5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (2023)

5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (1)

Excess sweating from exercise can lead to fluid and electrolyte loss, making it essential to increase potassium levels after a workout.

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Nothing can make you drop to your knees faster than a charley horse. These sudden and painful cramps are one possible result of low potassium. "Other signs your potassium may be low include fatigue, muscle weakness or spams, tingling or numbness. In more severe cases, you may also experience a skipped heartbeat or palpitations," says Melissa Mitri, RD of Melissa Mitri Nutrition.


You can fight leg cramps and other severe issues associated with low potassium levels by raising the amount of potassium in your body. How long it takes to correct low potassium levels depends on how low they are.

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Low Potassium Levels

How much potassium you need to take in will depend on how low your levels are. Besides a blood test, it's hard to tell if your potassium is low. That said, there are some symptoms of potassium deficiency to be aware of, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These include:


  • Muscle cramps, twitching or severe weakness
  • Constipation
  • Heart palpatations
  • Tingling and numbness

"If your potassium levels are very low, you may need potassium supplements or an IV to be able to quickly get them back up to normal," Mitri says.

The quickest way to raise potassium levels in emergency situations is by IV, which should only be administered in a controlled setting (such as a hospital or inpatient clinic). An IV can start to raise levels within 20 to 30 minutes, per a September 2012 article in the American Journal of Kidney Disease‌.


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"If your potassium levels are just borderline low after a sweaty workout, an electrolyte drink or certain foods can bring them back up fairly quickly," Mitri says. Within 30 to 60 minutes of eating foods high in potassium, small increases can occur in plasma potassium levels, according to an older November 2012 study in the Journal of Athletic Training.

How Much Potassium Do You Need?

"A healthy potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)," explains Mitri. The adequate intake (AI) for potassium for adults assigned male at birth (AMAB) is 3,400 milligrams per day and 2,400 milligrams per day for adults assigned female at birth (AFAB), according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).

People with inflammatory bowel disease and those who take laxatives or diuretics are at a higher risk for potassium deficiency, per the NIH.

Hyperkalemia happens when potassium levels in your blood become too high, which can damage your heart and even cause a heart attack, according to the Cleveland Clinic. People with kidney disease may be at a higher risk of getting too much potassium. Always talk to your doctor before adding high amounts of potassium to your diet.

1. Eat a Banana

5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (2)

Bananas are known for their high potassium levels.

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Eat a banana or two if you have leg cramps associated with low potassium levels. One medium banana has 422 milligrams of potassium or 9 percent of the daily value (DV). The potassium in bananas can start to increase your potassium levels within 30 to 60 minutes, per the November 2012 ‌Journal of Athletic Training‌ study.



In the study, researchers tested whether eating 1 or 2 bananas would increase potassium levels in adult athletes prone to exercise-induced leg cramps. While there were mild increases in both groups' potassium levels after 30 and 60 minutes, the time it took to increase potassium would not be beneficial to an athlete who cramps up during competition.

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The best way to avoid the effects of low potassium would be to eat foods like bananas regularly and also replace lost potassium after exercise.


2. Sip an Electrolyte Drink

5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (3)

Not all sports drinks have high levels of potassium. Read the label to be sure.

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Sports drinks can be a great way to replenish vitamins, minerals and water lost through exercise or even periods of vomiting or diarrhea. But, not all electrolyte drinks are high in potassium. The other key nutrients they include are sodium and magnesium, which are also lost when you quickly lose fluids.


Electrolyte drinks are a convenient way to raise your potassium levels, especially if you do endurance training or are sick with the stomach flu. You can sip on a drink throughout a workout to replace fluids and often times it's easier to drink something rather than eat when your stomach is upset. Just remember, that doesn't replace plain water.

The potassium in sports or electrolyte drinks can range from only 50 milligrams to over 600 milligrams, so read the label carefully or choose one of the suggested drinks below.


Which Electrolyte Drink Should You Choose?

  • Vita Coco Coconut Water: ‌646 mg potassium per bottle ($13.76, Amazon)
  • Nooma Organic Sports Hydration Mix: ‌300 mg potassium per packet ($19.99, DrinkNooma)
  • Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Mix: ‌250 mg potassium per serving ($18.89, Amazon)

3. Snack on Watermelon

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5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (4)

One wedge of watermelon has almost as much potassium as a banana.

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One wedge of watermelon (268 grams) has 320 milligrams of potassium, or 7 percent of your DV, making it a great choice to raise your potassium, per the USDA. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A and is 91 percent water, which is perfect for rehydrating.



