Minerals are vital for the proper functioning of the body. They help in healing wounds and strengthening the muscles and bones. They tend to boost the immunity of the body and also facilitate the regeneration and repair of cells. Hence, minerals play a crucial role in allowing us to perform our day-to-day activities with ease and perfection.
In nature, as a result of erosion, stones and rocks break down to form soil. Plants which grow on this soil will pass on the minerals to the herbivorous animals which feed on them. This is how minerals make an entry into the food chain. Humans obtain their required minerals by feeding on the plants and other herbivorous animals.
It’s always important to maintain the right kind of balance of minerals in the body. Any sort of imbalance might lead to illness, So it’s very essential to maintain the chemical balance of the body to stay fit.
Minerals are divided into two groups. Micro minerals and macro minerals. Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus and Sodium are considered as macro minerals. The body requires high levels of macro minerals. Micro (trace) minerals are only required in the body in minute quantities. Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Manganese, Iodine, Iron and Silicon are examples of micro minerals.
Minerals are stable in composition and do not get degraded by heat or light. Mineral salts function as dietary supplements in human beings. Minerals hooked to a molecule such as a sulfate, carbonate, oxide or other negatively charged chemical groups are called mineral salts.
Functions of macrominerals
Calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth. It helps in regulating blood pressure and also facilitates muscle movements. Deficiency in calcium may lead to muscle fatigue, teeth anomalies and bone problems.
Yogurt, milk, cheese and leafy vegetables like broccoli are rich in calcium. Adding fishes like sardines and salmons in their diet will help non-vegetarians to accumulate calcium in their body.
Similar to calcium, phosphorus plays a major role in formation of bones and teeth. 80 pc of the phosphorus in the human body is used up for skeletal growth. It helps in creating proteins for development of tissues as well. Deficiency of phosphorus can cause weakness and bone demineralization. Whereas, over intake of the mineral may cause kidney ailments.
Red meat, fish and eggs are rich in phosphorus. Vegetarians can depend on oats, bread, rice and milk to maintain good phosphorus levels in their bodies.
This mineral is vital for every human activity. It plays a major role in activation of enzymes, in regulating nerve and muscle activities and protein synthesis. It also helps in regulation of body temperature and fat metabolism.
The deficiency of magnesium may result in severe headache or migraine, anxiety and muscle cramps. Food products such as nuts, milk and whole grain cereals are rich in Magnesium.
Sodium, Potassium and Chloride
Their primary function is management of body fluids. The minerals help in absorption of nutrients and water from the human intestine. They help in protein synthesis and acid regulation for digestion as well. Potassium is vital for cardiovascular health and nerve cell functioning.
Extreme deficiency of these minerals may prove deadly. It might cause paralysis or even heart failure. Blood pressure problems, digestion issues and mental confusion are other symptoms of the deficiency of these minerals. Fruits such as banana, pumpkin and orange are rich sources of potassium.
Though it comes under trace minerals, iron is an important component in the human body. It is essential for blood production, transport of oxygen and proper immune function.
Deficiency of Iron can cause anemia, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and headache. Extreme deficiency of Iron can be life threatening.
Food items such as beef, oysters and chicken are rich sources of Iron.
Functions of other trace minerals
Trace minerals also play an important role in the functioning of our body. Trace minerals include zinc, fluoride, copper, manganese, iodine and selenium. While manganese acts as an antioxidant enzyme, zinc helps in metabolism of fat, lipid and protein. Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone regulation and mental development.
Trace minerals are found in abundance in seafood, nuts and pulses!
In conclusion, the bottom line is that intake of all nutrients in adequate quantities is essential for ensuring a healthy living. There is not one super food that provides all the necessary minerals, but why don’t you start from drinking our water which supplies potassium and selenium.