Do You Need Mineral Supplementation
The decision to take mineral supplements should be based on whether you experience any of the symptoms described above.9 If you already feel well on a keto diet, you may not need to add any supplements or electrolyte-rich food.10
Bear in mind that if you engage in endurance exercise or any type of rigorous physical activity, you may find it difficult to get enough electrolytes solely from food, and you may choose to take supplements for performance reasons.11
Below, we cover the daily mineral needs for people following a low-carb or keto diet, the best low-carb-friendly food sources, and supplement recommendations for those who cant meet their needs through diet alone.
Can’t I Just Take A Supplement
If you use a potassium supplement, I recommend potassium citrate . Potassium supplements are best taken with food and spread evenly across meals.
Potassium supplements are very safe for most healthy people, but are not necessarily safe for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, impaired kidney function, or who are using ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, potassium-sparing diuretics, alpha- or beta-blockers, digitalis, heparin, the antimicrobial drugs Bactrim and pentamidine or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . If you fall into one of these categories, you likely have a more difficult time clearing potassium from your blood and should not take potassium supplements unless you get clearance from your doctor first.
Potassium-rich foods, by contrast, are generally safe for everyone unless a doctor has advised otherwise.
Potassium-rich foods are rich in many other nutrients, so I recommend always using foods before you resort to supplements.
Low Carb Low Potassium Foods To Eat
Finding low carb low potassium foods to eat can be a challenge. But first, why would you want to eat low carb low potassium foods? You can start grasping the answer by reading about potassium to better understand its role in the body.
Healthy kidneys contribute to keeping the right amount of potassium in the body. So, a person with healthy kidneys can eat low carb, high potassium foods. However, when a person develops kidney disease, potassium levels can increase to a dangerous level in the blood without the appropriate dietary adjustments.
Nevertheless, some potassium is still needed to keep the heartbeat regular and the muscles working properly. Because of this, when a persons kidneys are not healthy, a dietitian specializing in kidney disease may limit individuals to eating only low potassium foods.
Since kidney disease is often a complication of high blood pressure and diabetes, eating low carb low potassium foods can be even more beneficial for people trying to reverse type 2 diabetes without medication. As with everything, self-control is needed to maintain a low carb low potassium diet. Just as a low carb food can become high carb without proper portion control the same is true when you eat too much of a low potassium food.
Disclaimer: Consult with your dietitian and/or kidney specialist before making any changes to your diet if you have kidney disease.
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How Potassium Is Important
Potassium is an important micronutrient for your health and one of the minerals you require the most around 5 g each day.
Many individuals are lacking in it. This may cause a variety of difficulties. Specially youre on a keto or low carb diet, you need be very careful with your potassium consumption, as its flushed from your body at a faster pace than usual. You must ensure that you achieve your daily requirements. This is because potassium is not easily stored in the body . The easiest approach to do this is to consume a diet rich in whole and natural foods.
Spinach And Leafy Greens
Theres a reason spinach is a true nutritional rockstar. Check out the stats for one cooked cup of the green gold:
Now were talking.
You get all three electrolytes in a cup of cooked spinach .
Spinach is also ridiculously high in vitamin A and vitamin K, which have been studied for use in preventing cancer, helping your bones stay strong, and increasing insulin sensitivity.
Plus, with close to 90% of your manganese intake, you can also achieve greater antioxidant defense, energy and immune function if you add a daily dose of spinach.
What if spinach isnt up your alley?
One cup of cooked beet greens provides 37% of your DV of potassium, while a cup of Swiss chard provides 27%. Other leafy greens have similar levels.
Try it: Pair any protein with this decadent Creamed Spinach Keto recipe for maximum potassium potential.
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Increase Your Water Intake
Electrolyte imbalances can also happen with too much and too little water intake. And electrolyte imbalances frequently cause unfavorable changes in your bodys fluid levels, e.g. dehydration.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says that adequate daily fluid intake is around 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women 12. Bear in mind that by fluids, we mean water as well as water found in juices, smoothies, soups, veggies, fruits, and so on.
Of course, you dont necessarily have to measure your water intake. Let thirst be your guide. After workouts, youll likely need to drink more than the recommended limit, and water loss in the first week of keto probably means that your fluid intake should be a little bit higher than usual.
Combine your fluids with electrolytes for best outcomes. For example, drink electrolyte-rich smoothies, vegetable juices, bone broths, and sugar-free sports drinks.
Promotes Heart Health And Lowers Risk Of Stroke
Low levels of potassium have been connected with high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , a diet high in potassium from whole food sources may lower blood pressure by lessening the effect of sodium, which can raise blood pressure in high concentrations.
Research shows that potassium may help keep your blood vessels and arteries soft and prevent the harmful buildup of calcium .
Studies also show a connection between diets with high potassium foods and protection against strokes.
