It is common for most of us to take our bodies for granted. However, just think about the human body, it does some amazing feats each day. Your body comprises of tiny cells, and these need some essential nutrients to develop, grow and work in perfect harmony. The important nutrients which your body requires but can’t produce consist of inorganic substances which are commonly found in foods called as minerals.
Kinds of Minerals
You can classify minerals as per the amount your body requires. Classification can be done basis on two kinds – major minerals and minor minerals.
- Major Minerals
These are the ones which your body needs more than 100mg each day. Some of the major minerals are magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, chloride, and sodium.
- Minor Minerals
These are the basic ones which your body needs less than 100mg each day. The basic ones are copper, chromium, iron, iodine, zinc, selenium, manganese, and fluoride.
Compared to the major minerals, minor ones are less important. However, all the minerals are necessary for having a good health. This is different from having deficiency as it is based on the natural availability of the mineral. Hence, if the minerals are found in various foods, then there is less chance for your intake to be very less.
Copper, chromium, manganese, phosphorus, and iodine are extensively found in various kinds of food, so the chances of having deficiency due to this is quite rare. One of the major minerals that we need to reduce in our diet is sodium (common salt).
Major Functions of Minerals in Our Human Body
Like most of the essential nutrients, minerals too are available in various kinds of animal and plant-based foods. Macro minerals or the ones that you need in high quantity consists of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulphur. Trace minerals or the one that one must consume in smaller quantities are zinc, iron, manganese, selenium, iodine, copper, and fluoride.
Now both these types of minerals help in various bodily functions that range from maintaining and building healthy teeth and bones to ensuring your heart, muscles, and brain work in a proper manner.
- Tooth And Bone Health
Your skeleton is the major organ that gives protection, motility, and support to your body. In addition, it even stores mineral and other major nutrients. Even though they might appear to be hard and somewhat unyielding, still your bones are constantly getting reabsorbed and reformed into your body.
Various minerals easily develop and become the lattice architecture of the human bones. Among the various minerals present in your body, calcium is the one that is found in abundance, and this is commonly found in your blood and bones. Besides magnesium and phosphorus, calcium provides strength and density to your bones.
This is the major mineral that helps in building and maintaining healthy and strong teeth. Do you know that the deficiency of calcium is a serious disease. The deficiency due to improper nutrition or illness will lead to osteoporosis. This is a condition where the bones become less dense and brittle, thereby increasing the chances of getting fractures. You can avoid this by consuming calcium rich diet consisting of milk and other dairy products, leafy and green veggies, and sometimes canned fish with bones.
- Producing Energy
You need oxygen to create energy, and this is quite important for all kinds of bodily process and function. Erythrocytes or red blood cells carry oxygen to each of the infinite cells, and this is where it uses to create energy. Red blood cells have iron component or heme which gets bind to the oxygen, ensuring that it gets transported.
Without the iron molecules, oxygen can’t be attached to the blood cells and your human body can’t produce the required energy for life. No doubt, iron is one of the essential minerals, and if you can’t get enough of it from your diet, it can lead to a serious condition called anemia, which often causes fatigue and weakness. You can find the mineral iron in blood, and it is stored in the spleen, liver, muscles, and bone marrow.
- Muscle And Nerve Function
Potassium is commonly found in dates, bananas, green leafy veggies, tomatoes, legumes, and citrus fruits. Do you know that this mineral is used for keeping nervous system and muscles function in a normal way? Potassium assists in maintaining the correct water balance in your nerve and muscle’s cells. So, without this important mineral, your nerves won’t be able to create the required impulse to signal your body to make movement. Also, the muscles in your organs, heart, and body won’t be able to flex and contract.
- Immune System & Health
Certain minerals like calcium are required in huge quantities, while there are others like zinc which are only required in trace amounts. Do you know that zinc is the most important mineral which keeps your immune system strong and assists your body in fighting all kinds of infections, repairing cells, and healing wounds.
Consuming meat and legumes like peas, beans, and lentils will provide you with good amount of zinc. You need selenium in small quantities for immune health. Now a deficiency in selenium can sometimes lead to increasing the risk of having heart diseases and even certain kind of cancers.
Minerals Your Body Must Have
The following are the major minerals your body needs to have –
Calcium is required by your body to develop stronger teeth and bones. It even plays a major role in muscle function and nerve transmission along with the function of the heart and hormone secretion. Doctors and physicians recommend that adults need to consume about 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium each day. You can get good source of calcium from dairy products like yogurt, milk and veggies like broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
Even though an increase in the amount of sodium is dangerous for your body, still it is one of the necessary minerals your body needs. A high amount of sodium can increase the risk of having high blood pressure. Sodium is necessary for your body to stimulate muscle and nerve function, maintain the correct balance of the required fluids in human cell and even support the absorption of other required nutrients like amino acids, chloride, and glucose.
