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Many people with kidney disease are told by their doctor to reduce potassium in their diet, but in practice, everything edible contains potassium. Here are some practical, simple tips for living more potassium-conscious in your everyday life and an explanation of why this is so important if you are living with chronic kidney disease or are undergoing dialysis treatment.
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  • Since potassium is water-soluble, you can often reduce its concentration in foods by cooking it for a longer period of time (always pour away the cooking water!)

  • A clever selection and combination of foods can reduce your daily potassium sufficiently, without you having to give up too much

  • As with everything in nutrition, appropriate portion sizes are the the most important thing for an ideally adapted but still tasty diet when you have too much potassium in your blood

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Potassium occurs in food mainly in its cells and is highly soluble in water. When cooking, the cells burst open and some of its potassium is directly released into the cooking water. In principle, you can reduce potassium in your diet in two ways: by optimizing your choice of foods and ingredients, as well as by preparing your food with the application of a few "CKD and dialysis tricks".

Here are Mizu's 10 dietary tips to get a good handle on potassium in your everyday life:

1. Choose low potassium foods

Preferably choose foods with low potassium content. Since it's often unclear what foods contain how much potassium, the Mizu app's search function helps you check foods and their potassium content.

2. Combine smartly

Combine high potassium foods with low potassium foods in your meals. Examples include white bread with cream cheese and tomato, or a chicken cutlet with rice and lettuce. The total amount of potassium in your serving is what counts.

3. Become a pro of sauces and condiments

You can make delicious sauces with water and cream. You can also get into the habit of seasoning more with herbs, since you are often recommended to eat "less salt". Many cuisines recommend cooking with spices and only a little salt anyway.

4. Get to know fruits and vegetables better

Plant-based foods tend to contain more potassium. However, there are vegetables that are lower in potassium, such as iceberg lettuce, lamb's lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, radishes or zucchini. The best way to learn which varieties are beneficial for you is to use the Mizu app.

5. Avoid dietary salts

Avoid dietary salt and salt substitutes, and be cautious with "low sodium" prepackaged foods. These products are unfortunately very often created on a potassium basis and are therefore true potassium bombs.

6. Avoid and dilute fruit juices

Fruit juices and smoothies are unfortunately quite critical for people with high potassium. They contain a lot of fluid and potassium - both of which you know are problematic in renal failure. So, it's best to avoid fruit juices. If you can't resist the temptation, drink fruit juices in a very diluted form. By the way, it is better for you to eat fruit as a compote.

7. Be careful with dried fruit, nuts and potatoes

Dried fruit often contains a concentrated dose of potassium, because no preparation has taken place in water. Thus, no minerals could be extracted. Therefore, it's best to leave it alone. Probably the best-known potassium bomb are potatoes. However, if you cook potatoes without salt, for a longer period of time and deliberately pour away the cooking water instead of reusing it, you can reduce some of the potassium in the process. Peeling potatoes and cutting them into smaller pieces before cooking should also help to remove potassium better during cooking. Depending on the type, nuts can also contain a relatively high amount of potassium, so you should consume them in moderation.

8. Prefer frozen vegetables

In the frozen food industry, a relatively large amount of food is steam blanched, which means that it doesn't come into direct contact with water. As you might imagine, this process removes only relatively little potassium. However, during freezing, the cells burst open and some of the potassium then escapes with the juices during thawing. Always be sure to pour away the thawing liquid before you continue preparing the food the same way you would prepare fresh produce.

9. Choose canned fruits, vegetables and mushrooms

Canned fruits, vegetables and mushrooms contain less potassium because they lose some of their potassium during the canning process. Again, it is important that you pour away the canning liquid and eat only the compote, since much of the potassium has gone into the water.

10. Observe the right portion size

In principle, no food is forbidden. What's more important is that you dose the amounts appropriately. By cleverly adjusting portion sizes you can actually continue to eat almost all foods, just some of them in moderation. A tip for those on hemodialysis: especially on weekends, when you have a longer dialysis interval, you should pay attention to a potassium-reduced diet.

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