Everyone knows that minerals are a vital part of your diet. But why exactly are minerals and why are they so important? In order to actually understand why it’s so important for us to incorporate the necessary minerals in our everyday diet, we must first understand how they function and contribute to the overall health of our body.
What are minerals?
Minerals are in the simplest words are inorganic naturally occurring substances which are present in different foods that we eat. They are absolutely necessary for normal body functioning and form a myriad of structural components in our body, not to mention that they are vital to the millions of cellular processes that occur in our body each and every day. Minerals even make up around 4% of the human body.
We all may have heard from our parents or teachers that minerals are needed for the body to work properly and for efficient growth and development. This is absolutely true. Minerals are needed to build strong bones, teeth, skin, hair, nerves, muscle and even blood.
Minerals can be divided into two major groups; macro-mineral and micro-mineral or ‘trace elements’. This grouping is based on how much of the mineral is needed every day. Minerals that are required in larger amounts are classified as Macro-minerals which include Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Sodium.
Those minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, and silicon are needed in lesser amounts so are known as trace elements. However, the mineral requirements for children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers are usually adjusted as larger amounts can be toxic and harmful to these individuals.
Some essential Minerals needed by the body
Out of all the minerals, calcium is the main mineral which makes up almost half of the mineral content of the body. 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones, indicating its importance in bone strength. It also plays a role in the hormonal function of the body and in the formation of healthy teeth. This mineral is commonly found in dairy products like cheese, mink, and yogurt.
Another important mineral, it is needed in building muscles and maintaining healthy blood. It is found commonly in oysters, liver, soybeans, cereal lentils, and spinach.
This mineral is needed for immunity, growth and is also important for fertility. Seafood, spinach, cashews, beans and even dark chocolate are a great source of zinc.
Needed to make sure the body uses glucose properly it is found in whole grains, and fresh vegetables and herbs.
Potassium helps in regulating blood pressure and is mainly found in fruits and vegetables like bananas, raisins, tomatoes, and artichokes. A diet low in potassium and high in sodium can double a person’s risk of death from heart disease,
This underrated mineral is needed in over 300 chemical reactions in your body and provides energy keeping your cells strong and functioning optimally. Magnesium is also necessary for regulation of blood pressure and keeps bone strong. It also prevents insulin resistance and migraine headaches. It is commonly found in bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, and molasses.
This mineral is necessary to keep your immune system strong. It helps fight infections and protects you from flue or the cold. It is also a mineral vital for pregnant women as growing fetus uses up a lot of zinc. You can find it in oysters, crab, beef and pork.
Always make sure you take a balanced diet which includes a wide spectrum of all the important minerals needed by the body. Remember to pair these foods with fatty acid as it is necessary in order for the body to utilize the minerals. Make sure to get a balanced diet in order to supply your body will all the necessary raw ingredients to keep you healthy, strong and disease free.