A NUTRITIONAL JOURNEY INTO MINERALS
MINERALS: Why we need the essential minerals in order to be healthy physically and mentally and hormonally!
Like vitamins, minerals cannot be made by the body, therefore we have to get them from our diets. Here we are going to have a look at the ten major minerals and five trace minerals.
Major Minerals: Calcium, Chloride, Fluorine, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Sulphur, Zinc
Trace Minerals: Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium
Calcium: Is needed for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth and works best when combined with phosphorus and magnesium. Helps with muscle contraction, aching muscles and nerve transmission. Can aid with weight loss and high blood pressure. Can also help to lower the risk of bowel cancer and can ease menstrual pain.
Is essential for blood clotting and for balancing our hormones.
Sources: Dairy products, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, tinned fish, shellfish, pulses and sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds.
It is essential to obtain enough calcium for people who do a lot of exercise, particularly for regular runners and those who do weight training!
Chloride: Works alongside sodium and potassium to balance the fluids in the body. Helps with the digestive process- digestion and elimination.
Sources: A balanced diet of whole foods supplies enough of this mineral as a deficiency is extremely rare. Just a pinch of salt provides a third of Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Flourine: This mineral is stored in our teeth and bones.
Sources: Is generally found as flouride in water and food as tiny amounts come from the soil and from animals skin and tissues.
Iron: Is vital for transporting oxygen to and from our cells and for the making of red blood cells. Is crucial also for energy production.
People who do a lot of running or high impact sport should be aware that losses can occur due to the pounding of the feet so may require more than the average person.
Sources: Meat, liver, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark green leafy vegetables, brown rice, wholegrains, fortified cereals and oatmeal.
Magnesium: Is essential for healthy teeth and bones. Is needed to help muscles contract and relax and is essential for the nervous system.
Can also help with pre menstrual symptoms/syndrome.
Sources: Milk, meat, wholemeal bread, nuts and raisins.
Phosphorus: Works together with calcium to make calcium phosphorus. Helps to maintain strong bones and teeth, helps with energy production and can help with the metabolism.
Sources: Most foods contain phosphorus, particularly protein rich foods such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs, milk and wholegrain cereals.
Potassium: Is needed to balance the fluids in the body alongside sodium. Is crucial for healthy nerves, muscle function, muscle relaxation and heart functioning. Also aids in ingestion and digestion and transporting nutrients to all cells.
Sources: Is generally found in all fruits such as bananas, apples and pineapples and leafy green vegetables. Wholegrains and sunflower seeds.
Sodium: Is needed to balance the water in the body alongside the minerals and blood and is vital for nervous system.
Sources: Is found in most foods such as meat, dairy products, nuts so is extremely rare to deficient in this mineral.
Sulphur: Helps to balance blood sugar levels, helps with the metabolism and is part of every cell in the body.
Is found in all protein rich foods therefore if you eat sufficient protein such as meat, fish, eggs, you will be obtaining enough sulphur.
Zinc: Is essential for the healing of wounds, for the nervous system and for the immune system. Helps to balance the hormonal system, the menstrual cycle and for male and female fertility.
Sources: Meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, seeds, nuts, wholegrains, oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and dairy products.
Chromium: The main role is to balance our blood sugar and hormone balance as well as our metabolism. Helps to reduce sugar cravings and may help with diabetes.
Is important for heart function.
Sources: Wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread, rye bread, brewers yeast, eggs, chicken, lamb, honey, grapes, raisins, apples, swiss cheese and potatoes.
Copper: Is vital for DNA and RNA (part of our genetic make up) and essential for the synthesis of every cell in our bodies. Is an antioxidant therefore may help in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants help our bodies to fight infections and ward off free radicals.
Sources: Many foods contain copper such as meat, green vegetables, nuts, raisins, bread and cereals.
Iodine: Helps to make up the thyroid hormones which in turn help to control our metabolism.
Sources: Milk and milk products, seafood and seaweed, kelp and iodized salt.
Manganese: Is vital for reproduction and for DNA and RNA. Is essential for brain function, reproduction and for the making of red blood cells. Helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Sources: Wholegrains, oats, rye, green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, carrots, watercress, berries, pineapple and grapes.
Selenium: An antioxidant which helps to ward off free radicals, helps to boost the immune system and is essential for male and female fertility. Helps against heart disease and certain cancers.
Sources: Wholegrains, wheatgerm, eggs, brazil nuts, fish-especially tuna, meat, chicken, mushrooms.
So to sum up this weeks article on ‘minerals’ we can again see that if we are lacking in any one of these then our health and well being will be at a disadvantage.
We can see that we need to have a varied ‘diet’ in order to obtain the essential minerals to function at optimum levels. Remember, our health isn’t just about how we look on the outside but also about how our bodies are functioning on the inside!!!