I take Lasix, for high blood pressure, which says I should drink orange juice or eat a banana every day for potassium.

I have been taking Lasix, a high blood pressure pill, every other day. Now, my doctor, has me taking one every day. The bottle of pills says I should drink orange juice or eat a banana every day for potassium. I like bananas, but orange juice is too acid for my stomach. What else has potassium in it?

Foods high in potassium are one-half cup of orange juice, one large banana, one baked potato, one-half winter squash, one cup tomato juice, one cup vegetable juice cocktail, one-half cup avocado, one-half cup cooked dried beans and one tablespoon blackstrap molasses.

Additional foods that are moderately high in potassium are: 100% bran cereals, dried fruit (apricots, dates, peaches, figs, prunes, raisins), meat (beef, chicken, halibut, pork, salmon, veal), cantaloupe, milk, grapefruit juice, lima beans, mushrooms (canned), parsnips, peanut butter, pineapple juice, plums, spinach, watermelon, yams and yogurt. A wide variety of foods have potassium in them. If you eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, you would normally eat enough foods high in potassium.

You have an increased need for potassium because Lasix forces your body to excrete excess water to help decrease your blood pressure. When the water is excreted, Lasix causes potassium to go with it.

Potassium is necessary for water balance and is found inside of every cell in your body. The potassium inside the cells balances the sodium outside the cells to maintain pressure and water balance in the body. Otherwise, if either the potassium or the sodium is high or either low or one high and the other one low, a pooling of water or dehydration can occur.

Symptoms of low potassium levels are tiredness, muscle weakness, and heart muscle irritability. As the dosage of a blood pressure pill is increased, the likelihood of low blood potassium will increase. This loss of potassium only occurs with some of the medications prescribed by doctors for high blood pressure.

Because you are taking Lasix, which does cause a loss of potassium, you should have two servings from the above list of high potassium foods. You should also be aware of low potassium symptoms that last for days. Your doctor will probably test your blood potassium periodically while you are on Lasix.

Lastly, orange juice is not as acidic as the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Orange juice helps to neutralize the acid in your stomach that your body secretes to digest food you eat. The only food more acidic than your stomach acid is lime juice. However, if you feel that you don’t tolerate orange juice, don’t drink it.