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What Is A Keto Electrolyte Drink
This DIY natural electrolyte drink is a great way to ensure that youre staying hydrated and to avoid the keto flu! Many people associate keto sports drinks with workouts and brightly colored processed beverages, but electrolytes are crucial all the time, not just during a workout.
Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and are necessary for critical body functions. The regulate the amount of water in your body, pH levels, moving nutrients into cells, moving waste out of cells, and making sure your nerves, muscles and brain work properly .
When you restrict carbohydrates, your body produces less insulin, causing your kidneys to flush out excess water and sodium . In order to maintain the balance between sodium and other electrolytes, your kidneys will also release extra potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Without enough sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in your body, you experience signs of keto flu.
So, youre on-board to make this sugar-free electrolyte drink and keep the keto flu away, right?
Create Your Own Recipes
Post a list of low-potassium foods on your refrigerator for easy reference, Sheth suggests.
Take advantage of low-potassium cookbooks and free recipes found online, like the National Kidney Foundations My Food Coach and Kidney Cooking family recipe book, she says.
If youre struggling to follow a low-potassium diet, make an appointment with a renal dietitian at a local wellness or dialysis center. A registered dietitian nutritionist who is familiar with renal disease can provide food suggestions and a meal plan specifically tailored to your lifestyle.
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How High Potassium Low Carb Foods Come Into Play
According to my healthline, keto flu can be avoided by increasing your sodium and potassium intake. You might need to stick with this diet for a few more painful days while you adjust and drinking plenty of water.
However, while salt is simple to replace , many potassium-rich foods are off-limits to keto dieters. For example bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melon, beets, dried apricots, yogurt, beans, and lentils
Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity
The kidneys work to maintain normal blood levels of potassium by flushing out excess amounts through urine. Potassium can also be lost through stool and sweat. At least 400-800 mg daily from food is needed because of normal daily losses. Any conditions that increase fluid losses beyond normal such as vomiting, diarrhea, and certain medications like diuretics can lead to a deficiency, called hypokalemia. Hypokalemia is most common in hospitalized patients who are taking medications that cause the body to excrete too much potassium. It is also seen in people with inflammatory bowel diseases that may cause diarrhea and malabsorption of nutrients.
It is rare for a potassium deficiency to be caused by too low a food intake alone because it is found in so many foods however an inadequate intake combined with heavy sweating, diuretic use, laxative abuse, or severe nausea and vomiting can quickly lead to hypokalemia. Another reason is a deficiency of magnesium, as the kidneys need magnesium to help reabsorb potassium and maintain normal levels in cells.
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Sodium How Much Sodium Do You Need On Keto
Sounds unbelievable right? Believe it or not, even in a time where many people are over-consuming salty foods, this is usually not the case when you are on a ketogenic diet. Sodium is usually excreted in urine and sometimes in sweat. This is at a greater rate than normal excretion of sodium when you are on a keto diet.
This is because as mentioned before, a significant drop in the hormone insulin can accelerate the excretion of sodium at a higher level. If you are depleted of this electrolyte you might experience fatigue and feel lethargic.
In order to replenish sodium electrolytes in your body, you can try drinking electrolyte-infused water or supplement your diet with sodium, dont hesitate to put some salt in each of your meals. Many keto experts also recommended that keto dieters should consume at least 3,000 milligrams of sodium.
How much sodium do I need daily? At Least 3,000 milligrams are recommended.
It is important to remember that keto is not a salt-free-for-all. Just because it is important to consume sodium, does not mean that you should eat tons of processed salty foods. Chances are if you are on a ketogenic diet, you wont eat a lot of processed foods anyway, but it is important to mention. Stick with whole foods, and try to incorporate it before your workout.
The easiest way to incorporate sodium is by adding it to water with a little bit of lemon to increase the electrolyte presence in your body.
Who Is This Database For
This database is primarily for people on a low-carbohydrate, plant-inclusive diet. On such a diet, animal foods will contribute significantly to your potassium intake, but you will need additional potassium from your plant foods, all of which contain some carbohydrate. If you’re counting carbs or net carbs, ranking carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potassium-to-net-carb ratio can help you select the foods that are most effective at fulfilling your potassium requirement.
Although carnivores can use this database, I will soon be releasing a potassium database aimed more specifically at addressing concerns that are specific to carnivore diets.
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What Are Considered High Potassium Levels Using Bananas As The Benchmark For This Post
According to Healthline, a food is low in Potassium if it has below 200mg of potassium per serving and you can have up to 4,700 mg a day if your kidneys are OK.
Whenever potassium was mentioned growing up bananas were always recommended as a good source. With these amounts of Potassium 358 mg 10% and Magnesium 6%, per 100g bananas are considered high suppliers of potassium.
Sorry bananas are not low carb and should be avoided or limited on a low carb eating depending on how low you are going.
