A Guide to Essential Minerals and Your Body
The human body was not created in a way to allow it to sustain itself – it needs assistance, which comes mostly from the foods you eat.
While it does produce many of its own minerals, there are plenty that it needs in order to run properly, but they are things that it doesn’t make on its own.
This is where minerals and nutrients in a well-rounded diet become important.
Why are Minerals Important?
Minerals come from more than just plants and animals – they can also come from non-living things.
Minerals come from things like rocks, water, and soil. Most people don’t think that much about the fact that when they are eating things like iron and salt, they are ingesting something derived from soil and rocks.
You don’t have to eat a mouthful of dirt in order to get the minerals from it.
In fact, the plants that grow in that dirt will be enriched with the minerals from that dirt. It’s kind of an amazing thing. You also get minerals from water, which not only come naturally from the water, but also from the things within the water (living and non-living).
What Minerals Do in Your Body
Minerals do a lot of things for the human body. Without them you wouldn’t have strong teeth and bones, your hair wouldn’t grow long, and so much more.
Different minerals do different things – pinpointing the areas that need them (just like other vitamins and nutrients do when you consume them).
Maintaining health is all about putting the right things in your body.
Just like you can suffer from vitamin deficiencies, you can also have effects from being deficient in minerals. This shows up through hair loss, brittle nails, poor dental health, and even chronic muscle pain.
Some of the Minerals You Need
The minerals your body needs are often referred to as “essential minerals.” This is because they are essential to having a healthy body. How much of them you need depends on the type of mineral they are.
Minerals can be classified as major minerals, macro-minerals, and minerals.
Macro-minerals are also referred to as trace minerals or trace elements, and you need the least of them. Too many minerals, just like with vitamin overdoses, can cause health issues – mainly an overdose of these minerals is toxic to your health.
When it comes to identifying minerals you need in your diet regimen, here are some of the ones you want to make sure you’re getting enough of.
Calcium is most commonly found in dairy products, but that’s not the only way to get it (which is good news for people that prefer not to eat animal by-products. Calcium is found in bone broth, as well as in some leafy green vegetables, like kale and broccoli.
Calcium is a must for strong bones and strong teeth. It works with vitamin D for heart health as well.
Chloride, usually found in the diet as sodium chloride, is most often found in salt (though that isn’t the only source for it). Chloride assists your digestive system. However, since too much salt can be bad for your health, you want to consume chloride in moderation.
Iron is found in blood, and you need it to keep your red blood cells doing their job properly. When you are low on iron your body doesn’t carry enough oxygen to those red blood cells.
You can get two different forms of iron – non-heme and heme. Heme iron is found in red meat, seafood, and poultry, and is derived directly from hemoglobin. Non-heme iron is also found in meat, seafood, and poultry.
Magnesium is a key player in the fight against diabetes. Magnesium also helps with heart health and bone health. If you have migraines, magnesium may be able to help with those as well.
This mineral is most commonly found in nuts, beans, and whole grains. You can also find it in green vegetables, like the superfood kale.
Phosphorus does a lot of amazing things in your body – including removing toxins. It also helps build strong bones (it’s needed for bone growth when you’re young).
Meats, including poultry and fish, are great resources for phosphorus. You can also find it in dairy products, beans, and nuts.
Potassium is an electrolyte, so it’s good for you when you need to replenish your system after a big workout. It also helps combat the effects of too much sodium.
One common food people get potassium from are bananas. It’s also found in leafy greens, avocados, beans, sweet potatoes, and some dairy products.
7. Trace Minerals
You need far fewer trace minerals in your diet, but they’re still important for health. Trace minerals include selenium, manganese, chromium, and copper.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of minerals, but it’s enough to help you understand them and why you need them. There are also silicate and non-silicate minerals. Oxides and sulfates are examples of the latter.
Getting More Minerals in Your Diet
You can increase your mineral intake by eating a well-rounded diet, and by taking multivitamins with minerals that your body needs for optimal health.
You want to always make sure that vegetables and fruits are the main parts of your healthy diet.
Great health comes with great responsibility.