Think about what you did today.
Did you get out of bed and get ready for work? Did you read a book? Did you work out?
You can thank minerals for helping you complete all these actions today. Minerals help keep your body healthy and functioning properly.
If you don’t get enough of the necessary minerals, you’re likely to experience extreme fatigue, decreased mental function, nausea, and much more. It can have severe effects on your body and essentially make it impossible to function.
So what important minerals do you need and how can you make sure you’re getting enough of them? Keep reading to find out!
When you think of minerals, you may imagine rocks and crystals. You’re not wrong. Minerals are technically defined as “solid chemical compound that occurs naturally in pure form”.
However, in terms of diet and nutrition, minerals are considered chemical elements that are necessary for life. They are derived from rocks, soil, and water.
Your body needs these minerals in order to function. However, we don’t eat rocks. So how do we get these minerals?
Instead of eating a rock, we get minerals from eating plants, animals, and drinking water. Plants absorb these minerals via the soil, which are then eaten by animals and humans. Humans also eat other plant-eating animals.
Like vitamins, minerals are essential for your body to function. Without them, you put your body at risk for many diseases.
So now that you know about minerals, you’re probably wondering what minerals are the most important for your body to function. There are two type of minerals major mineral and trace minerals.
Major minerals aren’t considered more important than trace minerals. Instead, major just means that they’re found in larger quantities in your body. The most important major minerals are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
Got milk? When you think of calcium, most people think of the famous milk advertisements that promoted calcium intake.
Calcium is an essential mineral that is necessary for strong bones and teeth. If you don’t get enough calcium, this could lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures. On top of bone development, calcium also helps your muscles, blood vessels, and nerves function.
As different diet fads come and go, it is important to make sure you’re getting the necessary minerals, including calcium, that your body needs.
For calcium, eat foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and leafy green veggies.
Magnesium is responsible for managing more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Some of these include maintaining your blood pressure, nerve function, and keeping your immune system healthy.
Because of this, a deficiency in magnesium could be dangerous. It can cause numbness, seizure, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
Foods that contain magnesium include nuts, seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, and legumes.
Potassium is another important mineral. It is considered an electrolyte that helps break down and use carbohydrates for energy, builds proteins and muscle, contracts the muscles, and much more. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet, you run the risk of muscle cramps, fatigue, and muscle paralysis.
To ensure you’re getting enough potassium in your diet, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, bananas, apricots, and broccoli.
As discussed earlier, trace minerals are those that are found in small or minuscule amounts in the body. Some of the important trace minerals for your body include iron, zinc, and selenium.
Iron is critical in producing red blood cells in your body. These red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body to cells and tissues.
If you don’t get enough iron, you will suffer from anemia. With iron deficiency and anemia, you will likely feel tired and feel mentally foggy.
Some of the best sources of iron include meat, beans, and fortified cereal.
Zinc plays a large role in your immune system. If you go to the drugstore, you’ll see many cold and flu medications with zinc as an ingredient.
In addition to supporting your immune system, zinc is also involved in healing wounds, DNA synthesis, and promoting your sense of taste and smell.
If you’re deficient in zinc, you may lose your sense of taste and smell, have a weakened immune system, and experience decreased amount of growth.
In order to prevent this, you should focus on eating red meat, chicken, oysters, and whole grains to get the daily recommended amount of zinc.
Selenium helps with regulating thyroid hormones, protecting the body from free radical damage, reproduction, and DNA synthesis. Some studies even show links between selenium intake and decreased rate of cancer. Those that are deficient in selenium can suffer from thyroid issues, infertility, asthma, cataracts, and more.
Foods that are high in selenium include seafood, organ meats, and muscle meats. You can also find selenium in bread, grains, and eggs.
Check out this interesting article on the benefits of selenium to learn more about it.
In order to stay healthy, eat a well-balanced diet that is rich with various minerals. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.
Minerals play such an important role in the functioning of your body. From developing strong bones to regulating different hormones, they are necessary to help you survive. When you’re deficient in any of these important minerals, you will feel the effects both mentally and physically.
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