The Summer Potassium Challenge
By Céline Quintin, P.Dt.
Nice sunny days, flowers and plants everywhere, and the aroma of a barbecue: all of these mean summer! There is also an abundance of fruits and vegetables to be found in farmers’ markets, stores and gardens. Who can resist colourful, fresh vegetables and juicy, sweet fruit?
But we have to keep in mind that these delicacies can also be very high in potassium. For people with kidney disease, it may be more difficult to eliminate potassium from the body. There is the danger of retaining too much potassium, which will affect the muscles and prevent the heart from working properly…so it is essential to control the potassium you’re consuming.
Here are some tips to help you safely enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables:
- Check the number of servings of fruits and vegetables in the meal plan prepared by your dietitian.
- Check the recommended portion sizes of the fruits and vegetables you want to enjoy.
- Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season. In the summer months, for example, replace tomato juice with a ripe tomato.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in small quantities. Share with family, friends or neighbours if the savings convince you to buy larger amounts. This way, you won’t be tempted to eat them all before they become too ripe.
- Make a small serving go farther! For example, enjoy your fruit with cake, cookies, a little bit of ice cream, or yogourt on top of your breakfast cereal.
You can also decorate a simple sandwich plate with two or three strawberries, allowing you to combine colour, pleasure and moderation.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask your renal dietitian. It will be a pleasure for her or him to answer your questions or provide advice.
Enjoy what summer gives us… but keep in mind, moderation is key.
Too much of a good thing can be harmful!