Guide to Minerals - Benefits, Deficiency, Rich Food Sources and other information
Minerals are inorganic substances like sodium, potassium, chlorine, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iodine, iron, cobalt, copper. Minerals are the most basic form into which organic matter can be broken. Minerals play an important role in the health of your body in terms of healthy bones, teeth, hair, nails, nerve and muscle activity and regulation of body fluids.
Benefits of Minerals
Minerals are essential for regulating and building the cells which make up the body. Minerals help to maintain the volume of water necessary for the life processes in the body. These are essential for the proper growth and assimilation of the organic substances, and development of every part of the body. Each of the essential food minerals does a specific job in the body, while some of them do extra work in teams to keep the body cells healthy. Even slight changes in the concentration of the important minerals in the blood may rapidly endanger life.
Sources of Minerals
Plants incorporate minerals from the soil into their own tisses. For this reason fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are often excellent sources of minerals. Minerals, as they occur in the earth in their natural form, are inorgainc or lifeless. In plants, however, most minerals are combined with organic molecules. This usually results in better mineral absorption. Green leafy vegetables are the best source of many minerals.
Minerals are classified into two categories: major and minor, on the basis of intake level.
- Major Minerals: More than 100 mg is required per day.
- Minor or trace Minerals: Less than 100 mg is required per day.
Total Mineral Content Required in the Body
In the above graph, minerals from calcium to magnesium are major minerals, and minerals after that are trace minerals.
|Mineral||Benefits||Recommended Daily Allowance||Food Sources||Deficiency Symptoms|
|Calcium||Builds and maintains bone strength, which prevents stress fractures, Builds and maintains teeth, Helps regulate heart function, Assists in muscle growth and contraction.||
||Milk & milk products, Calcium fortified juices, Beans, Oranges, Broccoli||Spontaneous nerve discharge and tetany (cramps)|
|Chlorine||Maintains nerve impulses that control the muscles, Maintains water balance and distribution, Needed for the production of stomach acid.||
||Table salt (sodium chloride)||Acid-based imbalance|
|Magnesium||Aids in the body's enery production, Combats stress, Assists in bone growth, Helps regulate body temperature.||
||Bananas, Green vegetables, Corn, Apples, Whole wheat bread||Increased nervous system irritability, vasodilation, and arrhythmias|
|Phosphorus||Helps in almost every chemical reaction in the body, assists in the use of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy, Stimulates heart and muscle contractions, Prevents tooth decay.||
||Meats, Fish, Chicken, Eggs, Whole grains, Chocolate!||Loss of energy and cellular function|
|Potassium||Aids in the conversion of glucose to glycogen, Nourishes the muscles, Stimulates the kidney to get rid of body wastes.||
||Bananas, Green leafy vegetables, Oranges, Potatoes, Raisins, Dried beans||Muscle weakness, abnormal electrocardiogram, and alkaline urine|
|Sodium||With water, helps retain fluids that counteract dehydration, Helps our bodies produce a thirst sensation so we'll drink more fluids.||
||Seafood, Poultry, Carrots, Beets||Nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and dizziness|
|Iron||Along with protein, helps form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs through the blood to the body tissues, which includes the muscles.||
||Beef, Lamb, Pork, Leafy green vegetables, Iron fortified cereals, Breads||Anaemia, decreased oxygen transport, and energy loss|
|Selenium||Boosts your immune system and helps protect your body from cancer.||
||Seafood, liver, lean meats, grains||No specific symptoms|
|Zinc||Helps remove carbon dioxide from excercising muscles, Aids in healing, Boost the immune system, Protects against pollution.||
||Lean meats, liver, eggs, seafood, whole grains, dairy products||May be cause of anaemia, retardation in growth, and delayed genital maturation|
Happy healthy living to you!