Eating watermelon after a workout can help replace water, potassium and magnesium. On top of replenishing hydration, drinking watermelon juice post-workout has been linked to less muscle soreness after 24 hours, per a July 2013 study in the ‌Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry‌. The researchers say this is because watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid L-Citrulline.

To make a homemade electrolyte drink, blend watermelon with a pinch of table salt to help replace fluids and electrolytes and decrease muscle soreness.

4. Drink a Glass of Orange Juice

5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (5)

Choose 100 percent or fresh squeezed orange juice for the most benefit.

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Orange juice is an excellent source of potassium, with 496 milligrams or 11 percent of the DV in just one cup, per the USDA. It's also a good source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin A.

Keep in mind that orange juice is a convenient way to raise your potassium, but it can also be high in sugar. Eating an orange is often a better way to get the nutrients from orange juice along with the fiber that will help your body to absorb the sugar more slowly.

But, the potassium in one orange is much less than a cup of OJ. You'd have to eat two oranges to get the same potassium as you would from one cup of orange juice.

5. Take a Potassium Supplement

5 Ways to Raise Your Potassium Levels (and Why You Might Want To) | Livestrong.com (6)

Potassium supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

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Potassium supplements can be found in the vitamin aisle at your local pharmacy or online, but you should always check with your doctor before taking them to see if they're right for you. The potassium you eat and what you get from a supplement should not equal more than the recommended amount unless directed by your doctor, per the May0 Clinic.

Too much potassium can cause muscle weakness, an irregular heartbeat, confusion or trouble breathing, per the Mayo Clinic.

Over-the-counter potassium supplements can have 99 milligrams of potassium per serving and are combined with several different substances. You'll find them as potassium chloride, potassium citrate, potassium gluconate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium aspartate and potassium orate, per the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

The type you choose should also depend on other electrolyte levels (like chloride or bicarb) in your body. Talk with your doctor about which one may be best for you given the results of your blood work.

Potassium Supplements to Try

  • Now Foods Potassium Citrate‌: ($17.49, Amazon)
  • Thorne Potassium Citrate‌: ($12.35, Amazon)
  • Sundown Naturals Multi-Source Potassium‌: ($7.56, Amazon)



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What could raise your potassium levels? ›

  • Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
  • Beta blockers.
  • Dehydration.
  • Destruction of red blood cells due to severe injury or burns.
  • Excessive use of potassium supplements.
  • Type 1 diabetes.

What are the top 10 foods high in potassium? ›

Below is a list of 10 high-potassium foods:
  • Swiss chard, 1 cup cooked (960 mg)
  • Spinach, 1 cup cooked (840 mg)
  • Avocado, 1 cup (708 mg)
  • Sweet potato, medium (700 mg)
  • Bok choy, 1 cup cooked (630 mg)
  • Potato, medium (610 mg)
  • White beans, 1/2 cup (600 mg)
  • Beets, 1 cup (520 mg)
Sep 19, 2016

What is the best thing to do for low potassium? ›

Taking potassium supplements can usually correct the problem. In severe cases, without proper treatment, a severe drop in potassium level can lead to serious heart rhythm problems that can be fatal.

Can you increase potassium too quickly? ›

As this case illustrates, rapid administration of potassium can be dangerous, even among patients with severe hypokalemia. Administration of 80 mEq/h, for example, has been associated with electrocardiogram changes and complete heart block.

How can I increase my potassium and electrolytes? ›

There are many foods that are rich in electrolytes. For example, bananas, avocados, and lemons are rich in potassium and a variety of nuts and leafy greens are rich in magnesium.

Can food raise potassium levels? ›

Drinking fruit and vegetable juices is another easy way to increase your potassium intake. Citrus juices seem to provide the most potassium ( 3 ). For example, 1 cup (240 mL) of 100% orange juice offers about 10% of the DV for potassium, while the same serving of grapefruit juice provides 9% of the DV ( 30 , 31 ).

How do you rebuild potassium? ›

Many fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium:
  1. Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit (some dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and dates, are also high in potassium)
  2. Cooked spinach.
  3. Cooked broccoli.
  4. Potatoes.
  5. Sweet potatoes.
  6. Mushrooms.
  7. Peas.
  8. Cucumbers.
Dec 13, 2022

How long does it take to get your potassium level up? ›

In mild cases of hypokalemia, potassium levels can normalize within a few days after you start increasing potassium intake. Making sure you eat enough potassium-rich foods every day can help boost and maintain healthy potassium levels.

Is Peanut Butter high in potassium? ›

Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Unsalted peanut butter, with 5 milligrams of sodium, has a terrific potassium-to-sodium ratio. Salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium.