For this article, I am taking anything below 200mg per serving as low and the nearer to bananas as possible as high. Some foods are high in these nutrients but are small servings that kick them out of the high range. Some of these have also been included below.
Recap: What Is The Ketogenic Diet
For starters, the Ketogenic diet, keto diet, or low-carb diet as some may call it is a type of diet that is specifically designed to let your bodys fat storage be used as the main source of energy instead of consuming the carbohydrates that come in on a daily basis.
This in return promotes fat breakdown to be used as your bodys own fuel source furthermore enhancing the production of healthy glucose and ketones. This is the primary reason many choose the keto diet to lose weight because it relies heavily on emptying your bodys fat storage.
Instead of focusing on carbohydrates, keto dieters implement high-quality fats and good amounts of protein in their diet as well as incorporating antioxidant-rich foods.
Over time your body becomes naturally stronger and independent from using carbohydrates as a fuel source of energy due to the fact that your body becomes fat-adapted which simply means that your body is able to use your bodys own fat as its limitless source of energy.
This can help people curb their appetites, lose excess weight, and increase HDL levels, which is considered healthy cholesterol. While there are many benefits to the ketogenic diet, one must consider the potential negatives before starting on the journey.
One of the most important things is getting in electrolytes that your body will potentially lose when you begin this new lifestyle. Three of these nutrients are electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
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Keeps Your Bones Strong
Researchers have learned that people with more potassium in their diet also have higher bone density than those who dont meet their recommended daily intake levels.
Potassium helps your body better absorb calcium, which helps strengthen your bones.
During a study of 266 elderly women, researchers noticed a positive association with bone density mass and potassium intake, suggesting that eating foods high in potassium may play a role in osteoporosis prevention.
Kidney stones are hard minerals clumped together that form a small stone that youll feel in your back and in your urinary tract. These can be very painful, and your chances of having them increase if youve already had one before.
Potassium deficiencies have been linked to increased kidney stones.
However, high dietary potassium intake can reduce kidney stone risk by up to 56% for two reasons:
- Kidney stones formed with calcium are a sign your urine is too acidic and needs to be balanced. Potassium has an alkaline effect, which will increase your urinary pH and make it less welcoming for kidney stones to nest.
- Potassium citrate increases citrate levels, which binds with calcium, so calcium doesnt have the chance to bind with other minerals that cause kidney stones. More calcium in your urine means higher chances of kidney stones forming, while less means a lower chance.
So now that you know why your body needs potassium, lets talk about the best dietary sources.
Calcium How Much Calcium Do You Need On Keto
Calcium electrolytes are incredibly important in maintaining the nerve functioning of smooth muscles as well as fluid retention. Aside from that, calcium is also known for its ability to help you build strong bones, which is why a diminished ratio of this electrolyte can potentially result in muscle fatigue.
Calcium electrolytes are also responsible for maintaining proper hydration within your system and it is incredibly important to keep you hydrated during your keto diet as dehydration may result in numerous health problems.
The good thing is that a ketogenic diet doesnt really restrict foods that are highly rich in calcium, in fact, a ketogenic diet has a lot of abundant calcium sources. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet and you are good to go!
An easy way to get in a good dose of calcium is by making a salad with a variety of the above-mentioned foods. We love making a salad with a kale and spinach base, topping it with some salmon, broccoli, chickpeas, black beans, hard cheese of choice, and salmon. This not only provides your body with a high dose of calcium, but it also sustains your body throughout the day.
How much calcium do I need daily? 1,000-1,500 milligrams are recommended.
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How Much You Need
Women should get 2,600mg and men should get 3,400mg of potassium every day. Most Americans donât meet that goal.
Your needs might be different if you have kidney disease. Some people with kidney disease should get less potassium than the guidelines. If your kidneys donât work well, too much potassium could stay in your body, which can cause nerve and muscle problems. If you have kidney disease and your doctor hasnât already told you what your potassium limit is, ask about it.
What Causes A Lack Of Potassium In The Body
What are the symptoms of low potassium?
A lack of potassium in the body can be caused by many factors.
Some common causes include heavy drinking, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney problems, and more.
If not treated quickly enough it can lead to some serious complications like heart arrhythmias and muscle weakness which is why its important to check your levels regularly if youre feeling any of these symptoms.
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Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes
White potatoes are one of the best food sources of potassium available.
A large baked potato provides 1,600 mg .
Since potassium is found in both the flesh and skin of a potato, its most beneficial to consume them washed and unpeeled .
Another starchy tuber rich in potassium are baked sweet potatoes. One of these large vegetables contains 1,110 mg .
But potatoes arent just good sources of potassium. They also contain vitamins A, C, B6, and manganese.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of potassium. A large baked potato provides 1,600 mg, while a large sweet potato provides 1,110 mg.