Potassium is an essential mineral for every child. It is needed to maintain the body fluid volume, balancing electrolyte, cell function, transmission of nerve impulses, building up muscle tissue and lastly metabolism of carbohydrate and protein.
You may not know it, but most ingested potassium gets excreted through urine. Also, in extreme condition like heat or when your child is playing, there is a loss of potassium through sweat.
Potassium Requirements For Children:
If your child needs potassium on a daily basis, there is no need to give a supplement or specially formulated product.
- As a mom you can replace the need of potassium through food consumption.
- Potassium is found naturally in fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid processed food as it lacks in potassium.
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Daily Intake Of Potassium For Children:
Take a look at the recommended potassium intake for children as per age:
- For infant up to 6month of age: 500mg daily
- 7 to 12 month : 700 mg
- 1 to 2 years: 1000mg
- 2 to 5 years: 1400 mg
- 6 to 9 years: 1600mg
- 10 years above and teenagers:- 2000mg – 4700mg
Balancing Your Child’s Potassium Intake:
It is important for the body to take care of the normal potassium levels in children. Too much potassium can cause condition like hyperkalemia, while too little intake or loss of potassium can cause diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to hypokalemia.
Imbalance of potassium does have side-effects like:
- Intestinal problem
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent urination
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Foods Containing Potassium:
The intake of potassium depends on the age of your child.
- Parents who are concerned about their child’s potassium intake generally think of feeding their kid with bananas. Though banana is a rich source of potassium, there are plenty more you can add on to your list.
- Most fruits contain potassium but dried fruits are more beneficial. Prunes, raisin dried apricots are some excellent sources.
- You can soak some raisin and almond overnight and give your child to eat early in the morning.
- Also another way is to add them in their breakfast cereal.
The following list provides you guidance for approximate average potassium content per 100gm.
- Beans and peas: 1300mg /100gm
- Nuts: 600mg cashew, walnut, almonds
- Green vegetables: 500mg of spinach and cabbage
- Fruits: 300mg of banana, dates, papaya
- Other vegetables: Tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkins
- Some other best sources of potassium include:
- ½ cup tomato juice: 278 mg of potassium
- ½ cup orange juice: 248mg
- 1/4thBran cereal with raisins:181 mg
- 1/4thcup Lima beans: 242 mg
- ½ cup Water melon: 85 mg.
- Tender coconut water is also rich in potassium
- 250ml of carrot juice: 728mg of potassium
- 100ml pineapple juice: 575mg
[ Read: Importance Of Zinc In Children ]
Treating Potassium Deficiency:
Mild potassium deficiency can be treated by giving your child food rich in potassium or taking pills if prescribed by the doctor.
- Many a time children do need to get admitted in the hospital to make the potassium level back to normal by intravenous.
- When a child is being monitored for potassium deficiency, they need to avoid strenuous activities which cause lot of sweat.
To prevent potassium loss you can give your child:
- Electrolyte ( when they have diarrhea or vomit excessively).
- Give food rich in potassium.
- If your child is in medication that can reduce the potassium level do talk to your doctor to know how often you need to check the electrolyte level.
- Potassium deficiency should not be neglected as it can be fatal.
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Do keep in mind the list of foods which are good source of potassium. Unlike other vitamins and minerals, nutrition labels do not always list the amount of potassium present in the food or in the packet. Therefore it is vital that you select the right type for your child and avoid processed food.
Do share your thoughts with us and let us know your views about intake of potassium for children.
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