What fruit is highest in potassium? ›

Fresh Fruits
  • Jackfruit, 739 mg.
  • Elderberries, 280 mg.
  • Cantaloupe, 267 mg.
  • Grapefruit, 320 mg.
  • Apricots, 427 mg.
  • Oranges, 326 mg.
  • Nectarines, 287 mg.
  • Kiwi, 552 mg.
Aug 3, 2020

How quickly can you fix potassium deficiency? ›

Usually, 60–80 mmol of supplements per day for a few days to weeks is sufficient for treating mild to moderate hypokalemia. That said, always follow the recommendations of your healthcare professional ( 1 , 19 ). In severe hypokalemia cases, intravenous (IV) treatment may be recommended.

Does drinking water help low potassium? ›

5. What should I include in my diet to help lower potassium? If you have hyperkalemia, doctors will advise you to avoid certain foods that are high in potassium. You can also make sure to drink plenty of water.

What causes low potassium levels in elderly? ›

What Causes Low Potassium in Elderly Adults? Malnutrition and dehydration. Eating unhealthy foods, or not eating at all, can deplete your body of vitamins and minerals. Lack of hydration can also lead to a loss of potassium in cells.

How fast does a banana raise your potassium? ›

Eating up to 2 servings of bananas caused marginal increases in plasma potassium concentration. The small increases in plasma potassium concentration occurred 30 to 60 minutes postingestion of bananas.

How can I raise my potassium levels overnight? ›

Drink An Electrolyte Beverage

If you're concerned primarily with replacing potassium lost through physical activity, such as a strenuous workout or a few hours of outdoor work or play on a hot day, one quick way to raise your potassium levels is through a cold beverage.

What is the best medicine for low potassium? ›

Potassium Chloride (Klor-Con M, K-Tab, Klor-Con, Micro-K) is a potassium supplement used to prevent and to treat low potassium. Potassium is important for the heart, muscles, and nerves.

Can Gatorade help raise potassium levels? ›

Diet or protein drinks and diet bars often have potassium. It is also in sports drinks, such as Gatorade. These are meant to replace potassium you lose during exercise.

Does drinking water increase potassium? ›

Over-drinking can bring down your potassium ions: Over-hydration due to excessive drinking of water can bring down the potassium ions in your body and lead to a condition called hypokalemia.

Can drinking too much water raise potassium? ›

Excessive water consumption may lead to depletion of potassium, which is an essential nutrient. This may cause symptoms like leg pain, irritation, chest pain, et al. 6.

Does Tylenol raise potassium levels? ›

Conclusions: Acetaminophen appears to cause a concentration-dependent reduction of potassium concentrations and an elevation of creatinine concentrations of short duration (<24 h) after overdose.

Does ibuprofen raise potassium levels? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) are typically taken to relieve fever, pain, and inflammation. They may also raise potassium levels by lowering aldosterone levels.

Is black pepper high in potassium? ›

Accounting for more than 94% of the spice, ​​Potassium makes up the majority of the nutritional content of black pepper. It is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium among other essential micronutrients.

What foods should I avoid if I have low potassium? ›

Even a food that's considered low in potassium can spike your levels if you eat too much of it.
Foods to limit or avoid
  • bananas.
  • avocados.
  • raisins.
  • prunes and prune juice.
  • oranges and orange Juice.
  • tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce.
  • lentils.
  • spinach.
Apr 23, 2020

What depletes potassium? ›

Vomiting, diarrhea or both also can result in excessive potassium loss from the digestive tract. Occasionally, low potassium is caused by not getting enough potassium in your diet. In most cases, low potassium is found by a blood test that is done because of an illness, or because you are taking diuretics.

Is apple juice good for high potassium? ›

The most common low-potassium juices include apple, grapefruit, cranberry and grape. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, grape juice and grapefruit juice contain no potassium.

What snack has the most potassium? ›

But if you're looking for a top source of potassium that's easy to snack on anytime of day, look no farther than delectable, crispy banana chips.
High-potassium foods
  • Prunes: 637 mg per ½ cup.
  • Raisins: 598 mg per ½ cup.
  • Lima beans: 485 mg per ½ cup.
  • Spinach: 420 mg per ½ cup (cooked)
  • Sunflower seeds: 241 mg per ounce.

Do nuts raise potassium levels? ›

Nuts, seeds, and legumes

These foods have more than 200 mg of potassium per serving, and should be avoided or eaten in very small portions if you are limiting potassium.

