocessed whole foods have the most. These foods include:
    • Milk and other dairy products.
    • Vegetables, especially broccoli, cooked dry beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, artichokes, winter squash, and spinach.
    • Fruits, especially citrus fruits, bananas, and apricots. Dried apricots contain more potassium than fresh apricots.
    • Meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Ask your doctor about using a salt substitute or "light" salt. These often contain potassium.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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