Essential Minerals: Eating For Better Health
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What Are Minerals?
Essential minerals are an important component of our diets. They form critical structural elements, control the action of our muscles and nerves, buffer the pH (acidity) of our cells and extracellular fluids. They make up only a small percentage of our body weight – about 5% – but the role they play in our bodies is significant and we could not live without them.
Minerals are those elements that our bodies need to develop and function properly. These essential minerals for a healthy body include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium.
They are the essential mineral “elements” or essential “mineral elements” that we must get from our diets. In fact, there are 22 minerals that have been identified as necessary for specific metabolic functions or whose absence would result in physiological impairment.
Major Minerals And Micro Minerals
Health professionals often divide these minerals into two categories. There are “major” minerals or those that are required in the largest quantities such as calcium and magnesium, and “micro” minerals or trace elements that are required in smaller quantities.
In addition to calcium and magnesium, the minerals chloride, phosphorous, potassium, and sodium are considered to be major minerals. The micro minerals or trace elements include copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc.
The problem with minerals is that they are difficult to absorb into our bodies. For example, to get a better mineral absorption, calcium must be taken with vitamin D and C. Iron is in just about every food we eat but is difficult to digest. So, most iron passes through the body unassimilated. However, if you take it with vitamin C, your body can better absorb it.
As with vitamins, it is best to try and get as many minerals from our diet as possible before turning to supplements. For example, Brazil nuts contain calcium and magnesium, both important for healthy bones and teeth, while bananas contain chromium, manganese, and potassium. If you are not getting enough iron start eating green leafy vegetables, nuts, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, which are all good sources of iron.
I hope that by now you are starting to see the importance of a good diet and that with just a few changes to our shopping list we can vastly improve the health of our body.