Are Cheerios high in potassium? ›

A common example of this is Cheerios cereal, which includes 250 milligrams of potassium and 10%DV of phosphorus.

Does apple increase potassium? ›

Fruits like oranges, apples, and cantaloupe each contain about 5% of the daily potassium requirement per serving. Dairy is one of the most common sources of potassium in our diets. One cup of reduced-fat milk contains 366 milligrams, while yogurt has slightly more for the same serving with 440 milligrams.

Is apple a high potassium food? ›

Low-potassium fruits:

Apples (plus apple juice and applesauce) Blackberries. Blueberries. Cranberries.

Are apples high or low in potassium? ›

Apples are low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium so they are a great choice for a kidney friendly diet. They are safe to eat for all of the following kidney conditions and treatments: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)/Transplant.

What is the home remedy for low potassium? ›

How Can You Treat Potassium Deficiency?
  1. Stopping any medications that can result in low levels of potassium.
  2. Taking potassium supplements.
  3. Adding more foods containing potassium naturally.
  4. Taking medicines specific to increasing potassium levels in the body.
Jan 2, 2020

Does chocolate have a lot of potassium? ›

Chocolate and nuts contain high amounts of phosphorus and potassium.

Does low potassium make you thirsty? ›

Hypokalemia may also impair the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine, resulting in excessive urination (polyuria) and excessive thirst (polydipsia). Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Is Oatmeal high in potassium? ›

Whole grains, including oats, are considered good potassium sources. One serving of instant or steel-cut oatmeal provides about 130 milligrams of potassium. If you're aiming to increase your potassium intake, you can bring this amount up significantly by adding high-potassium fruit to your oatmeal.

Does low potassium cause high blood pressure? ›

Potassium and sodium are electrolytes that help your body function normally by maintaining fluid and blood volume. However, consuming too little potassium and too much sodium can raise your blood pressure.

What happens if potassium stays low? ›

A low potassium level can make muscles feel weak, cramp, twitch, or even become paralyzed, and abnormal heart rhythms may develop. The diagnosis is based on blood tests to measure the potassium level. Usually, eating foods rich in potassium or taking potassium supplements by mouth is all that is needed.

Is 1 banana a day enough potassium? ›

Adults should consume about 3,500mg of potassium per day, according to the UK's National Health Service. The average banana, weighing 125g, contains 450mg of potassium, meaning a healthy person can consume at least seven-and-half bananas before reaching the recommended level.

Is Gatorade Good for potassium? ›

Diet or protein drinks and diet bars often have potassium. It is also in sports drinks, such as Gatorade. These are meant to replace potassium you lose during exercise.

What's the best fruit for potassium? ›

Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit (some dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and dates, are also high in potassium)
Juice from potassium-rich fruit is also a good choice:
  • Orange juice.
  • Tomato juice.
  • Prune juice.
  • Apricot juice.
  • Grapefruit juice.
Dec 13, 2022

What fruit has the most potassium? ›

The amounts here are for 1 cup of each fruit.
  • Jackfruit, 739 mg.
  • Elderberries, 280 mg.
  • Cantaloupe, 267 mg.
  • Grapefruit, 320 mg.
  • Apricots, 427 mg.
  • Oranges, 326 mg.
  • Nectarines, 287 mg.
  • Kiwi, 552 mg.
Aug 3, 2020

What drink gives you potassium? ›

Drinking fruit and vegetable juices is another easy way to increase your potassium intake. Citrus juices seem to provide the most potassium ( 3 ). For example, 1 cup (240 mL) of 100% orange juice offers about 10% of the DV for potassium, while the same serving of grapefruit juice provides 9% of the DV ( 30 , 31 ).

Does Coke increase potassium? ›

The first interpretation of this phenomenon postulated that Coca-Cola contains large amount of caffeine, which enhances the shift of potassium from extracellular space into cells, and increase renal excretion of potassium via renin release, β-adrenergic stimulation and hyperventilation with alkalosis [13-17].

What drinks are good for low potassium? ›

Low Potassium
  • Apple juice, ½ cup, 148.
  • Coffee, 6 oz., brewed 124.
  • Cranberry juice, ½ cup, 31.
  • Ginger ale, 12 ounces, 4.
  • Tea, 6 ounces, brewed, 27.

How do you get enough potassium daily? ›

You can get recommended amounts of potassium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
  1. Fruits, such as dried apricots, prunes, raisins, orange juice, and bananas.
  2. Vegetables, such as acorn squash, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli.
  3. Lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, and nuts.
  4. Milk and yogurt.
Mar 22, 2021


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