If you have diabetes, the first restriction from the doctor will be on your diet! You will have to reduce potassium in your food intake and thus it is time to get extra cautious in planning the diet. Usually potassium levels go high when you suffer acutely from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious metabolic disorder seen in people having Type 1 diabetes.
In such cases, if you have a diet rich in potassium it might lead to unwanted situations like weakness, irregular heartbeat, paralysis, or even a heart attack! But do not worry as this article will help you in planning your diet in just simple steps.
Potassium is useful for your body since it helps in digestion, metabolism etc. but too much of potassium is not good as it increases the chance of heart attack, nervous disorder and other ailments. Generally the kidneys help removing excess potassium from your system, but when you have diabetes, it limits the function of the kidneys and therefore excess amount of potassium get stored in the body. This is known as Hyperkalemia and it can also turn fatal. Thus you need to plan your diet in a way that prevents this accumulation of potassium. You can follow these steps:
- It is preferable to choose such carbohydrate products that are low in potassium. For example consume one whole grain bread slice instead of two, milk and dairy foods in restricted amounts, 3-4 dried beans in your veggie bowl, half tomato and same for potatoes, few pieces of melons and a banana in a day.
- Processed protein is not too good for you. Try to pick sea fish, poultry, eggs etc instead of sausages, cold cut, and lunch meat. Consult your doctor as to what kinds of proteins are healthy for you. Also, consume proteins in moderate portions. Do not eat too much of nuts and legumes. If you are undergoing dialysis you will need more protein, in that case doctor might prescribe some special supplements that is low in potassium. Also, remember, home cooked food are a better options if you intend to reduce the potassium in your diet.
- Consult your doctor on what kind of fruits and vegetables you should eat and in which quantity. Artichoke, spinach, okra, tomatoes may not be good for your health. On the other hand try to eat fruits like apples, berries, grapefruits but avoid papaya, melons, bananas etc. Since this seems a difficult balance to maintain its better to visit an expert on renal diet.
Even after following these steps, you must also regularly check your blood potassium level. And if you see signs of hyperkalemia, such as shortness of breath, fainting, nausea, weak heartbeat, you must immediately consult a doctor.