7 Important Minerals And How To Add Them To Your Diet
Micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, are crucial to the proper functioning of the human body. Usually, consuming a healthy, nutritious diet can take care of most people’s essential vitamin and mineral requirements.
Why are minerals so important? For starters, we need them for the proper composition of our teeth, bones, body fluids, tissues, muscles, and nerves. Secondly, minerals take the front stage to support nerve function health, regulate muscle tone, and maintain cardiovascular health. Third, and definitely not last, minerals help make essential compounds in the body that perform even more crucial tasks such as digesting food, preparing the body for fight or flight, getting aroused, and many more. The list is endless.
From a nutrition perspective, minerals have two more categories; macro minerals and micro minerals. Macro minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Usually, our bodies require these minerals in relatively more significant quantities. On the contrary, our bodies only need micro minerals in trace amounts. Micro minerals comprise iron, zinc, chromium, selenium, copper, molybdenum, and iron.
In contrast to vitamins, minerals are more stable in composition, and factors such as heat or light don’t degrade them. Hence, they can keep their nutritional value longer and even through cooking processes, including boiling, baking, and steaming.
Minerals used in common dietary supplements originate from mineral salts. Such minerals come attached to a molecule like a sulfate, carbonate, picolinate, citrate, or oxide.
Sometimes, you might have trouble incorporating the necessary minerals/vitamins into your diet. For instance, pregnant women must take folic acid supplements during their pregnancy. Moreover, pregnant or breastfeeding women sometimes require additional vitamin D supplements. In such cases, one can supplement their diet with added micronutrients such as USANA Cellsentials that fulfill your body’s essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants needs.
Below we go over some vital minerals for our bodies and the ways to incorporate them into a diet.
Table of Contents
No other mineral compares to the copious amounts of calcium in the body. 99% of our body’s calcium content resides in the bones, and calcium constitutes 1.5-2% of our total body weight. This mineral’s primary function is to maintain healthy teeth and bones, regulate cardiovascular function, and regulate the body’s enzyme activity.
You can include calcium in your diet through regular intake of plant foods and dairy products that are calcium-rich. These include milk, yogurt, kale, some varieties of cabbage, spinach, tofu, and turnip greens. Since calcium’s primary source is dairy products, people following a dairy-free diet must consume supplemental calcium.
Calcium deficiency can have severe consequences for children, such as growth retardation and bone deformity. Lack of calcium in adults may result in muscle spasms, heart arrhythmias, and even osteoporosis. Not to mention, low calcium results in poor bone development, making them prone to fractures.
Iron remains the most vital mineral in the human diet. The Iron helps carry out the body’s respiration process and the oxygenation of red blood cells. Tragically, according to estimates, 25% of the global population is iron deficient. Globally, iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia in pregnant women and children. Plus, iron deficiency may also result in fatigue and cell tissue degeneration.
Foods rich in iron include meat, whole grains, almonds, green vegetables, apples, and eggs. People taking iron supplements should try to take them with food because iron may upset their digestive tracts.
When the body’s biochemical functions are concerned, magnesium surpasses all other minerals in the body. Magnesium is integral to approximately 300 metabolic reactions in the body. This micronutrient also aids in regulating heart rhythms. Though the recommended daily amount for magnesium is 400 mg per day, nutritional surveys show that the majority only consumes a 200-300 mg subpar level.
You can hit your daily mark of sufficient magnesium with magnesium-rich foods like fruits, whole grains, and the infamous leafy greens no one really likes.
Did you know that nearly half of all Americans aren’t meeting their daily magnesium needs? If you’re worried you might fall under this category, you can take a magnesium deficiency test to find out.
If not, then magnesium deficiency may cause serious health complications, for instance, heart disease.
Zinc is not just essential for a human’s good health but animals too! Our brains depend on it for memory and cognition. Also, it aids the production of T3, an essential thyroid hormone in our bodies. Above 200 enzymatic reactions constituting our metabolic processes revolve around zinc. Other critical functions of zinc include: maintaining an effective immune response against infections, promoting healthy skin and wound healing, and sustaining growth and development.
A zinc-rich diet should include eggs, meat, seeds, and seafood. Plus, oysters contain an abundance of zinc and selenium, supporting thyroid hormone synthesis.
Even though one can easily find zinc in regular foods, zinc deficiency is prevalent due to body functions and dietary factors restricting its absorption. Zinc deficiency can lead to loss of taste or smell, a weaker immune response, and delayed sexual maturation.
Want to keep your new year’s resolution of a healthy lifestyle? Start by fulfilling your diet’s potassium requirements. This nutrient is involved in regulating multiple life-sustaining functions. For this reason, experts don’t recommend additional potassium supplements as even a slight chemical imbalance can have grave consequences.
Typically, most healthy foods have a potassium content, for example, dairy, fruits, meat, poultry, vegetables, poultry, potatoes, and rice. Bananas are highly recommended as a good source of the mineral. In the absence of any severe health complications, such as kidney failure, most individuals’ potassium levels are moderate to healthy.
Phosphorus is another significant macro mineral in our bodies. Similar to potassium, a healthy diet can supply sufficient levels of this nutrient. No matter what type of food you consume, it will usually contain phosphorus, even soft drinks. Consequently, phosphorus deficiencies rarely happen, if ever. Though it is seldom necessary, nutritional supplements may have trace amounts of phosphorous to be on the safe side.
Good nutrition is incomplete without manganese. Similar to other minerals, this nutrient also aids in biochemical and enzymatic reactions of the body.
Tea leaves, whole grains, nuts, and vegetables carry plenty of manganese, which is to say, grab a cuppa! Several black tea brands even use manganese as a marketing tactic to appeal to the public’s logical side. Given its indispensable nature, the recommended daily value for manganese is at least 2 mg. luckily, most multivitamin or mineral supplements can cover this required amount.
Certainly, the way our body works can be dumbfounding, and it can be tough to figure out its needs. However, paying attention to your body’s demands can help solve many problems in your life. The first step? Making sure you have a balanced diet that delivers adequate levels of all the essential minerals and vitamins. This article provided an insight into essential minerals our body needs and the means to include them in one’s diet. Calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc, among others, are necessary for our bodies’ regular functioning and sustained health. Focus on consuming ample amounts of different fruits, a variety of grains, eggs, nuts, meats, dairy, and leafy vegetables to incorporate these minerals in your diet. However, if you’re struggling to intake a specific mineral through your diet, you can give supplements a try.