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Have you ever read the composition of the many supplements or meal replacement shakes? Have you noticed that there is a section for minerals? Well, minerals are not only the different stones that you see in geology class. They are also substances contained in different foods that the human body often needs to work properly and develop in full.

Table Of Contents

  1. What exactly Minerals are? 
  2. Types of Minerals
  3. What do minerals do in our body?
  4. Best mineral sources for a human body
  5. Facts of Minerals
  6. Benefits of Minerals
  7. Side effects of Minerals

What Are Minerals Exactly?

It is weird that they have the same names of some earth-found minerals. Does this mean that they are named after those minerals? Nope. They are named the same way because they are those same minerals. The only difference is that they are contained in foods in a really small amount. However, our bodies need it to work properly, so it is important to take a balanced diet that contains different minerals -and vitamins.

Types Of Minerals

Apparently, geologists are not the only ones studying minerals now. There are some nutritionists and endocrinologists that researched a little bit deeper into the effects of consuming certain minerals and the way we react to them. However, they decided to divide this great universe into two groups: macrominerals and micro minerals.

Macro Minerals

These are named macro because they need to be consumed in larger amounts. Luckily for us, these can be easily found in lots of natural foods. However, many people just do not like to eat their veggies, so they can opt for other methods, such as supplements or even some meal replacement shakes. Some of these are phosphorus, potassium, sodium, etc.

Micro-minerals

now, the main difference of the also called trace minerals is that although our body uses them to survive, the amount that it needs is way smaller than the others. They are also a little bit more difficult to get from our diet. To name a few, we have chromium, copper, zinc and more.

It is important to highlight that one of them is not better than the other one, they are both equally important and they have different effects on our systems.

minerals do in our body

What Do Minerals Do To Our Bodies?

Each one of the different minerals has positive consequences in our bodies, but remember not to take it excessively. In that sense, here is a list of the effects of the most important micros and macros.

Macronutrients

Sodium

This is the main compound our body needs, along with water. It can be found in plenty of sources, starting with regular salt and soy sauce. However, it is important to be careful because there must be a balance between the consumption of this mineral and potassium. That’s the reason why doctors do not recommend eating too much-canned food or salt. It can also be found in milk, bread, vegetables, meats and, in way higher quantities, in processed foods.

Chloride

This is the element that provides a great balance of fluids and regulates the stomach’s acidity. The same way as sodium, it can be found in table salt and processed foods. However, you can consume it in smaller amounts when you get other eatables, such as vegetables, bread or milk.

Potassium 

It is responsible for nerve transmission, the contraction of muscles and the balance of fluids, along with the previous two. It is really important and you can find it in meat, milk, whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Calcium 

It is important to get this substance for our bones and teeth, but more importantly, the muscles contract and relax thanks to it, it helps in the nerve functioning, the regulation of blood pressure, the health of the immune system and the blood clotting regulation. It can be found in milk and its related products, greens, legumes and soy milk or fortified tofu.

Phosphorus

Even though it is not as commonly known as calcium, this is another important element to take into account for the formation of healthy teeth and bone, as well as one of the active components that maintain an acid-base balance. It is basically found in every cell of the body. The main foods that contain this element are fish, poultry, eggs, meat, milk, and some processed foods.

Magnesium

This is responsible for the creation of muscles and its correct functioning. Thanks to it, you can also have a better nerve transmission and immune system. You can find it in seeds, nuts, legumes, leafy vegetables, seafood, and chocolate and even in drinking water.

Sulfur

Although there is lots of interesting information about this element, its importance is linked to the fact that it can be found in protein molecules. Thus, it is essential for our well-being. Those who would like to increase their intake will be able to find it in the protein of foods, such as meats, poultry, eggs, milk, legumes, and even nuts.

Micro Minerals

Iron

This element is necessary for the production of red blood cells, these are the ones that take the oxygen to the rest of the body and it is essential for the metabolism. It can be found in organ and red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, egg yolks, legumes, and others.

Zinc

This is a compound of many enzymes and it is needed for making protein and other genetic material. It is involved in the taste perception, in the healing process, in fetal development, sperm production, sexual maturation, and the immune system. People can find it naturally in meats, fish, leavened whole grains, vegetables, and poultry.

Iodine

It is important for the thyroid hormones production and it helps regulate growth, metabolism, and development. You can consume it in seafood’s, iodized salt, bread, dairy products and foods grown in iodine-rich soil.

Selenium

This is an antioxidant that will do wonders in the aging process. It is found in seafood, grains, and meats.

Manganese

There are many enzymes that contain this mineral and it is consumed through plant foods.

Copper

it is an important part of the metabolism and it is also a part of the production of many other enzymes. People take it in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and even drinking water.

Chromium

It is an element that works along with insulin to regulate the sugar levels, also known as glucose levels, contained in the blood. It is contained in legumes, bread, grains, leafy vegetables, and milk.

Molybdenum

Although this mineral is not widely known, it is especially important for the production of certain enzymes contained in our bodies. It is present in bread, leafy vegetables, milk, legumes, and grains.

Best Mineral Sources For A Human Body

Every mineral is contained in the wide range of foods we have at our disposal, but not all of them are present in one single meal. That’s why doctors recommend people to have a healthy and balanced diet that will provide them with all the necessary nutrients to have a healthy body.

It is important to highlight that many people simply do not like the taste, texture or just eating certain foods. Thus, they should be aware of their diet and provide their bodies with high-quality supplements, meal replacement shakes or other products that will balance the body needs to help it work properly.

Facts Of Minerals

Although it may seem a pretty basic topic, there are many doubts and questions about the consumption of minerals and their use in a diet. Here are some facts that usually help people answer some of their inquiries.

  • Some minerals, like iron and zinc, are better consumed from animal sources.
  • The compounds phytate and oxalate tend to reduce the absorption of certain minerals
  • Minerals tend to stay in the food, even after going through certain processes like cooking, freezing or canning, but the food processing, such as the use of additives, tend to affect the mineral content.
  • The amount of minerals our body needs is very little, but it is important to consume the required quantities.

Benefits Of Minerals

There are many benefits related to the consumption of the recommended amount of minerals. In general terms, it can be said that they are responsible for our correct functioning. However, each one of them has a defined job. Therefore, in order to see a more specific answer, we recommend you to read the section of these lines titled: what do minerals do to our bodies?

Side Effects Of Minerals

Unlike many other things, higher consumption of minerals is not better. In fact, the intake of higher doses than recommended could lead to elevated toxicity levels, which would then result in many problems for the system, ranging from constipation to kidney or liver damage.
Also, another common side effect of the excessive consumption of sodium is high blood pressure in some individuals.

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the recommended amount of mineral intake so that you do not surpass those levels.

Bottom Line

Minerals are important for our bodies and we should consume all of them on a regular basis one way or another. However, it is important not to get too much or there could be serious consequences. If you are not a veggie fan, you can take supplements to help your body take the nutrients it needs to work at full capacity.

Reference

  • https://www.foodinsight.org/vitamins-minerals-fact-sheet-nutrition-health-diet
  • https://www.stlukesonline.org/health-services/health-information/healthwise/2017/11/14/22/57/minerals-their-functions-and-sources
  • https://coralcalcium.com/minerals_post/what-are-macro-minerals/
  • https://www.dairyherd.com/article/difference-between-macro-and-micro-minerals
  • https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY89100.pdf
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