Your body requires only about 180-500 milligrams of sodium each day, however studies and doctors feel that this might vary and sometimes individuals under normal circulating nutrient should go for 1500 milligrams each day. Frankly, for avoiding any kind of health problems, researchers feel that one must reduce or limit the intake of sodium to about less than 2,300 milligrams each day. Individuals who are more than 50 years old and ones suffering from any kind of serious health conditions must simply consume not more than the required intake of 1,500 milligrams.
Do you know that potassium controls the electrical activity of your heart? It is one or the vital ingredient to maintain a normal heart rhythm. In addition, it is necessary for your body to build up the required proteins, and even break down and use the required carbohydrates for maintaining the pH balance of the blood. This even supports the normal growth of the body.
For adults, they need to consume simply about 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. As per various studies and research, it was found that there is a huge amount of potassium available in the day-to-day food items we eat like fish, beef, chicken, potatoes, cantaloupe, lima beans and tomatoes.
Most studies show that human body needs magnesium for supporting about 300 biochemical reactions. Yes! It is true. Magnesium is one of the major minerals that supports the nerve and muscle function, and is also the one that keeps the heartbeat on regular basis, building robust bones and boosting immunity.
There are various studies which state that adult women need to consume about 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium each day while men must consume to about 400 to 420 milligrams each day. Nuts, beans, green veggies, and whole grains are the best source of magnesium.
Like most of the minerals, phosphorus plays a great role in building strong teeth and bones, along with producing the required proteins that your body needs for repairing cells. Commonly, adult women and men need to consume about 700 milligrams of phosphorus each day. Studies show that meat, dairy foods, and whole grains have good amount of phosphorus.
Frankly, chloride, is often consumed as a salt compound which is sodium chloride. This is also called as table salt, which is often used for balancing the fluids present in your body and even plays a great role in producing the required digestive juices in your stomach. By taking high salt content in their food, people can easily meet their daily intake of 1800 to about 2200 milligrams each day.
- Trace Minerals
Unlike other minerals discussed above, the trace minerals are those which your body needs in small quantities. These are often needed for supporting the bodily functions. Human body uses iron for creating myoglobin and haemoglobin, these are the major proteins that help in carrying oxygen in the body.
The creation of thyroid hormones help in regulation of all cells in the human body requires iodine. Not many people know that manganese helps in regulating the blood sugar. It even helps in enhancing the absorption of calcium and has a major role in producing connective bones and tissues. Chromium will help in enhancing the action of insulin that is necessary for regulating blood sugar in human body.
In addition, the fluoride will assist in keeping your teeth healthy and strong. It is important for your body to have regular amount of copper, mylobdenum, selenium, and zinc for producing enzymes which are necessary in many reactions all around the body.
Ways To Make Vitamins More Effective
If you are planning to make the effort of taking minerals, vitamins, and various other supplements on daily basis, for improving your nutrition and health, then you need to keep in mind that it depends on yourself and all you must do is follow the below given strategies.
- Taking With Food
This is not a huge secret. You should always take minerals and vitamins at mealtime. While consuming food, it will simply initiate the cascade of the digestive process and assist in absorbing the nutrients present in food. It will in short help in optimizing the absorption of the minerals and vitamins.
Another reason is that taking vitamins and minerals while having food will avoid getting nausea which is commonly experienced by most people. However, this is an exception and is only in certain cases.
- Taking With Other Meds
Sometimes you can even take your minerals and vitamin supplements with other meds. It is important that you know about the interaction that minerals have with other meds. Sometimes there are chances that one might make the other less effective and in other cases, it could even amplify the effects and sometimes lead to an overdose situation.
- Opting For Both Function and Form
Do you really know that magnesium is one of the most underrated minerals? Not many people really get enough of it. Here, the major issue lies on how you consume your magnesium supplements, as there are certain minerals like magnesium which can be easily absorbed and digested. They will less likely degrade when consuming in liquid form.
Taking minerals in liquid form will bypass the step where the body needs to break it and dissolve. That is why you might like to have minerals and vitamins in liquid or as syrup. People won’t have to swallow a giant pill which might get stuck in your throat.
Minerals are important and like vitamins, they play a great role in making our body healthy. A regular dosage of minerals can help in making your body do the day-to-day functions and keep you active. As most people say, a active lifestyle is the best lifestyle.